By Sifiso Sibandze
His Majesty King Mswati III has reiterated his desire to see the Kingdom of Eswatini become one of the leading countries in developing a technology, innovation, and entrepreneurship ecosystem in the world.
Speaking at Ludzidzini Royal Residence upon his return from Doha, Qatar where he attended the 5th UN’s Conference for Least Developed Countries (LCDs), the King briefed the media that while in Qatar, he had an opportunity to tour the Qatar Science and Technology Park (QSTP), a facility that provides a free zone and technology park that hosts leading global tech companies, mentors and supports a network of start-ups and rising tech ventures, and has a value chain of acceleration, incubation, and funding programmes.
In this regard, the King heaped praises on Qatar for the impressive facility, which has played an integral part in promoting economic growth in the country.
He then expressed his wish to see the QSTP develop exchange programmes with the RSTP for the mutual benefit of the two countries. The King said QSTP management expressed their willingness to assist
Eswatini to grow its technology park to attain the standard of QSTP.
Notably, His Majesty is very keen to see the Royal Science and Technology Park (RSTP) play an effective role in luring investors into the Kingdom through the Special Economic Zones hosted by the facility.
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When opening Parliament recently, the King highlighted that special economic zones remain a key catalyst to stimulate economic development. His Majesty said that while other countries have different objectives for having established these economic zones, empirical evidence shows that they are a cornerstone for economic development.
The King called for a review of the Special Economic Zones Act of 2018 to bring it in line with global requirements, and to fast-track the provision of outstanding infrastructure, such as the one-stop shop service centre, to host the relevant service providers.
“This facility should not only serve the beneficiaries of the economic zones but embrace all other investors in Eswatini,” the King said.