By King’s Office Correspondents
ABU DHABI, UAE – His Majesty on Tuesday met and held investment talks with the President and founder of EMI Gate Holdings Fatima Al Kaabi. The Emirates Management Investments (EMI) Gate Holdings is a national company established to contribute to achieving self-sufficiency of Abu Dhabi and the region in the fields of Tourism Investment, Health, Trade, Media, Tourism Real Estate Development, Hospitality, Facilities Management and Security. The meeting discussed issues of mutual interest on the investment front and culminated in the drafting of a memorandum of understanding (MOU).
The MOU is aimed at providing a framework for cooperation between the parties in promoting economic and technical cooperation in trade and investment between the two parties. It includes sectors that Eswatini has prioritised for its economic recovery and growth.
These are energy, mining and beneficiation, ICT and Cybercrime, agriculture and Agri-processing, aviation, manufacturing, education, tourism and finance.
His Majesty arrived in the UAE on Tuesday morning on a two-day working visit accompanied by Inkhosikati LaMashwama.
Three ministers also form part of the King’s delegation, namely; the Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Thulie Dladla, Minister of Commerce Trade and Industry, Manqoba Khumalo and Minister of Finance Neil Rijkenberg.
Other members of the local delegation during the meeting include Swaziland Ambassador to the UAE Mlandzo Dlamini and the King’s Private Secretary Mbongeni Simelane.
His Majesty is pursuing an investment drive for the kingdom as part of the country’s efforts to resuscitate the economy which was negatively impacted by the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The king was later hosted at a welcome dinner by the local embassy, which was attended by the country representatives of several African states designated to the UAE.
Yesterday, His Majesty was taken on a tour of the Emperor’s Palace before attending an Eswatini Business Forum. This is the fourth Business forum attended by the king in three months, having held the others in Indonesia, Singapore and the United States of America (USA), all facilitated by the Ministry of Commerce, Trade and Industry in collaboration with the Eswatini Investment Promotion Authority (EIPA).
The key message to potential investors is that Eswatini is open for business.
Commerce, Trade and Industry Minister Manqoba Khumalo has presented six major projects with investment partnership potential worth over E60 billion and projected to create more than 25 000 jobs.
One of these is an E3.6 billion (US$200 million) town in the Shiselweni Region to support an African Development Bank-funded dam project at Mpakeni.
The second is the Eswatini Rail Link and Mpaka Inland Container Depot which is expected to cost E32.4 billion (US$1.8 million), 300MW. It will involve a 150km rail link from Lothair (in South Africa (SA) to Sidvokodvo), which is expected to link three countries (South Africa, Eswatini, and Mozambique) to strategic ports, Richards Bay and Maputo.
Minister Khumalo said the project is expected to improve the logistics chain – direct rail access to the RSA economic hub, which is the Gauteng Province and further promote intra-African trade and integration of the region’s freight logistics. The country will benefit from increased imports/export.
The other projects are the Renewable Energy Project worth E12.3bn, The Five Star Hotel and Villa Development Partnership Project (E4.1bn), a Big Five National Park Project (E1.8bn) and Industrial Parks Development Project (E3.4bn).
His Majesty also held a brief talk with the UAE Foreign Affairs minister who paid him a courtesy call. The king was expected to leave the UAE last night for a State visit to Taiwan.
Explaining the Eswatini Rail Link and inland dry port the minister said it He said it will further entail the development of an inland depot at Mpaka to cover about 22 000m² of hard standing for container staging, office buildings, weighbridge, and warehousing.
The commerce minister stated that the feasibility study for the project has been completed. He said the government has identified 235 homesteads to be resettled while construction of the hard standing was completed in May this year.
The minister said the project is expected to create approximately 5 000 work opportunities during the construction phase which is expected to take three years as well as 263 permanent jobs during operations.
The benefits of the project will result in the decongestion of traffic at the border and create a capacity of up to 45 metric tonnes per annum for general freight export. He said it will also present business opportunities for the construction industry and business opportunities for SMEs to provide outsourced services.