Although it is estimated that Micro Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) in Eswatini have the potential to provide employment opportunities to more than 65% of the workforce and contribute over 50% of GDP, this potential remains unfulfilled.
An inclusive financing model for MSMEs has been developed with technical assistance from the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) to alleviate a key constraint for MSMEs – that of access to finance.
At present, the MSME sector employs approximately 92 000 people, representing about 21% of the workforce. Furthermore, the MSME landscape in the country is highly skewed towards the informal sector, with an estimated 75% operating without a business licence, thus facing important constraints to growth as many are unable to produce some of the basic financial documentation required by banks.
Olayinka Bandele, chief, inclusive industrialisation section, ECA sub-regional office for southern Africa, said: “MSMEs are cornerstones of inclusive and sustainable development, with the potential to significantly accelerate industrialisation and support high-value-addition activities. They have an immense potential to promote domestic-led growth in nascent and established industries, to strengthen the resilience of the economy in a challenging environment, and to contribute considerably more to employment and poverty reduction.”