07 October 2021
Eswatini’s Royal Science and Technology Park has set in motion an accelerated economic recovery strategy that is expected to breathe life into the Kingdom’s dwindling economy. The focus is specifically on carving a path to a private-led economy by positioning the country as a safe tourism destination and investment hub.
Like many nations around the world, Eswatini has suffered severely due to the coronavirus pandemic and the economy is at risk of crashing if it does not embrace crucial economic reforms.
‘The Kingdom has been struggling for some time now to attract lucrative investments, but there is an opportunity to restructure the economy and catapult it towards a path of recovery. We believe the strategy by the Royal Science and Technology Park is central to this recovery process,’ says (RSTP CEO, Mr Vumile Dlamini.
RSTP C.E.O Mr Vumile Dlamini
The concept behind the RSTP was already mooted in 2008, but officially saw the light in 2018. As a developing country, Eswatini, continues to face socio-economic challenges and reality has shown that despite vigorous government initiatives, it has failed to attract the crucial foreign direct investment to address the growing levels of unemployment and poverty. The country can no longer rely on its past main economic activities such as sugar production and the processing of timber and textile manufacturing.
‘To ensure the economy grows at a pace that will ensure high levels of wealth creation and a reduction in poverty, new approaches to industrial development had to be explored. Science, technology and innovation are at the forefront to increase the country’s economic growth and capacity by developing a knowledge-based economy and infrastructure. We view the RSTP as a leading oasis for wealth creation,’ Dlamini says.
While the RSTP has been operational for a number of years, it has used the time to streamline its processes and initiatives and are now ready to play a more prominent role in the revatalisation of the country’s economy and help drive the nation to a first world status. Dlamini says now is the best time to capitalize amid current developments.
‘If you look at the current situation locally and internationally, Covid-19 has brought a new dimension to the entire economic development sphere. In the education sector, online learning has become more prominent than ever before, whether people want to accept it or not. As RSTP we have the infrastructure in place to facilitate e-learning in all schools from primary to tertiary level. Businesses are also benefitting from the online facilities we are providing to productively work from home. In this respect the infrastructure we provide is actually a game changer,’ he says.
Dlamini says RSTP is THE hub for stimulating science, and innovative technologies for commercialization and we will do this through amongst others; facilitating research and technology transfer, encouraging entrepreneurship, facilitating manufacturing technologies and providing IT technology-based business solutions. Over the next period the focus will specifically fall on making use of the country’s natural resources and broadening the scope of tourism to ensure foreign direct investment:
- Stimulate and pursue research on the commercialization potential of indigenous plants and animals.
- Enhance sustainable use and protection of environment resources.
- Explore trade opportunities that exist for nature-based production in the local, region and global market.
- Create opportunity for employment of local people and for local business entrepreneurs to participate in harnessing the country’s natural resources and benefit from its commercialization and trade.
- Enhance contribution of research to economic and social development across all relevant areas of public policy including agriculture, health, environment and the marine and natural resources.
- Increase participation in the sciences by young people and attract tourism and eco-tourism development
The Royal Science and Technology Park Data Centre is the first of its kind in Eswatini and this state-of-the-art facility has been designed with a singular focus of delivering the highest level and quality of service, while not compromising on embracing the Swazi culture and heritage.
‘We are manned and operated by industry professionals, and we also enjoy the full backing of the government to ensure that we have all the necessary resources to maintain this level of service.
Dlamini says RSTP is part of the Expo 2020 Dubai, where countries and companies around the world are provided with a platform to showcase the greatest technological innovations that have shaped the world we live in today.
‘We are strategically positioning ourselves during this expo to showcase our capabilities and to attract the correct partners from a global and regional perspective.’