The deadline for submission of full papers for the Eswatini Economic Conference (EEC) 2019 is this week, June 28.

The Conference is jointly hosted by the Eswatini Economic Policy Analysis and Research Centre (ESEPARC), the Central Bank of Eswatini (CBE), and the University of Eswatini (UNESWA).

In 2017, the three institutions hosted the first-ever national economic conference, which brought together emaSwati to deliberate on the economic challenges and opportunities facing the country. The Eswatini Economic Conference 2019 promises to be bigger and better in advancing knowledge in Eswatini under the theme ‘Knowledge, Innovation, and Development in Eswatini: Current and Future Prospects’.

The aim is to provide a platform for emaSwati to discuss and begin to materialise the knowledge economy Eswatini can become. The two-and-a-half-day Conference to be held on October 23 – 25, 2019 is open to all policymakers, researchers, development practitioners, captains of industry, development partners, and the general public to convene and discuss the challenges and opportunities of knowledge, innovation, and development on the economy.

A tremendous response to a call for papers was received from researchers in the country and the diaspora, who are all keen to provide valuable insights for improved economic policy to better position the country towards the attainment of a first world status by 2022.

EEC 2019 Steering Committee Chairman Dr Thabo Sacolo, who is also Acting Executive Director of ESEPARC, said researchers whose abstracts were accepted are reminded that the deadline for submission of full papers is this Friday (June 28).

Launching the Conference earlier this year, CBE Governor Majozi Sithole noted that a consensus emerging from the inaugural Conference held in 2017 was the importance of getting Eswatini ready for the economic challenges emanating from the global economy by boosting the role 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 would 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.

The governor encouraged all stakeholders to take advantage of this opportunity and 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.

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.

A number of research papers that were presented at the 2017 Conference have been published in an internationally accredited economic journal, the African Review of Economics and Finance Journal, December 2018 issue.

Researchers submitting papers for the 2019 Conference must observe the following key guidelines:

    • Font: Times New Roman, 1.5 spacing
    • Font size: 12
    • Maximum 6 200 words (excluding references)
    • Harvard referencing style
    • Papers must be sent to

The Conference has six key thematic areas:

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

The thematic areas are further broken down as follows: 

Theme Sub-themes/discussion
1.       Knowledge generation and management for structural transformation Innovations in science and technology policy; information and communications technology; innovation; assets, access to finance for women and youth; fintech and financial inclusion; eliminating barriers to R&D and innovation; strategies for promoting technology development and commercialisation; funding research and development; formulation of an R&D agenda for Eswatini.
2.      The role of new technologies in strengthening productive capacities Entrepreneurship and entrepreneurial activities; financial markets and stock exchange; mobile money and financial inclusion; market regulation; funding and protecting innovations; the role of development finance institutions.
3.      Building a competitive industrial base Approaches to economic governance; unique opportunities/value chains for industrialisation in Eswatini; the role of STIs in strengthening the manufacturing sector; operationalising ‘Made in Eswatini’; industrial policy; prioritising Eswatini’s trade agreements and relations; theorising and operationalising Special Economic Zones.
4.      Human capital development and building capacities for the new economy in Eswatini Teaching of science, technology and mathematics; addressing the challenges of certification vs practical experience; creating centres of excellence; the economic impact of ‘brain drain’ in Eswatini; the impact of tertiary students’ strikes on human capital development in Eswatini; innovative strategies for promoting tertiary/industry linkages; industry skills gap analysis; the role of technical and vocational education and training (TVET) in operationalising ‘Made in Eswatini’; transforming education policy to meet the needs of the economy of the future; establishing a ‘brain trust’.


5.      Structural and macroeconomic reforms to boost competitiveness and growth Regulation in the insurance industry; transitioning from customs and excise to a revenue authority; developing and sharing economic datasets; expanding and diversifying the economic base to increase export earnings, hence foreign reserves accumulation; trade facilitation and expanding export markets base; rural budget; efficiency in revenue collection and expenditure control; debt sustainability; other ideas for stimulating growth in Eswatini.
6.      Financial innovation and macroeconomic stability


How financial innovation influences economic growth, price stability, financial stability and financial inclusion; strengthening of financial sector regulation to accommodate financial innovation.