The European Union has provided up to SZL 108 million or six million Euros to help support the implementation of the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) in Eswatini. The EPA is a new trading arrangement between the EU and Eswatini which the two partners signed in June 2016 along with other SADC (Southern African Development Community) countries.
EU Ambassador to Eswatini, Esmeralda Hernandez Aragones, along with the Minister of Economic Planning and Development, Dr Tambo Gina and the Minister of Commerce, Industry and Trade, Manqoba Khumalo, signed the Financing Agreement for this programme at a ceremony held on 29 April 2021 at City Court in Mbabane.
In her speech during the event, Ambassador Hernandez Aragones said this support represents yet another milestone in the EU’s long standing partnership with the Kingdom of Eswatini which continues to grow from strength to strength.
She said successful implementation of the EPA was very significant in the transformation of the private sector into a vibrant lever that will help create decent jobs, entrepreneurship, trade and inclusive growth in Eswatini.
“As such, the action involves generating a private sector-led export drive to build up alliances that bind value chain actors to collectively upgrade Micro, Small and Medium Enteprises (MSMEs) and support services in an environmentally and socially responsible manner, including value addition, public dialogue and strong anchoring in markets,” said the Ambassador.
She added that the programme will further support solutions to address the major hindrances of the MSME sector in an inclusive manner in order to benefit people living in vulnerable situations such as the youth, women and people living with disabilities.
In response, both Cabinet Minister appreciated the EU support, saying it will go a long way in enhancing Eswatini’s trade competitiveness.