Ezulwini, Eswatini, 10 September 2019 (ECA) – His Excellency the Prime Minister of Eswatini, Mr. Ambrose Mandvulo Dlamini officially opened the 25th Session of the Intergovernmental Committee of Senior Officials and Experts (ICSOE) Meeting of Southern Africa taking place at Ezulwini from 10-13 September 2019.
The opening ceremony was attended by the ECA-SA Director, Said Adejumobi, UN Resident Coordinator in Eswatini, Ms. Nathalie Ndongo- Seh, Chair of the 24th Bureau of the ICSOE, Mrs. Bibi Fatmwa Abdool Raman Ahmed, the Executive Secretary of SADC, H.E Dr Stergomena Lawrence-Tax, and the Minister of Commerce, Trade and Industry, Senator Manqoba Khumalo. Also present were senior Government Officials in industrialization, regional integration, trade and SME’s from SADC member States, representatives of SADC and COMESA Secretariats, representatives from private sector, Civil Society Organisations, academic and research institutions, professional organisations, the UN family and other ECA Divisions.
The Prime Minister emphasised the importance of the MSMEs sector in promoting sustainable economic development in Eswatini. “This is duly reflected in the Government’s Vision 2022 – to position the country in the top 10% of the medium human development group of countries,” he said. “Accordingly, we have developed a National Development Strategy (NDS) and a Strategic Roadmap that emphasizes the power of the sector to deliver broad-based and inclusive economic growth”.
The importance of the ICSOE in spearheading development in Southern Africa was also underscored in the opening remarks by ECA-SA Director, Said adejumobi, who pointed out that, “in a market economy, the private sector especially micro, small and medium scale enterprises are the engine of sustained economic growth and development. They create jobs, contribute to government revenue, ensure livelihood, reduce poverty, and facilitate the realisation of key goals of Agenda 2063 and the SDGs”.
Ndongo- Seh gave concrete examples of what is being done by the UN in supporting the growth of MSMEs in the Kingdom of eSwatini. She emphasized the need for her office and other UN organizations at the regional and sub regional levels like ECA, to work together in increasing support to the Government of the Kingdom of eSwatini on MSMEs.
ECA also used the official opening platform and the presence of high level participants to launch the STEPS profile for Eswatini. This is a knowledge product published by the Economic Commission for Africa.
The Government of Eswatini, SADC and all participants commended the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa for facilitating and succesfully organising the 25th ICSOE, on the theme ‘Strategies and policies for the integration of Micro, Small and Medium Scale Enterprises (MSMEs) in the industrialization process in Southern Africa.’ Shared interest was highlightened in developing MSMEs and the crucial need for member Countries to accelerate industrialization and structural transformation processes.
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