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EZULWINI – Ambitious!  This word best describes the Kingdom of Eswatini’s Strategic Road map 2019 - 2023 where 50 000 jobs in the next five years were promised by the Prime Minister, Ambrose Mandvulo Dlamini.

Specifically, government promised to create about 10 000 jobs per year and the PM said the nation should not be surprised in the next few days as they will be making a major announcement in this regard. The economic recovery plan was unveiled yesterday at the Royal Swazi Sun Convention Centre where Cabinet presented its main five areas of focus.


The jobs are expected to come from, but not limited to; the mining and energy sector, tourism, manufacturing, agriculture and information, communication and technology (ICT).
First to lay out his plans was Minister of Agriculture Jabulani Mabuza, who said the agricultural sector currently had its employment at 12.9 per cent and that their goal was to increase this to 15 per cent.

Mabuza said in order to achieve the aforementioned percentages, they would have to build dams which would irrigate up to 30 000 hectares.
He said this included the completion of the LUSIP II project, which they believe would be finished in 2020.


“We will then develop the Mkhondvo and Ngwavuma Dam and also develop about 20 or more small and medium-sized dams across the country,” said Mabuza.
He said they also wanted to attain food security by improving service delivery of the inputs subsidy and the tractor hire services, which would be done by producing maize, legumes and sorghum.

Mabuza said this would be obtained through ensuring optimum production from government farms and privately-owned farms.
“We must increase agricultural export and agro-processing with a focus on daily production and processing,” said Mabuza.
He said they wanted to increase milk production from 18 million litres to 100 million litres.

This product will also be exported.
Mabuza said they would also focus on baby vegetable production and marketing and they were currently facilitating the private sector investment in tunnel production at King Mswati III International Airport for export. He said this programme would be upscaled to all four regions.
Mabuza said they would also promote beef production and processing with the aim of increasing the production from 11 000 metric tonnes to about 16 000 metric tonnes.

On goat production, he said they were targeting 2 500 metric tonnes from 16.25 metric tonnes. He said to implement their strategy, they would need to focus on giving knowledge to the people and embrace modern technology to improve productivity.

Next to present the ambitious plan was Peter Bhembe, the Minister of Natural Resources and Energy.
He said in particular they were looking at the energy and mining sectors as the main areas where development should come.
He said the country was looking at generating its own power and though they were looking at fossil fuel energy, they were aware that the world was looking towards renewable energy.


He said in the short-term they were looking at generating electricity through solar and biomass and also investigating about wind energy.
Bhembe said as a highlight they were looking at generating 40 megawatts of solar, 40 megawatts in biomass and 300 megawatts through fossil fuels.
“There are other plants we are working on particularly the lower Edwaleni Power Station where we are also looking at about 13 megawatts hydro power plant and in future we are looking at the Lower Maguga Plant,” said Bhembe.

He said they would soon be establishing an oil reserve, which was at an advanced stage and they hoped to start construction before the end of this financial year, which would help the country to be sustainable in terms of fuel supply.

Bhembe said there were plans to revive the Ngwenya Iron Ore Mine where they intended to end up producing steel within Eswatini and this would turn the country into a manufacturing State rather than a supplier of raw material. 


Meanwhile, Minister of Tourism and Environmental Affairs Moses Vilakati said their target was to increase the number of tourists who visited the country from about 1.3 million to two million.
He said this could be done through the review of the visa regime in the country because they believed that once the visas were reviewed there would be more tourists coming into the country.

“We want the visas to be aligned with those of South Africa so that if someone can get a multiple visa in SA they should be able to enter Eswatini with ease,” he said.
He said the process would initially entail issuing e-visas as well as visa-on-arrival, which would only be  obtainable at the Ngwenya-Oshoek Border Gate as well as the KMIII International Airport.

“We are going to achieve that by having an aggressive advertisement in neighbouring countries such as South Africa including its regions which include Mpumalanga, Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal and neighbouring Mozambique,” said Vilakati.

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