The World Bank is to loan Swaziland US$25 million to help strengthen private sector development and catalyze new investment.
The World Bank Group’s Board of Executive Directors announced the loan on Thursday 3 December 2015.
The Private Sector Competitiveness project, which has two major components aiming to support economic diversification and job creation particularly in the agribusiness and tourism sectors, is anchored in the priorities of the Government of Swaziland’s development goals, and align with the World Bank’s twin goals to help end extreme poverty and promote shared prosperity.
“Through this project we will help Swaziland implement its Investor Road Map which articulates the creation of an enabling business climate as a key priority. We will also support job creation in sectors which are critical to growing the Swazi economy and help its poverty fighting efforts,” said World Bank Country Director for Swaziland, GuangZhe Chen. “This support will be complemented by the provision of technical assistance, knowledge and advisory services”.
The component of the project that is aimed at improving the investment environment will focus on regulatory reform and export facilitation in order to help increase international and domestic investments, and to increase exports.
It will also focus on developing the financial sector to improve access to finance for Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) as well as review the Export Credit and Small Scale Enterprise Guarantee Schemes and assist in the implementation of revised Schemes. These improvements will facilitate private sector activity across sectors, including agribusiness and tourism.
The component of the project whose objective is promoting job creation, will focus on activities that support a sustained growth amongst private sector firms, particularly aiming on increasing the number of formal and informal jobs in agribusiness and tourism sectors. It will be supported through the development of competitive value chains in order to facilitate the emergence of more and larger ‘market linking’ firms.
These firms may include producers, aggregators, and providers of shared services. It will also be supported through the provision of cost-sharing contributions for start-ups and scale-ups to help address key knowledge constraints in agribusiness and tourism through the backing of business and farmer mentoring organizations.