Researchers in Eswatini and the diaspora are once again invited to submit papers that will provide valuable insights for improved economic policy making and better position the country towards the attainment of a first world status by 2022.

The research papers will be presented at the second Eswatini Economic Conference to be hosted by the Eswatini Economic Policy Analysis and Research Centre (ESEPARC) in collaboration with the Central Bank of Eswatini (CBE) and the University of Eswatini (UNESWA) on October 23 – 25, 2019.

The theme for this year’s conference is ‘Knowledge, Innovation, and Development in Eswatini: Current and Future Prospects’. Launching the conference on Thursday (February 15), CBE Governor Majozi Sithole said a consensus emerging from the inaugural conference held in 2017 was the importance of getting the Kingdom ready for the economic challenges emanating from the global economy as well as those from the region by boosting the roles of innovation and knowledge generation and management in its development.

“As it is well known, the global economy has entered the fourth industrial revolution in which technology is positioned to disrupt the way we live, produce goods and services, and relate to one another as individuals, countries, and global economies. To thrive in the fourth industrial revolution, countries must not only embrace science, technology, and innovation but also other aspects of the knowledge economy,” he said.

The governor noted that the extent to which a country masters knowledge and innovation in the fourth industrial revolution will determine its pace of social development and economic growth. He said knowledge and innovation present many avenues for unlocking opportunities for younger generations for many years to come.

“There is little doubt that knowledge and innovation will be key ingredients in preparing Eswatini for the economy of the future. Evidence suggests that countries that prioritised science and technology are ripping the largest rewards. Information and communication technologies (ICTs) have since made it possible for policymakers to expand their policy toolkits and to go beyond the known basket of policy strategies used to stimulate local economic development,” he added.

“It thus gives us great pleasure to announce the launch of the second Eswatini Economic Conference that will be held on 23-25 October 2019 at the Royal Swazi Spa (Convention Centre) in Ezulwini. The aim of this conference is to bring together economic policymakers, researchers, development practitioners, captains of industries, development partners, and other Emaswati stakeholders to discuss under the theme Knowledge, Innovation, and Development in Eswatini: Current and Future Prospects’.”

The main theme is further broken down to six key thematic areas:

  1. Knowledge generation and management for structural transformation;
  2. The role of new technologies in strengthening productive capacities;
  3. Building a competitive industrial base;
  4. Human capital development and building capacities for the new economy in Eswatini;
  5. Structural and macroeconomic reforms to boost competitiveness and growth;
  6. The role of financial innovation on macroeconomic and financial stability.

“Once again, we wish  to encourage all stakeholders to take advantage of this opportunity as we endeavour to provide valuable insights for improved economic policy making and better positioning towards the attainment of a first world status by 2022,” Sithole said.

“We also wish to encourage all stakeholders and invited guests to attend the conference in order to come out with a clear understanding of the dynamics at play and how they can best prepare themselves for the threats and opportunities as the global economy enters the fourth industrial revolution in terms of technological innovations.”

ESEPARC Executive Director Dr Thula Sizwe Dlamini invited researchers to start preparing papers for the conference. He said the aim was to get a better understanding on how Eswatini can get ready for the economy of the future.

“Since the last conference, a sizeable number of research papers that were presented have been published in an internationally accredited economic journal, which is also a significant contribution to development at the international level,” added Dr Dlamini.

CBE General Manager Research Sikhumbuzo Dlamini said the conference is about generating knowledge that will inform policy. He noted that the last conference came up with policy recommendations that were shared with the then Cabinet through former Prime Minister Sibusiso Barnabas Dlamini.

“We do believe that some of these recommendations have been taken into consideration by the government. We want to generate so much knowledge to gain traction so that we are not left behind, and indeed, we have seen some progress in terms of generating that traction for dialogue in the country,” he said.