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Grow Africa participates in Eswatini launch of the Private Sector Engagement Process

Grow Africa participates in Eswatini launch of the Private Sector Engagement Process

“Eswatini is open for business!” That was the resounding message coming from the Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Eswatini, His Excellence, the Right Honourable Mandvulo Ambrose Dlamini during an event launching Private Sector Engagement in Agriculture Development. The event was hosted by the Ministry of Agriculture and held on 7 March 2019 in Ezulwini, Eswatini. 

The event was attended by a wide range of stakeholders from Members of Parliament, development partners, government officials, farmer organisations, financiers and research institutions. The event was aimed at launching the private sector engagement process which will create a robust partnership with the government in order to further develop and grow the agriculture sector. 

Grow Africa was invited to participate in the event and to share its experiences in facilitating private sector participation in agriculture on the continent. In his address, Mr Ibrahim Gourouza, Chief Operating Officer for Grow Africa, spoke about the Country Agribusiness Partnership Framework (CAP-F) and its value proposition particularly as it relates to mobilising private sector action aligned to National Agriculture Investment Plans (NAIPS). He further elaborated on Grow Africa’s business model and emphasised the importance of establishing and/or strengthening in-country coordination mechanisms that can fulfil various functions such as mobilising investments and coordinating different value chains platforms. 

The Minister of Agriculture, Mr Jabulani Mabuza expressed great interest in CAP-F, underscored the importance of a mechanism that is practical and will support the government of Eswatini in coordinating the various agribusiness partnerships to stimulate private sectors investments into the sector. 

The Principal Secretary of the Ministry of Agriculture, Mr Bongani Masuku delivered a presentation on growth opportunities for the sector. In his address he touched on the current policies supporting growth of the sector as well as key achievements to date. The Principal Secretary also pointed to the opportunities that exist to bolster private investment such as the availability of vast idle land that would be ideal for agricultural production, the potential for construction of new dams to increase land under irrigation as well as bilateral trade agreements providing market access. 

The event also included a robust panel discussion on private engagement where different perspectives were shared, from industry players to farmer groups as well as research institutions and finance institutions. There was overriding consensus on a number of issues including the observation that certain policies need to be revised to make them more investment friendly; that government needs to focus on strengthening value chains where the country has a competitive advantage and that attention should also be given to producing for the domestic market in addition to focus on the export market. 

The event concluded with both the Minister and the Principal Secretary pointing out the need to focus on strengthening value chains and exploring investment opportunities therein with the support of Grow Africa and other relevant stakeholders.