. . . Theme: Banking on Innovation to Kindle ‘Made in Eswatini’

It’s that time of the year once again! SEPARC and FNB Eswatini are calling on young creative minds to take the country’s future economic status into their capable hands by coming up with innovative ideas to kindle a spirit of entrepreneurship that will propel proudly ‘Made in Eswatini’ products and services. This initiative is a mind-set altering programme that seeks to encourage learners to think outside the box for innovative solutions to address the socio-economic challenges faced by emaSwati.

The SEPARC/FNB Essay Competition seeks to encourage youth participation in national economic development in Eswatini. Launched in 2017, the essay competition provides a platform for encouraging young people to participate in national economic dialogue with a focus on harnessing their views to inform national policy. Its purpose is to engage high school learners in thoughtful reflection about economic development in Eswatini and among citizens based on the learners’ youthful insights.

Speaking during the launch at FNB Headquarters last week, acting Executive Director Thabo Sacolo noted that this is the second instalment of the competition following the inaugural one that took place in 2017.

“We appreciate the confidence that FNB has shown in our partnership. Since SEPARC’s and FNB’s goals align in terms of using innovative ways to solve everyday problems (both social and economic), the institutions saw it fit to once again partner in cultivating a culture of entrepreneurship in Eswatini through innovation,” he said.

Sacolo said this initiative is part of a mind-set altering programme run by SEPARC, which seeks to nudge young people to think in the direction of creating opportunities as opposed to searching for opportunities.

“We want a future generation of entrepreneurs that seek opportunity and not security, a breed of entrepreneurs that will refuse to live from hand to mouth, entrepreneurs that will opt for the challenges of the business environment than guaranteed existence, entrepreneurs that will prefer the thrill of fulfilment to the still calm of utopia,” he said.

“It is SEPARC and FNB’s mutual understanding that we cannot talk about the future without tapping into young minds, for the future belongs to them. These partners are in full support of the old adage that says “what is made for me, but without me, is actually against me”. It is precisely for this reason that we feel more than compelled to involve young minds when shaping the future of Eswatini, and the most effective way to harness what is inside the young minds is by asking them to write it down.”

FNB Head of Marketing Zethu Dlamini said the essay competition was the culmination of a meeting of minds a year ago when SEPARC approached the bank with this idea, and because young people are ‘litsemba letfu’ (our hope), the bank saw it fit to come on board.

“We thought that such a wealth of knowledge and enthusiasm should be mentored and groomed towards the right direction. We look forward to more and leveraging on your skills as economic researchers (at SEPARC) and we especially love this year’s theme as it speaks to who we are as a bank. Innovation is part of who we are, it is what differentiates us from the rest, we innovate to help and helping young people is where it all begins,” she said.

The Essay Competition aims to:

  • Cultivate a culture of entrepreneurship in Eswatini through innovation;
  • Encourage the youth to participate in national economic dialogue and policymaking in Eswatini;
  • Gather the views of young people and gauge their understanding of economic development and their vision for the country;
  • Promote dialogue among citizens based on insights gleaned from high school learners;
  • Ensure that a culture of research and policy analysis within Eswatini is inculcated at a young age;
  • Ensure that Eswatini’s future learning needs are understood and addressed appropriately in order to ensure a performance driven workforce and leadership for the country’s future growth.

 SEPARC and FNB are inviting high school learners to submit essays around the theme ‘Banking on Innovation to Kindle Made in Eswatini’. The competition is open to all high school learners in Eswatini, who are expected to come up with the ‘next big idea’ or innovation that can change the economic landscape of Eswatini.

The essay must address the following:

  • The Next Big Idea: New business opportunities/innovative ideas for ‘Made in Eswatini’ goods and/or services. What should be made in Eswatini?
  • The Need: What is the practical use of your innovative idea? How would it benefit emaSwati and/or Eswatini? What social or economic problems does your idea solve?
  • Tapping into innovative solutions: What new technologies does the idea bring to the business sector to kindle ‘Made in Eswatini’? How can technology advance your idea?
  • Innovative financial products and services: What are the expected novel financial products geared towards supporting your next big idea? Where does financial innovation fit in supporting the production of your goods and services ‘Made in Eswatini’?
  • Sustainability: This is key! How will your idea survive? How will it generate income and create wealth?

The essay should not be more than 1 500 words and must be written in English. The format should be 1.5 spacing, Times New Roman font size 12, and submitted as a Microsoft Word document. Submissions should also include a brief author biography.


Essays will be judged based on originality and creativity on the topic, clarity and organisation of the essay, appropriateness of the essay to the competition theme, and the author’s demonstrated grasp of challenges, opportunities, and potential solutions around economic development in Eswatini through innovation.


 Prizes will be awarded to the best six essay writers. The six finalists will present their essays at the first ever Eswatini Learners Economic Conference scheduled for October 2018 at Ezulwini.

Best three essays: Laptop, E1 000 cash deposited into FNB Future Save account, FNB/SEPARC goody hampers.

Next best three: E1 000 cash deposited into FNB Future Save account, FNB/SEPARC goody hampers.

All submitted essays shall be published in a special booklet to be distributed at the learners’ conference, and the best essays shall be posted onto the SEPARC website, app, and social media platforms as well as published in mainstream media.

                Eligibility Criteria

  • Entrants must reside in Eswatini
  • Entrants must currently be attending secondary/high school in Eswatini
  • Entries must be the original unaided work of the applicant
  • Entries must be in English
  • Only one entry per learner shall be considered

    Submission Deadline

The deadline for submission of entries is September 14, 2018.

For more information, contact: Knowledge Manager Teetee Zwane at zwaneteetee@separc.co.sz or 24043033/2823
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