Manufacturing value added for Eswatini constitutes around one fourth of its GDP. The Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Trade of Eswatini formulated its first Industrial Development Policy (NDP) in 2015 and was due for review in 2022.
the Ministry requested the ICR Facility to assist in formulating a revised evidence-based Industrial Policy to improve the investment climate for Eswatini and to attract more foreign direct investment. The objectives also envisioned a more inclusive policy, enabling the business environment to create better quality jobs and ensure that livelihoods of women and the youth are significantly improved.
The Ministry together with the ICR Facility organised several national stakeholder consultation workshops, during which representatives of government and private sector contributed to the discussion on the content of the revised policy. A concerted effort was made to ensure that consultation workshops were gender-balanced and that organisations representing women businesses were present from the start to ensure that their needs and interests were well captured.
The updated Industrial Policy identifies women, youth, people with disabilities, and small businesses as target groups. The objectives include strengthening the economic resilience by diversifying production and exports, encouraging good-paying industries and supporting green industrialisation through circular economy and other measures.
With the support of the ICR Facility, the Ministry finalised the revised Industrial Policy in August 2023 and expects cabinet approval later in 2023.
“The new policy will address issues such as the active economic participation of women, the youth, persons living with disabilities as well as MSMEs. Currently, the Eswatini economy is not inclusive as these groups are not equally benefiting from the country’s manufacturing activities and this has created a highly unequal society. The Industrial Policy can alleviate this challenge of low participation by; promoting the creation of other manufacturing sectors that can offer better quality of jobs and benefits to the society, promoting sectors and jobs that could bring higher women participation and trigger women economic empowerment, promoting laws, regulation and incentives to attract more MSMEs participation, and promoting jobs that can attract the youth and people living in disabled conditions and provide incentives to companies to hire them.”