Statement by Dr. Akinwumi A. Adesina,

President, African Development Bank Group, at Eswatini, September 2, 2019.

Sani-bo-naani ! (Good morning)

Good morning everyone!

I would like to first thank his Royal Majesty, King Mswati III for the honored invitation to visit Eswatini. And I would like to thank the Prime Minister, the Minister of Finance and Governor of the Bank, Mr. Rijkenberg, and the whole of the government of Eswatini, for your very warm welcome and hospitality since my delegation and I arrived here two days ago.


Eswatini is a beautiful land. Eswatini is a blessed Nation.

Who would not want to come to the land well surrounded by rolling hills, with splendid sceneries?

Who would not want to visit such a land that is full of beauty, proud of its culture, sensitive to its history?

Who would not want to visit a Nation full of determined and generous people - who live in their own land, the land of their ancestry: proudly renamed the land of the “Swazis”!

I am glad that I did not visit Swaziland. I am glad to visit Eswatini- the land of the Swazi’s!


The African Development Bank - your Bank- has been your partner since you joined the Bank in 1974. That’s 45 years of development partnership. And it’s a partnership that has produced significant results.

The Bank has provided financing of $590 million to Eswatini.

Our current portfolio is $238 million, covering various sectors especially, water and sanitation, energy, infrastructure and agriculture.

And you can feel the impact of the work of the African Development Bank in Eswatini.

Yesterday, I traveled to see Lower Usuthu Smallholder Irrigation Project II, which was supported with $61 million by the African Development Bank.

The project is amazing!

There the ESWADE project - the Eswatini Water and Agricultural Development Enterprises project is transforming lives.

The Minister of Finance and Minister of Agriculture were all smiles - and for good reasons!

**Over 11,000 ha of land has been irrigated, supporting over 3000 farmers of which 41% are women. Farmer companies have been formed, producing sugarcane. I was amazed with the impacts: jobs have been created, wealth creation is visible.

**The project has impacted 20,479 people who have benefited from the project, including over 11,673 men and 8,806 women.

**The farmer-managed businesses are working successfully: 40 out of the 55 sugarcane farmer business companies have paid back their loans fully and the rest are on track.

**Households with regular income have risen from 9% to 20%. Employment has risen from 46% to 71%.

I saw Nicholas Tshotsho - a highly educated manager- who said he was hired by the one of the farmers companies, LNL, to help them package their bananas and find markets.

When farmers are rich enough to hire their own managers, that is great success!

I saw the African Development Bank at work as we travelled on the Mbadlane - Mansini road that’s funded by the Bank to the tune of $48 million.

We are upgrading this road with another $30 million for the Mansini-Mbaslane Interchange that’ll further ease transport.

Our support of $24 million to the Fincorp is helping to provide much needed finance for small and medium sized enterprises.

And our support of $23 million for the Ezulwini Water Supply and Sewerage is helping to provide much needed water and sanitation.

And just last year the Bank approved the Mansini Regional Water Supply and Sanitation project for $50 million.

All these projects contribute to the goal of Eswatini to drive inclusive growth. However, challenges exist that we must continue to work together to resolve.



The biggest challenges are to grow the economy faster and contain budget deficits.

I highly commend the Prime Minister and the cabinet team for their determination and resolve to put the nation, under the inspiring leadership of His Majesty King Mswati III, on a path towards economic recovery and faster paced growth.

The African Development Bank will continue to strongly support Eswatini government’s efforts to build strong macroeconomic and fiscal environments to drive faster paced growth.

There is a lot to be done. Growth is very low, with GDP growth of 1.1% in 2019, down from 1.8% in 2018. Greater efforts are needed to diversify the product and export base of the economy, expand manufacturing, boost tourism and service sectors and reduce volatility from over-reliance on SACU receipts.

The Bank welcomes, has and will continue to strongly support efforts of the government on fiscal consolidation and public financial management.

To drive growth, there’s need to also significantly improve private sector investments. The African Development Bank will strongly support more private sector financing in the country. The Bank just held a business opportunity seminar with Business Eswatini in May 2019, to explore how to provide more support.

Strong public debt management will continue to be needed. While external debt is not a problem and is sustainable, standing only at 27.8%, domestic debt has risen substantially, now accounting for 62% of total debt - most of this from payment arrears.

I’d like to commend the government for its commitment to clear arrears by the end of 2019: a bold move.

Equally important is the need to significantly reduce the very high recurrent expenditure as share of total budget - at 75% - and boost greater capital expenditures to ramp up growth.

There’s need to address structural challenges on the economy, especially high levels of poverty, unemployment especially for the youth.

The African Development Bank will strongly support efforts to expand jobs for the youth. We will launch programs to provide access to finance and economic opportunities for women in Eswatini.


Eswatini has big ambitions - and it should! African countries must never think small. Though a small Nation, Eswatini must do big things!

One of those big things is to turn this Nation into an industrial hub for manufacturing, ICT and agribusiness.

That’s why the African Development Bank is highly supportive of the National Development Plan (2019-2022).

The Bank is looking forward with you. We will be developing together, our new Country Development Strategy that’ll run from 2019-2023.

The Bank has already lined up a pipeline of projects worth $528 million.

I am especially keen to have the Bank support the development of Special Agro-Industrial Processing Zones across the country, to help the Eswatini to develop world class food and agribusiness processing capacity, create wealth and jobs, and transform its rural economies to zones of economic prosperity.

The Bank will be supporting the Eswatini railway project that’ll help with regional integration and competitiveness.

To help provide more electricity, the Bank is supporting the feasibility studies for the 94MW Ngwenpisi Hydro Power plant. That’ll further make the country bright!

There’s no doubt that the future for Eswatini is bright. For this Nation must shine. It must shine like a star in the middle of the night. It must be all it can be. For it is destined to be a great Nation.

You can be sure that the African Development Bank - your Bank- will be there with you all the way.

The African Development Bank is achieving great impact in the Southern Africa region. We’ve provided over $13 billion to support SADC countries. And every dollar invested by the SADC region in the Bank has leveraged $19 for the region. With more support, the Bank will do even more to accelerate the development of Eswatini and the rest of the SADC region.

I wish to therefore, thank His Majesty, King Mswati III, the Prime Minister, the Minister of Finance and the government of Eswatini for your strong support for the General Capital Increase for the African Development Bank.

You can count on the African Development Bank. You can count on me as it’s President to continue to strongly support Eswatini. And you can be sure that there’ll soon be an office of the Bank right here in Eswatini!


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