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MBABANE – The country has not been listed among most attractive investment destinations in the continent, according to the Where to Invest in Africa 2021 report from Rand Merchant Bank (RMB).

RMB, a division of FirstRand Bank Limited, is said to be the leading African corporate and investment bank and part of one of the largest financial services groups in Africa. According to the report shared BusinessTech, it shows that Egypt is by Africa’s top investment destination with Morocco following in second place. Rounding up the top five are Rwanda and Botswana in fourth and fifth positions respectively. South Africa is third. In essence, only two of Eswatini’s Southern African Customs Union (SACU) counterparts are in the top 10. These are Botswana and South Africa. Other SACU members are Lesotho and Namibia.

A  request was forwarded to RMB to ascertain Eswatini’s ranking but the response was that the report was currently only available to clients. RMB Africa economist Daniel Kavishe was quoted saying, the 2021 report assessed the extent of the pandemic’s impact by sketching Africa’s landscape before COVID-19 and then painted a picture of both its actual and potential outcomes through and post pandemic. The pandemic has muddied the analytical waters and compelled the team to adapt their methodology.
Kavishe said, “We created a new set of rankings that incorporated some of the unavoidable COVID-19-induced challenges, of which the operating environment score was one”.

A fiscal score which was a part of the methodology are important indicators of how governments respond to COVID-19. The report also explored key themes emanating from Africa’s developmental aspirations which are government intervention, a focus on triple-threat sectors and healthcare. “The inclusion of a fiscal score in our rankings aimed to score governments’ fiscal positions and provided a basis from which investors can understand specific jurisdictions,” Kavishe said. Meanwhile, after the violent protests that tainted the country’s image late in June this year, Minister of Commerce, Industry and Trade Manqoba Khumalo, in a statement, emphasised that Eswatini was still a competitive investment destination in Southern Africa, offering a gateway to the rest of Africa and the world. This is through its good road network, trustworthy rail infrastructure and trade agreements within regional and international trade bodies. “Our labour force is still among the most educated in the region and our provision of electricity supply and other raw materials required to keep business going such as water, operating facilities and regulatory support remain reliable,” the minister had stressed.

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