Friday, October 22, 2010


Think of a number that sounds impressive and let’s call that the number of new jobs that can be created in the private sector in the Swaziland economy before 2015.

That seems to be the approach of the Swazi Government, if the latest information trickling out about its recent visit to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) is anything to go by.

The Government in its grandly titled ‘Fiscal Adjustment Roadmap (FAR)’ says there will be between 25,000 – 30,000 new jobs created in the private sector (to put this in context, there are about 35,000 employed by government at present). It looks to me like this is another round of my Fantasy Watch game.

Why is it a fantasy? Because new information, recently released by the World Bank shows that Swaziland is ranked 115 out of 183 countries in the world in an ‘Ease of Doing Business’ survey. And it has slipped down one place since last year.

The 115 position is an overall ranking but Swaziland does even worse in individual categories.

The report called Doing Business 2010 Swaziland ranks Swaziland 180 out of 183 countries for ‘protecting investors’. A major concern here is that public assets are used for private gain (that’s called ‘corruption’ in plain English).

Swaziland is at 158 in three categories: ‘starting a business’, ‘registering property’ and ‘trading across borders’. It is at 130 for ‘enforcing contracts’.

The reports states it requires 13 procedures and takes 61 days to start a business in Swaziland. If, for example, you want to build warehouses, that requires 13 procedures and takes 93 days.

So just who are the businesses that are going to set up and create the jobs?

The Swaziland Government in its submission to the IMF blames the ‘realignment’ of global and regional economies for the financial mess it has made of the kingdom.

But it also recognises that it needs to reform and ‘improve the investment climate and business environment by removing as many binding constraints as possible’.

And those ‘reforms’ will bring 30,000 new jobs by 2015? We’ve written that in our diaries guys and we’ll be watching to make sure you make good on your promise.

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