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MBABANE – The incoming minister of Commerce, Industry and Trade has set an ambitious target to reduce the country’s Ease of Doing Business to be among the top 10 in Africa.

Minister Manqoba Khumalo, in his vision statement, disclosed that he seeks to attain and sustain an Ease of Doing Business index that will position Eswatini in the top 10 in Africa, and top three in Southern Africa.

This is against the backdrop of the fact that Eswatini recently dropped five places in the Ease of Business.
The World Bank, through its 16th edition of the Ease of Doing Business Report 2019 released on Wednesday afternoon, disclosed that the kingdom was ranked at 117 out of 190 countries.

This effectively meant Eswatini’s business environment continued to diminish on a yearly basis when taking into consideration the fact that in 2018, the World Bank ranked the country at 112, which was a regression from the 2017 ranking of 111 out of 190 economies.
The Ease of Doing Business Report is one of the yardsticks used by investors in measuring the conduciveness of a country’s business environment. It is regarded as the best measurement by most investors. 


Therefore, the country’s poor ranking in this regard, put it at a competitive disadvantage in the southern African region more so because all countries in the region scramble for the same investors.

“I see my role as simply being the minister responsible for jobs. Winning therefore, will be determined by our ability, as a dynamic team, to develop a business ecosystem that creates not just any type of job but sustainable, high quality jobs that enable anyone employed to live a comfortable life,” Khumalo explained.
 The minister said proof of effectiveness of the country’s strategies would be significant increase in exports – double the value of our exports in three to five years, significant increase in Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) – double the contribution of FDI to local Growth Domestic Product (GDP) and significant increase in employment to see a 3-5 per cent per annum growth for the next five years. 


“I’m committed to these aspirational goals. My driving ambition will be to deliver this vision and put Eswatini on the road to prosperity for generations to come. I would like to invite all of you to share in my passion as we re-imagine and renew the business landscape in Eswatini together,” said Khumalo, during a brainstorming session with heads of department, convened at the ministry’s headquarters.

Khumalo said each of the initiatives to improve the targets were collated into a working document that would be shared with departments as they work together to translate the vision into a strategy.

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