His Majesty King Mswati III has advised incoming legislators on the importance of using research for informed and evidence-based decision making to ensure prosperity and economic development for Eswatini.

Speaking at Sibaya on Wednesday (October 25), the King urged new Parliamentarians to familiarise themselves with the country’s economic environment through making use of research and analysis so that they are able to make informed decisions on behalf of Emaswati.

“It is clear that there is a need for research so that we identify and adopt new ways of doing things. To get to first world status requires a lot of effort and hard work, it calls for changes in the way we do things, and it calls for innovation in how we do things,” he said.

His Majesty said the legislators have to prioritise certain areas of development to ensure growth. For instance, he noted that Emaswati need to engage more in commercial agricultural production, not only for self-sufficiency, but also to offload surplus produce in local and international markets.

The King also called for the prioritisation of industrial development as well as information and communications technology (ICT) and tourism industries. He urged the new Parliament to prioritise these areas to turn the economy of Eswatini around.

The Eswatini Economic Policy Analysis and Research Centre (ESEPARC) plays a critical role in conducting and providing quality economic and public policy research to inform public and economic policy formulation, implementation, and decision making. ESEPARC does this through using data to evaluate and monitor how far the country has come, to provide policy solutions that will enable the country to take advantage of the opportunities that come with the key socioeconomic challenges that face the economy.

ESEPARC sees research as an important starting point for generating information that can help the country extract and deliver the gifts promised in Vision 2022.

“It is clear that a knowledge economy holds enormous potential and opportunities in various sectors such as education, health, food security, building resilience towards natural disasters, resource efficiency, intelligent transport systems, and smart cities. But data alone is not inherently valuable; the value is created by working with it to innovate, invent, change business processes, and enhance decision making”, says ESEPARC research economist Mangaliso Mohammed.

ESEPARC Executive Director, Dr Thula Sizwe Dlamini, observed that the king’s message confirms that Eswatini is fully committed towards becoming a knowledge-based economy. He explained; “Applying an evidence-based approach to government programmes enables targeted programming for income generation and wealth creation at the household level, prevents waste of resources, and highlights the opportunities to capitalise on. It also dissipates the frustration and fear of change that, by and large, stems from lack of information”.