Eswatini Daily News
By: King’s Office Correspondents
JAKARTA, INDONESIA: Indonesia, a country that generates about 80 percent of its electricity from coal-fired thermal generation, is ready to assist Eswatini in developing the critical energy sector. This will include the opportunities available to the country for making the best use of it’s vast coal resources for beneficiation and export.
The Southeast Asian country, which has a population of about 300 million people, sent top experts to meet with His Majesty King Mswati III and his Eswatini officials on Wednesday. This development comes following a courtesy call by His Majesty the King, on Indonesian President Joko Widodo at the Istana Merdeka Palace yesterday morning to discuss areas of increased economic cooperation. It must be noted that the country has heightened efforts to develop independent power production ahead of the anticipated expiry of Eswatini’s power supply contract with ESKOM of South Africa in two years.
During the courtesy call, the king was accompanied by the Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Thulisile Dladla, while the president was accompanied by the Indonesian Foreign Affairs Minister, Retno Marsudi, and the country’s Secretary to Cabinet. The two countries underscored the importance of the Bandung Conference in promoting Africa-Asia trade and investment for the mutual benefit of the peoples of our two regions.
The Joint Cooperation Agreement is expected to expand areas of engagement between the two countries to financing infrastructure development, tourism and culture, transfer of technology, and education and training. Other areas of cooperation will include mining, agriculture, direct trade and investment, streamlined tax policies, and capacity building for peace and security.
The talks also touched on possible collaboration on emerging global challenges such as climate change and the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and other international issues. The two foreign ministers have been assigned to prepare the document. After the brief talks, Foreign Affairs Minister Retno Marsudi described the visit by the king as part of efforts to increase cooperation between the two countries, especially in the economic field.
According to an official government statement, Minister Retno explained that one thing that had progressed from the last meeting of the two leaders in 2019 until now was the presence of an Indonesian company engaged in the wellness spa sector in Eswatini. He said this is the initial opening for various other collaborations.
“So although the talks were brief, the talks focused on efforts to increase economic cooperation, including in the fields of infrastructure, energy, and tourism, and also from the health aspect,” he added. Local Foreign Affairs Minister Thulisile Dladla described the talks as very successful.
“His Majesty also touched on issues of peace, security, and stability as a pillar of development, which would further enhance the revival of the tourism sector. He further invited investors from Indonesia to explore Eswatini as a hub of investment and penetration to access the markets in the Southern African region and beyond,” she said. The minister highlighted the valuable experience shared by Indonesia on her resilience during the impact of COVID-19 on global economies and the Russia-Ukraine war that has seen increased coal demand from power-needy Europe, Germany in particular.
The government noted that King Mswati III had previously visited Indonesia in 2002, 2003, 2007, 2008, 2015, and 2019. His Majesty and the President will meet today to sign the cooperation agreements, while the King will also attend the Eswatini-Indonesia Business Forum.