Eswatini Daily News
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Eswatini’s underdeveloped digital infrastructure presents growth opportunities

By Bahle Gama

The Minister of ICT Princess Sikhanyiso says findings of the digital economy diagnostic report indicate that Eswatini’s digital infrastructure is underdeveloped, which presents a challenge and an opportunity for growth.

This was during the official launch of the Eswatini Digital Economy Diagnostic Report that was held at the Hilton Garden Inn where the minister was represented by the Under Secretary Macanjana Motsa.

The report is meant to provide a snapshot of the fast-moving digital economy in Eswatini, find where the country is lacking, and provide a diagnostic of the different sectors that are part of the digital infrastructure.

The report is also part of the United Nations initiative to ensure that every African individual business and government is digitally enabled by 2030.


“We are therefore challenged to build the necessary infrastructure to support a thriving digital economy. We are also provided with the opportunity to tap into the growth and innovation that a digital economy can offer,” said the minister.

She further stated that investing in digital infrastructure and digital skills is crucial to the future of the country and “by doing so, we will create new job opportunities, increase productivity and drive innovation.”

The minister also emphasized that technology and innovation continue to drive economic growth and shape the future.

“As a country, we cannot be left behind, we must be proactive in adapting to these changes and take advantage of the opportunities they present. The Covid-19 pandemic has served as a stark reminder of the critical importance of investing in ICT,” she said.

She further applauded the World Bank Group and the many stakeholders who participated in the information-gathering process of the report.

“Their expertise, dedication, and contributions have been instrumental in providing us with a comprehensive overview of the state of the digital economy in our country. We are grateful for your dedication to this pivotal endeavour,” she said.

Speaking on behalf of Eswatini Communications Commission Chief Executive, Fikile Gama said over the past three years, the country has seen a sharp increase in the number of individuals and businesses present online, powered largely by mobile communications technologies and the delivery of efficient service delivery and convenience.

“Over the past three years, the country has seen a growth of over 25 per cent in mobile broadband connections, and over 21 per cent in smart devices proliferation resulting in over 30 per cent increase in internet traffic,” she said.

According to the CE, these figures put the country in a good position to capture and realize the full benefits of the Digital Economy. While this may be the case, there remain many challenges in this journey, particularly against some of the foundational elements of an efficient and effective digital economy.


Challenges faced by Eswatini:

The country still has significant constraints on the availability of modern, robust, and secure ICT infrastructure, including digital platforms necessary for a thriving ecosystem.

Security and trust in the use of digital services have significantly become a national concern with an increasing number of reported cyber incidents.

The widening digital divide continues to threaten all efforts toward an inclusive digital economy. Preliminary findings of the ICT Usage Survey that has been conducted by the Commission put in sharp focus the specific areas and priorities that the country needs to pay particular attention in order to achieve an all-inclusive digital Eswatini.

Limited locally developed and relevant ICT solutions and products as a result of inadequate skills and support.


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