Eswatini Is The Fastest Growing Economy In The SADC Region

By Ntokozo Nkambule

The Post-COVID-19 Economic Recovery Report 2023 has revealed that the Eswatini economy has had the best average Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in the Southern African Development Community (SADC) region.

The report compiled and prepared by the Eswatini Economic Policy Analysis and Research Centre (ESEPARC) notes that the Kingdom’s GDP grew by an average of 2.8% in 2020 and 2021 respectively.

Worth noting is that the country’s economy grew by a staggering 7.4% in 2021, while Botswana’s economy grew by 11.4%, the highest in the region. Eswatini’s economy however is number one in terms of average gowth over the 2020 and 2021 period.

The growth has been attributed to three main sectors namely; manufacturing, retail, and agriculture. Most importantly, however, the growth boils down to the government’s intervention and proactiveness following the COVID-19 pandemic.

“It was anticipated that the advent of COVID-19 would potentially add another dimension to the slow growth and fiscal crisis. The GDP growth was anticipated to fall by 6.7% because of the lockdown and disruptions in economic activity. The government was, however, proactive, taking a quick, precise, and different approach, thus putting together what became known as the Post-COVID-19 Economic Recovery plan in 2020”.

The Economic Recovery Report observes that the proactivity by the government sought to reverse and avert the further decline in economic activity by creating jobs and restoring the economy to higher production and productivity levels.

According to the report, the post-COVID-19 Economic Recovery Plan Goals by the government entailed transforming the Eswatini economy into a private sector-led economy, resuscitation struggling MSMEs through the settlement of arrears by the government, and participation in projects.

Furthermore, other goals were to stimulate growth through high-impact investment projects, ensure an inclusive economy by improving incentives for marginalized groups and MSMEs, and finally, remove barriers that government red tape imposes on investments.

The second country with the biggest growth rate in the two-year average GDP growth between 2020 & 2021 is Malawi which averaged 1.8% followed by Botswana at 1.3%.

The country’s biggest trading partner South Africa currently sits at number seven in the region with a GDP growth rate of -0.8%. The country with the least growth rate surprisingly is Mauritius at -5.4%.

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