By Bahle Gama
Airlines in the African continent are showing interest in partnering with Eswatini Air and one of these is Ethiopian Air which has reportedly made an official first move.
This information was disclosed during a discussion by Business Eswatini and stakeholders on the ‘Let’s fly Eswatini Air Indaba’ at Emafini on May 17. The Indaba is yet to be hosted by Business Eswatini, intending to promote the use of the local airline to the private sector.
Speaking on behalf of the Minister of Public Works and Transport, Minister Manqoba Khumalo stated that as it had been said that Eswatini needs to be an export-driven economy, which means there needs to be ensuring that the entire eco-system is designed for success.
“The key enablers for that are the movement of people, talent, leadership, and businesspeople making deals. There is nothing as strong as a face-to-face meeting when you are trying to connect to a potential business partner,” Khumalo said.
He stated that the existence of Eswatini Air is an opportunity that needs to be grabbed with both hands by Business Eswatini members, “because these are services we need from Eswatini Air to make more meaningful economically for business.”
The Minister stated that he was further encouraged by the spirit of collaboration that is emerging in the country, especially between the public sector and private sector.
This he said could be argued that it is called a public-private partnership (PPP) and others would say these are just two institutions that share a mutual interest.
“In my opinion, neither of these views is incorrect; suffice to say that mine is to encourage this public-private cooperation as it will ensure that our development goals as a country are achieved within a shorter time frame with mutual benefit to all role players,” he said.
He further stated that the Ministry had noted with appreciation the concerns from the business community on the state of the country’s roads, and had taken the necessary action to address these, which could not be achieved without the private sector’s commitment to the cause.
“Coming to Eswatini Air, you will note that it took a while to get this project to take off, pardon the pun, and I was pleased to hear that RENAC had once come to these offices to share with you their strategic plans which I was made to understand; you endorsed.”
“This meeting today, therefore, completes that cycle, and I would like to congratulate the private sector for opening its doors to RENAC in the spirit of cooperation and partnership for the sustainable economic growth of the Kingdom of Eswatini and her people,” he said.
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He elaborated that the Ministry of Public Works and Transport remains committed to driving the country’s economic development through efficient transport infrastructure and seamless services, and in so doing, the private sector partners have so much of a role to play towards achieving this key national milestone.
The Minister also challenged those who were in attendance to ensure that they make Eswatini Air’s success their responsibility and further implored RENAC to ensure that this endeavour is kept alive.
“I invite the flying public, and those who would wish to do so soon, to make use of our national airline, our pride, as this is the much-needed support to keep Eswatini Air ‘grounded’ in the skies,” he added.
Business Eswatini CEO E Nathi Dlamini extended gratitude to the government for launching her airline, adding that “we have seen many successes achieved through our membership and we appreciate the tractable partnership that we have enjoyed with the ministry.”