Lusaka, Monday, March 11, 2019: Eswatini is set to launch the construction of a trade hub and private sector support project in Manzini town. About 1.2 million euros provided by the European Union through the COMESA Regional Integration Support Mechanism (RISM) will be used to finance this project.
Signing of the Financing Agreement will be conducted on Friday 15 March 2019 paving way for the commencement of construction of the project known as The Manzini Trade Hub and Private Sector Support.
Eswatini Minister of Finance, Hon. Neil Rijkenberg and his Commerce counterpart, Hon. Mancoba Khumalo will jointly sign the agreement with COMESA Secretary General Chileshe Mpundu Kapwepwe witnessed by the Head of Delegation of the European Union.
The overall objective of the project is to improve the production, trading and investment environment for the private sector in the Kingdom through the construction of phase 1 of the Trade Hub.
Upon completion, the hub will provide an improved environment for Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) production and trade capacities. Specifically, it will enhance the performance of the leather value chain, improve quality infrastructure services to support production and trade, and raise the capacities for investment promotion in the country.
Eswatini, qualified for the project support by responding to the 7th and 8th Calls for Submissions made by the COMESA RISM to countries that have met the set criteria. This includes signing and ratifying the COMESA Fund Protocol thus becoming a member of the Fund. The country must also be compliant with its obligations for payment of its assessed budgetary contributions to the COMESA Secretariat.
Under the 7th Call, Eswatini was allocated €331 246 as project support to finance the Trade Hub project with an overall objective of establishing a Women’s Business Centre. This facility would contribute to the alleviation of poverty in the long term by assisting the women in generating income through trade. The project was endorsed in August 2018.
Under the 8th Call, the Kingdom qualified for €854,643 as project support and the two tranches were consolidated totaling €1,185,899. These funds were used to formulate and implement the trade hub and private sector support.