Africa Trade Fund supports the development of Aid for Trade Strategy for Swaziland
On 18 and 19 September, the African Development Bank, in collaboration with the Government of the Kingdom of Swaziland, organised a stakeholder validation workshop on the recently developed Swaziland Aid for Trade Strategy and Action Matrix. The framework document was developed with funding from the Africa Trade Fund.
The Aid for Trade Strategy will provide strategic guidance for Government of Swaziland to position itself to attract and take advantage of Aid for Trade resources – in pursuit of efforts to diversify the economy. It will also enhance competitiveness and improve trade facilitation measures with a view to reducing costs, as well as assist in taking advantage of market access opportunities.
In addition to the major task of validation, other key objectives of the workshop were to update and sensitise stakeholders, enable clearer understanding of the strategy, facilitate inclusion and stakeholder ownership, and address the critical question of implementation.
Participants identified a number of important factors that can contribute to successful implementation of the strategy. These factors include strong political support, effective co-ordination, monitoring and evaluation; improved human and institutional capacity, especially of the Trade Ministry, to manage implementation and provide effective co-ordination and leadership; effective oversight by stakeholder co-ordination committee and of course; adequate funding support. In this regard, a key concern for sustainability was to make efforts at bringing on board long term partners.
While not precluding any project already listed in the Action Matrix, participants narrowed the scope of immediate priorities to include the following: trade facilitation measures, support for Swaziland Competition Commission, and the establishment of the National Tariff Body and Aid for Trade Co-ordination Unit respectively, given the direct impact of activities in these areas on competitiveness and trade performance.
It is also noteworthy that within the context of the Global Aid for Trade Initiative, the document will also serve as a ready material with which the Government of Swaziland can approach Development Partners for support and assistance
A formal launching ceremony for the Strategy is being anticipated, following planned Cabinet level deliberations.