BY Royal Correspondents
KINSHASA, DRC – His Majesty King Mswati III has stated that Southern African countries have all they need to turn things around for the better. The King said this was only possible if the regional countries worked together by sharing skills and expertise in line with the guiding principles and strategies.
“We are confident that with the adoption of Regional Indicative Strategy Development Plan (RISDP) 2020-30, we shall be able to take meaningful steps in the right direction,” he said.
In his interventions during the 42nd SADC Summit of Heads of State and Government, the king noted how the theme for this year’s summit is one that resonated with all member states.
“As SADC member states, we have suffered greatly from the economic downturn occasioned upon us by events over the past few years.
“It is time that we actualize our words and visions and deliver on the statement that the theme speaks to,” he emphasised.
The King also shared how Eswatini’s Industrial Development Policy (2015-2022) is aligned to the SADC industrialisation strategy and roadmap which seeks to promote and diversify the country’s industrial activities.
The policy, the King said seeks to increase employment, utilization and beneficiation of local and regional raw materials in the production of goods for domestic and export markets, as well as to promote broad-based industrialisation.
His Majesty the King appreciated the assistance Eswatini has received through the SADC Trade Related Facility (TRF) for reviewing the industrial development policy and developing a value chain strategy for Eswatini.
Through this assistance, the king said the country had outlined agro-processing, mining and mineral beneficiation and pharmaceuticals as priority sectors in our industrial development policy.
He further welcomed the delivery of the 2013-2018 Development Objective Grant Agreement which sought to support closer regional integration.
The Kingdom of Eswatini was one of the beneficiaries and has seen progress in targeted areas such as HIV and AIDS, food security, agriculture and trade, among others.
“We are also looking forward to the implementation of the SADC pooled procurement services. This will allow us to collectively source, and sell, our goods at preferential rates,” he said.
His Majesty stated that these services would also counter the impacts of the current challenges, including the disruption of global supply chains due to conflicts and other socio-economic problems.
“We are currently implementing the value chain strategy where horticulture, as well as meat and its products, were identified as sub-sectors with great potential. Therefore, we encourage member states to collaborate with us to deepen regional value chains,” he urged.
The king said the country was also implementing the SADC industrialisation strategy and roadmap. from this, he shared, a number of pack houses across the country had been constructed to enhance cold chain management, improve the turnaround time for smallholder farmers, and encourage them to venture into the business.
KING LAUDS PROGRESS ON SADC UNIVERSITY
The establishment of the SADC University of Transformation (SUT) could soon be fast-tracked.
This is the brainchild of His Majesty the King, which he expressed when he took over as the regional body chairman in 2016, which was hosted at Mandvulo Grand Hall, at Lozitha.
The Council of SADC ministers attending the 42nd SADC Summit placed this matter on the agenda and recommended action for progress.
This was commended by the King during his interventions at the summit yesterday.
He was pleased that the ministers had approved the establishment of a technical working group, to fast-track the operationalisation of this institution which he said would add the required impetus in training the youth in the region.
The ministers, he said, further agreed that a detailed budget and implementation plan for the operationalisation of this university will be developed and progress presented in the next meeting in 2022.
INFRASTRUCTURE FUND TO YIELD GOOD DIVIDENDS
KINSHASA, DRC: Eswatini has extended appreciation to SADC for the establishment of the infrastructure fund to finance the implementation of regional projects.
His Majesty the king acknowledged member states, the secretariat, and the international cooperating partners including the African Development Bank (ADB) for committing themselves to finance these projects.
“They (projects) will help contribute to our respective countries and provide handsome dividends towards our national development plans. Eswatini will also take the opportunity to submit projects for consideration,” said His Majesty.
ESWATINI STARTS RATIFYING PROTOCOL
KINSHASA, DRC: Eswatini has started the ratification process of the protocol on the industry.
This is an important legal framework that will govern the attainment of industrial development in the region.
His Majesty the King told the 42nd SADC Summit he was confident that the country would have outcomes that address the pertinent issues and take our region to greater heights. He called for tangible and action-orientated targets.
“We should prevail and come out victorious against all the adversities that are distracting us from focusing on our key regional development agenda that is inclusive, which also seeks to enhance and address the plethora of challenges faced by our people such as unemployment, particularly for our youth,” he said.
He further emphasized the need to work together in strongly condemning and discouraging those working against the aspirations and protocols of the SADC family.
He said the African Union was also concerned that our continent could lose all the economic gains which have been accrued over the years.