Mbabane: Despite the coronavirus pandemic that has crippled the global economy and resulted in the stalling of investments elsewhere in other countries, Eswatini has received interest from greenfield investors that are looking at investing E2.6 billion and create 3256 job opportunities.
These in the pipeline investments are being facilitated by the Eswatini Investment Promotion Authority (EIPA), it has been established.
Independent News has reliably learnt from the Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Trade of these quite interesting in the pipeline investments. Minister Manqoba Khumalo disclosed that some of the companies which are keen to invest in the kingdom have local representation and have been able to carry out site inspection and engage with various stakeholders in the country. Khumalo is of the view that for some companies, the outbreak of the coronavirus has opened up new opportunities.
Khumalo told Independent News that the investors are from the following sectors: energy; mining; manufacturing; property development; health and agriculture.
“The estimated total investment is E2.6 billion and estimated jobs to be created is 3 256 during their initial stages and it is expected this number will increase when operating at full capacity,” the minister disclosed. However, he didn’t want to divulge their name because engagements with other stakeholders were still ongoing regarding their planned investments.
If these potential investors will end up investing in the country, they would be following on the footsteps of other eight which were announced by the minister of commerce last year.
Minister Khumalo announced that the eight companies would invest over E1 billion and create over 3 000 job opportunities. Regarding those investors, Khumalo said they are making headways in their investments, adding that they are at different phases. Those companies include but not limited to Clockwork Giant, Avapharm, Kellogs, Johnson Wear, R.M.E Bullion, Taiwan Avocado Company and Air Liquide.
The minister went on to say EIPA monitors the progression of investment interest in Eswatini and they maintain an investment pipeline report, which shows projects from enquiry phase up to implementation phase.
Depending on the type and sector of investment, the migration of projects from one phase to another, varies.
“The aforementioned projects that were announced last year are at different stages of implementation. We have not heard any of the projects pull out due to the current economic environment, instead, some projects have brought forward their implementation date,” he said.
Clockwork Giant announced that it would bring in 850 job opportunities while Avapharm is set to hire about 90 people.
Another company, Jonsson Wear, revealed that it would invest about E100 million, which will create 2 000 jobs. Its Chief Executive Officer, Nick Jonsson, mentioned that he was looking forward to building a successful company in the country, which will focus in the manufacturing and distribution of workwear for export purposes.
Also on the list was Kellogg’s, a company that produces recipes and food items including noodles. The company is set to invest about E180 million, something which will avail about 270 job opportunities.
Gerald Mahinda, MD of Kellogg’s Sub-Saharan Africa, stated that the company already had investments in countries such as Nigeria and Egypt and that it was determined to have a fruitful relationship with Eswatini and the rest of the continent.
He mentioned that he believed that Eswatini was perfect enough for the company to prove that it was not just about producing breakfast products but food as well.
The rest of the companies are R.M.E Bullion, Taiwan Avocado Company and Air Liquide. It was stated that the 3 439 jobs were for those employees who would be taxable while an extra 1 800 will be hired as support staff like drivers and cleaners.
Addressing the gathering by then, the PM said it was encouraging that some of the companies were ones that were already established in the kingdom and had taken the wise decision of expanding their operations.