MANZINI – His Majesty King Mswati III has cautioned MSMEs to shun engaging in illegal practices and corruption in a quest to reach the E1 billion revenue turnover.

His Majesty was speaking during the 17th edition of the Entrepreneur of the Year Awards (EYA) on Friday night.

The King said he was looking forward to the day, when a liSwati Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) would make their first E1 billion through legitimate business.

The King noted that currently, there were approximately 59 000 MSMEs generating a monthly turnover of E92.5 million. He said this underscored the need to pay particular attention to this sector to ensure that it continued to contribute to employment and the economy.

He noted that the country’s MSMEs sector played a vital role in developing the economy, and it had great growth potential. He stated that the sector employed approximately 92 000 emaSwati, which represented 21 percent of the country’s workforce.

“Furthermore, this sector is playing an active role in wealth creation, reducing poverty and generally improving the livelihoods of Eswatini,” he said.

The King said the MSMEs needed to grow and reach to the point where they made at least over E1 billion turnover and then there be a competition for those businesses that have attained that milestone.

His Majesty said amassing E1 billion was an achievable dream, however, he was discouraging MSMEs from engaging in illegal practices and corruption in a quest to reach this milestone. He said if some businesspeople internationally were able to turn around their fortunes during COVID-19, it was also possible for emaSwati to achieve the same.


The King said he was pleased that the government realized the importance of this sector and established various measures to mitigate the negative impact of the health crisis on smallscale businesses in Eswatini.

He said this included the rollout of the E45 million MSMEs Revolving Relief Fund in order to support formal and informal MSMEs that were affected by COVID-19.

“We have been informed that the fund has assisted over 2 940 businesses, with a total of about E51 million having been disbursed since its launch in 2021,” said the King.

He mentioned that as the government puts measures in place to work toward economic recovery, entrepreneurship must be at the center of public discourse as one of the key opportunities to solve the country’s most pressing economic and social challenges.

He also mentioned that with youth unemployment currently standing at 58 percent, there was a need to take action and make youth entrepreneurship a priority in the development goals of the country. He said this required everyone to develop programmes that would foster youth entrepreneurship by providing requisite entrepreneurial training and mentorship, incubation centres, and financial assistance to young entrepreneurs.

“We are happy to note that women-owned enterprises in the country are growing at a faster rate than ever.

However, it is true that the economic potential of female entrepreneurs remains partly untapped and measures are required to promote female entrepreneurship through life-long entrepreneurial learning and easy access to finance for starting and growing their businesses,” said His Majesty.

He added that it was pleasing to learn that some of the past winners of the competition had expanded their operations beyond borders. He said let this be a challenge for all the winners going forward.

“We must fly our flag high and let the goods and services we export uplift the Eswatini brand to a level where it becomes synonymous with excellence and quality,” said the King.