Your Royal Highnesses,

Honourable Ministers,

Excellencies Members of the Diplomatic Corps,

Presiding Officers and Members of both Houses of Parliament

Governor of the Central Bank of Eswatini,

Executive Director of ESEPARC,

Vice Chancellor of the University of Eswatini,

Commissioner General of Eswatini Revenue Authority,

Senior Government Officials

CEO’s of Parastatals

Captains of Industry 

Private Sector and NGO Representatives,

Members of the Media,

Distinguished Guests,

Ladies and Gentlemen.


I am honoured to join you here today to be part of this second instalment of the Eswatini Economic Conference themed KNOWLEDGE, INNOVATION, AND DEVELOPMENT IN ESWATINI: CURRENT AND FUTURE PROSPECTS’.

May I from the onset register my appreciation for the opportunity to celebrate with you the outstanding research work done by Emaswati in addressing topical economic policy issues on how to stimulate economic growth and sustainability.  This comes at a critical time when research based and data driven information is crucial to informed decision making to help steer our economy to the right direction.

Allow me therefore to commend ESEPARC, the Central Bank of Eswatini, and the University of Eswatini for putting together this important knowledge-sharing platform to create space for economic policy dialogue between researchers, policy makers, captains of industry, development practitioners and the public.

We may recall that the first Eswatini Economic Conference held in 2017 emphasised the importance of preparing the Kingdom for the economic challenges emanating from the global and regional economy by boosting the roles of science, technology and innovation, including knowledge generation and management in building a competitive economy. It was suggested these issues should be pursued more vigorously in future conferences. It is therefore befitting that this year’s conference is centred on current and future prospects of ‘KNOWLEDGE, INNOVATION, and DEVELOPMENT IN ESWATINI’.

In essence, we are all here today to discuss ways of igniting the knowledge economy that Eswatini can harness at a time when the global economy is on the cusp of the Fourth Industrial Revolution. In this new way of life, technology will disrupt the way we live, the way we produce goods and services and how we relate to one another as individuals, countries and economies. Our lives and economy will be driven by smart technologies in our homes, workplaces and factories where machines will connect through the Internet of Things and Internet of Systems to interact and make decisions autonomously.

To thrive in the fourth industrial revolution, Eswatini must embrace science, technology and innovation, and all other aspects of the knowledge economy. The extent to which the country leverages knowledge and innovation as the cornerstone of our economic make-up will determine Eswatini’s pace on social and economic development. No one, and certainly no country, can afford to ignore or be intimidated by the 4th Industrial Revolution as it comes with many avenues for unlocking opportunities for our younger generations for many years to come. I therefore encourage you to diligently interrogate these opportunities so that they can be brought to the forefront of our economic policy discourse here onwards.

Programme Director, distinguished ladies and gentlemen, Government has launched a Strategic Roadmap that aims, among other things, to increase our footprint in the ICT space, create wealth and improve the living standards of all Emaswati. The Roadmap precedes several other programmes initiated by Government to create a path for innovation and sustained economic growth. One of these programmes was the launch of the Royal Science and Technology Park, which is evidence of Government’s commitment to materialise the Knowledge Economy and improve the country’s capacity for innovation and competitiveness.

Through this 2019-2023 Strategic Roadmap, Government commits to addressing structural bottlenecks that inhibit growth in order to boost investment, stimulate private sector growth, accelerate human capital development, achieve policy certainty and develop measures to shield the economy against global shocks.

For such noble intentions to materialise, Government will rely on fruitful partnerships such as this one where the public and private sector come together with ideas to accelerate social and economic development in the Kingdom.  The Government recognises the importance of creating the “Eswatini we want” and thus building a competitive industrial base is key. This will require finding unique opportunities or value chains for industrialisation, prioritising Eswatini’s trade agreements, as well as operationalising Special Economic Zones.

It is without doubt that only a stable macroeconomic and financial system can foster the required sustainable level of economic growth that will be achieved through investments, employment and increased production and productivity.

As such, the research and macro-forecasting tools employed by the Central Bank of Eswatini through its macro-prudential mandate will play a huge role in ensuring that the economy of Eswatini operates in a conducive macroeconomic environment.

It is also important to note that the technological disruptions presented by the Fourth Industrial Revolution have also come with developments in the financial technology industry (Fintech). We have seen how mobile money has played a huge role in contributing to increased financial inclusion in Eswatini. It is such technologies that will allow the country to move up the financial services value chain. Research on the opportunities and risks presented by Fintech developments is also crucial.

Research is also needed to improve and sustain the different development projects which Government has invested in across the country aimed at empowering communities to improve their quality of life. It is research that will show us various new methods and technologies that can be applied to accelerate production and development in an efficient manner.

Although institutions such as ESEPARC, the Central Bank and UNESWA continue to produce quality research, the Government of Eswatini recognises that there is still a need to increase funding towards research and development projects in the economy.

We note the ESEPARC study that recommends putting in place mechanisms to amplify private sector participation in the funding and performance of research and development.

As I conclude, may I take this opportunity to acknowledge the support of partners from national and international organisations, particularly the Eswatini Revenue Authority, First National Bank Eswatini, the Royal Science and Technology Park, the United Nations Development Programme and Eswatini Communications Commission. My gratitude also goes to the tripartite institutions that have made this Eswatini Economic Conference possible.


I look forward to receiving the economic policy recommendations emanating from this Conference. I am optimistic that the recommendations that will come from this Conference will go a long way in complementing and supporting the development initiatives initiated by the Government for poverty alleviation and economic renewal of the Kingdom of Eswatini.

It now gives me pleasure, on behalf of His Majesty’s Government, to declare the Eswatini Economic Conference 2019 officially open.

Thank you. May God bless us all.

OffCanvas Menu