By NONDUDUZO KUNENE | 2020-06-25
HIS Majesty King Mswati III has appealed to Commonwealth partners to support the country’s post COVID-19 recovery strategy.
His Majesty the King was represented by Prime Minister Ambrose Mandvulo Dlamini during the Commonwealth leaders’ virtual meeting on COVID-19 that was held yesterday.
The meeting was joined by the 54 Commonwealth countries. During the meeting, leaders shared solutions in challenging times to combat the virus and its spiralling impact on the economy, sovereign debt and climate change.
Leaders also explored and exchange workable solutions on: Technology and experiences that have helped in combating COVID-19 and enhancing good governance; Trade and finance; and Climate Change.
In his presentation, the King pleaded with the partners to help the private sector create income and employment opportunities for the country’s citizens.
He further appreciated the support the country has received from development partners and the friends of the kingdom, including the business community.
“As a country, we encourage the spirit of working together to find common solutions.
In unity we will be able to put this pandemic behind us and help reignite our economies to create wealth and prosperity for all our people and future generations,” he said.
The King also highlighted on the importance of the Commonwealth to stand in solidarity in such times, to share ideas and experiences and to outline commitment to a strong Commonwealth and a sustainable future for the prosperity of citizens.
His Majesty also outlined the steps that were taken by the country to combat COVID-19. He said the Kingdom of Eswatini has had to tackle COVID-19 at a time when it had made notable strides in fighting HIV, Malaria and TB.
The King said it was at a time when the economy was showing all signs of strengthening to set the country on a path of sustained economic growth and development.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the King said the country had to realign its national budget to put the focus on addressing all the health and social challenges linked to the advent of the pandemic.
“All our efforts have been targeted at tracing, testing, isolating and treating all positive cases in order to flatten the curve and save lives and livelihoods,” he said.
The King mentioned that the introduction of a partial lockdown in March enabled the country’s health system to strengthen through a number of intervention programmes.
He said these programmes included intensive recruitment and training of health workers, increasing the number of beds and procuring appropriate PPE and equipment for COVID-19 patients and health workers.
The country also established social welfare programmes to help citizens who have been laid off due to the closure of businesses at the time of the partial lockdown, to help SMEs and informal traders who have lost business and, more importantly to provide food for some citizens who have become food insecure owing to the pandemic.
This unexpected disruption, the King said had negatively impacted on the economy and the country has begun the process of formulating new strategies to revive the economy.
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