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MBABANE – One of the challenges hindering MSMEs from acquiring financial assistance is the fact that they use personal accounts for their businesses.

A FinScope Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises (MSME) survey was conducted by the Centre for Financial Inclusion (CFI), and it revealed that there were approximately 60 000 MSMEs in Eswatini. At least 69 per cent of the MSMEs were discovered to be financially included; 86 per cent use personal accounts to run businesses and only 14 per cent use business accounts to run businesses.


MSMEs employ about 92 643 people, generating a monthly turnover of E92.5 million within the MSME sector only, and over 75 per cent are at the micro level. A majority of the MSMEs were found to be at the micro level, and a majority of them did not have business accounts but used personal accounts to run their small enterprises, which in turn affected the need to have concise measures to address their needs. The CFI chief executive officer (CEO), Nomcebo Hadebe, said MSMEs were imperative to the economy of Eswatini as they contribute to the gross domestic product (GDP).

“The contribution the sector makes to our national GDP is significant, and we can make it even more; some countries have recorded over 50 per cent contributions to GDP. It is key that we dedicate efforts as a country towards making this sector stronger and more resilient,” she added. The CEO mentioned that the World Bank Global Financial Development Report acknowledges the important role financial inclusion plays in facilitating development, especially at the bottom of the pyramid and for the MSME sector in developing countries.

“There is enough evidence that MSMEs that are financially included are better positioned to have their small enterprises expand and become bigger businesses in the future. The small enterprise’s history and management of the business bank account come into play when the small business desires to get credit from the financial institution,” she said. Meanwhile, MSMEs would now be included in every step of the industrialization process and drive towards sustainable development. Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) can now trade their goods under the AfCFTA market, to which they had no access before.


This was mentioned by the Minister of Commerce, Industry and Trade, Manqoba Khumalo, who said MSMEs were the champions in the manufacturing sector and are equal contributors to the economy. Khumalo was speaking at the Import Substitution Industrialization (ISI): Considering ISI and Export-Oriented Industrialisation (EOI) to Accelerate Intra-Africa Trade and the Expansion of Regional Value Chains seminar. The Minister said this was the time for Eswatini to take advantage of the African Continental Free Trade Area Agreement (AfCFTA), which, if successfully implemented, was projected to boost the manufacturing sector with an annual output of about US$1 trillion by 2025 and create over 14 million jobs.

“The AfCFTA Agreement indeed provides opportunities to diversify exports and export markets, increase earnings from traditional and non-traditional exports, improve competitiveness, link other sectors like agriculture in the country, and deepen regional value chains,” he added. Khumalo said Eswatini, was forging towards becoming a well-diversified country, presently spread across agriculture, manufacturing, and mining.

He said COVID-19 had an impact on the economy of the country, he said the economy contracted by about 3.2 per cent in 2020 after growing by 2.2 per cent in 2019. The manufacturing sector was equally affected, with export-oriented industries’ activities disrupted. Worth noting is that the manufacturing sector accounts for 37 per cent of the gross domestic product (GDP). “Textiles and sugar are our major exports, and some of our major partners include South Africa, the United States (under the African Growth and Opportunity Act) and the EU.”


“Through leveraging our partnerships, available trade agreements and a focused approach to economic diversification, we have experienced growth and an inflow of foreign direct investment,” he alluded. The minister mentioned that Eswatini ratified the AfCFTA agreement and was in the process of formulating its national AfCFTA implementation strategy, with ECA’s technical support. He said Eswatini benefited from the technical support on developing a financing model for MSMEs to serve the growth of MSMEs in the country. Khumalo also mentioned that manufacturing was the key engine that would drive the industrialisation process and, thus, structural transformation. He said this would entail infrastructure with new technologies and building skills capacity.