‘Countries That Invest More in Research Are Leaders in Global Trade and Have Higher Economic Growth Rates’

By Phiwa Sikhondze

The Central Bank of Eswatini Governor (CBE) Dr. Phil Mnisi has urged Eswatini to invest more in research in order to diversify export commodities & and reduce vulnerability to external shocks.

He disclosed this during the second Annual Conference for the Kingdom of Eswatini Academy of Sciences. The conference, which had the theme Conversations about Science for Society and Development, brought together scientists, researchers, policymakers, industry leaders, and other stakeholders to discuss the role of science in addressing the challenges and opportunities facing Eswatini.

Dr. Mnisi highlighted the importance of research in informing policy decisions, fostering innovation, and enhancing competitiveness in various sectors of the economy.

He said that research helps organizations make data-driven, evidence-based policy decisions that support economic growth and job creation.

Mnisi explained that research is at the core of the CBE as it strives to reach an optimal balance between price and financial stability for the Eswatini economy.

He noted that “research enables the Bank to produce data-driven, evidence-based policy decisions” that are conducive to economic activity and growth.

He also emphasized how research fosters innovation and competitiveness in the financial sector, especially in the era of the fourth industrial revolution. Mnisi cited fintech as an example of how research can improve efficiency, reduce transaction costs, and increase access to financial services.

He added that “investing in fintech research would also position Eswatini as a hub for fintech innovation and attract local and international investments hence creating jobs.”

The Governor urged Eswatini to invest more in research and development in order to diversify its export commodities and reduce its vulnerability to external shocks.

He said that “research can help countries improve their trade position with the rest of the world by fostering product differentiation, reducing production costs, and lowering transaction costs.

He made reference to the World Bank report that showed that the top 10 countries with the highest level of research spending as a share of GDP for the period 2013 to 2020 were Israel (5%), South Korea (4%), Japan (3%), Austria (3%), Finland (3%), Germany (3%), United States (3%), Denmark (3%), Switzerland (3%), and Belgium (3%).

He said that these statistics were evidence of the level of economic development these countries were performing at a global level.

The Governor concluded his speech by stating that research is a highly creative activity that produces new products, creates new jobs and new industries, cuts costs of production, and makes a large contribution to our economic growth and our overall national welfare.

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