The European Union (EU) Ambassador to Swaziland, Esmeralda Hernandez Aragones, has announced that the kingdom stands to receive up to €6 million for trade facilitation under the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA).
The diplomat said this sum, which could greatly assist in ensuring the private sector and government maximises on available trade opportunities with the EU under the EPA, will only be released when the country has collated a national strategy.
“The processing of a €6 million cash injection, which could greatly improve Swazi businesses’ access to exporting goods and services to the EU, purely rests on the formulation of an all-encompassing EPA trade facilitation strategy”, Aragones told a media conference in Mbabane late on Tuesday, adding that the country ought to develop the strategy as soon as it feasibly could, to receive the grant which would ultimately enable Swazi businesses to be fully capacitated and well-resourced to take up the business opportunities availed through EPA.
She explained that there were no timelines attached to completion of the required national strategy, which should be fully embraced by the government.
However, she advised that it would be a wise decision to take advantage of the presented opportunity soonest since the funding programme was set for between 2014 and 2020. “After 2020, the opportunity will be lost,” Aragones clarified.
The EU envoy explained that in the past the country had received about $3 million towards trade facilitation under EPA, while under the Southern African Development Community (SADC) EPA, the EU guaranteed Botswana, Lesotho, Mozambique, Namibia and Swaziland 100 per cent free access to the EU single market.
Source: Journal du Cameroun