Lusaka, Zambia, 01 September 2021 - The United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA, Sub-Regional Office for Southern Africa (SRO-SA) supported the launch of a new innovative, comprehensive and inclusive financing model to stimulate the sustainable growth for Micro Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) in the Kingdom of Eswatini.
The Financing model was officially launched by Manqoba Khumalo, Minister of Commerce, Industry and Trade who emphasized that Building back after the pandemic requires all stakeholders to participate in the implementation for recovery of local economy. He said that, “MSMEs in Eswatini have the potential to contribute considerably to employment, economic growth and poverty reduction and that Innovation-driven MSMEs can be a catalyst for structural transformation”.
The UN Resident Coordinator in the Kingdom of Eswatini, Ms. Nathalie Ndongo-Seh, indicated that the UN’s commitment to supporting new technologies in the kingdom of Eswatini, is another move to build back better, leave no one behind, and ultimately achieve agenda 2030. “Also, the launch of the financial model demonstrates commitment of the Government of Eswatini and its partners to enhancing job creation, growth, and innovation in the country”.
Director, ECA Sub Regional Office for Southern Africa (ECA SRO-SA), Ms. Eunice Kamwendo commended the Government of Eswatini, particularly the Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Trade, for initiating the development of the MSME financing model in her remarks delivered on her behalf by the Chief Sub-Regional Initiatives, Isatou Gaye. She said that, MSMEs are widely recognised as cornerstones for inclusive and sustainable development with the potential to significantly accelerate industrialisation and support high value addition activities. She emphasizes that MSMEs have potential to promote domestic-led growth in new and existing industries, and to strengthen the resilience of the economy in a competitive and challenging environment. “The MSME sector forms the foundation for private sector led growth and expansion, and constitutes an important source of job creation and innovation”.
ECA SRO-SA’s work in Eswatini is part of its mandate to strengthen sub-regional and national programmes and capacities to achieve inclusive industrialization for reducing poverty and inequality in Southern Africa. Ms. Kamwendo said the government of Eswatini has shown its determination to transform the MSME sector and enable it to contribute further towards the growth envisaged in Vision 2022 and the National Development Strategy. She assured the government that ECA will continue supporting Eswatini government during implementation.
Vinaye Ancharaz, ECA Consultant, presented the MSME financing model and pointed out that, the policy framework has been developed to fit the Eswatini’s economic environment. “A survey by FinScope in 2017 estimated the number of MSMEs at close to 70,000, employing over 90,000 people, or about 21 per cent of the workforce. The FinScope survey further reveals that 75 per cent of MSMEs are owned by independent entrepreneurs, with no jobs created, and about the same proportion (74 per cent) are in the rural areas and are headed by women. The bulk of them prevail in low value-added activities in the wholesale and agriculture sectors. Significantly, 75 per cent of the MSMEs operate without a business licence —therefore, in the informal sector”.
He noted that Eswatini features an array of policies to support MSMEs that will be reinforced to enable access to finance. Among the challenges faced by MSMEs in Eswatini, are: the economic fallout of the pandemic, precarity and the issue of institutional gaps to support enterprise development. In his remarks the Director of MSME Unit in the Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Trade, Mr. Mluleki Sakhile Dlamini, thanked ECA for its continuous support, and emphasized that the report was a product of extensive consultations with national stakeholders. He assured the meeting that the report’s recommendations will be duly implemented, with the support of all stakeholders, including the domestic private sector and development partners.
The meeting was closed, by Ms. Isatou Gaye, SRO-SA Chief Sub-Regional Initiatives, who thanked the UN Resident Coordinators’ Office for their concerted efforts and the government of Eswatini for its determination to transform and capacitate the MSME sector to contribute further towards the growth aspirations and targets of the Vision 2022, and the National Development Strategy. She assured participants that, “ECA is committed to accompany the Government in the implementation of the action plan within the framework of a “One-UN” approach in Eswatini.
The Sub-Regional Office for Southern Africa
UN Economic Commission for Africa (ECA)
P.O. Box 30647, Lusaka, Zambia.
Ms. Lavender Degre,
Tel: +260 211 228502/5 Ext. 21307
DL: +260 211 376607