Eswatini: Increased Private Sector Employment and Enhanced Human Capital Development are top priorities of new WBG Strategy
WASHINGTON – The World Bank Group Board of Executive Directors endorsed a new Country Partnership Framework (CPF) for Eswatini which outlines the World Bank Group’s strategy in the country for FY2024–2028. The overarching goal of the CPF is to support Eswatini’s shift to a more private sector-led growth model that can promote inclusive, sustainable, and resilient economic growth.
Eswatini’s five-year CPF is centered around two high-level long-term outcomes: increased private sector employment, and improved human capital development. The first high level outcome focuses on improving conditions for private sector competitiveness; growing medium, small and micro-enterprises; improving transparency, accountability, and fiscal sustainability; and increasing access to electricity services. The second high level income focuses on improving quality and retention in basic education; improving healthcare quality and coverage; and increasing access to water and sanitation, especially in regions which are falling behind.
The new CPF builds on the 2015-2020 Country Partnership Strategy and is aligned with Eswatini’s National Development Plan (2023-2027), which seeks to ensure recovery from weak growth and limited poverty reduction through good governance, fiscal discipline, and inclusive private-sector growth that provides sustainable livelihoods for all, especially women and youth.
“Over the past few years, the World Bank Group’s engagement with Eswatini has grown substantially with a focus on the two most vulnerable regions of Lubumbo and Shiselweni, and our new strategy creates a platform for deeper engagement with a variety of stakeholders. For example, the CPF scales-up assistance to empower women and girls. The CPF program will also continue to strengthen Eswatini’s resilience to climate change,” said Marie Francoise Marie-Nelly, World Bank Country Director for Southern Africa, responsible for Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Namibia and South Africa.
The CPF reflects the “One World Bank Group” strategy and features cooperation among the World Bank, the International Finance Corporation (IFC), and the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA). The focus is on improving the business climate and identifying avenues to stimulate private sector growth in areas outlined in the 2022 Country Private Sector Diagnostic (CPSD).
“Increasing private sector participation in key economic sectors can help Eswatini sustainably grow its economy, create jobs, boost exports, and reduce inequality,” said Adamou Labara, IFC Country Manager for Eswatini. “IFC is a longtime partner of Eswatini’s government and its private sector, and we will leverage the new CPF to support the country’s small businesses and help unlock Eswatini’s potential—and attract investment—in key industries such as sugar, livestock, forestry, textiles.”
“MIGA is working to deepen its engagement in Eswatini in order to strengthen foreign investment flows, especially in key value chains and in support of the government to attract public private partnerships, including in the critical areas of water and solar energy,” said Hiroyuki Hatashima, Acting MIGA Director of Economics and Sustainability.
Digital development is a cross-cutting theme of the CPF, with the goal of enhancing access to and use of digital technologies in Eswatini. The strategy was developed in collaboration and consultation with the government and diverse stakeholders, such as civil society, traditional authorities, youth, and academia.
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