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Swaziland’s new CSP focuses on Infrastructure, Inclusive Growth and Governance
Note: the CSP will be published as soon as it is finalised.
The Board of Directors of the African Development Bank Group (AfDB) on Wednesday, February 5 in Tunis approved Swaziland’s Country Strategy Paper (CSP) for 2014-2018, which focuses on promoting economic growth and improving living conditions of the people.
The CSP is built around two pillars: (i) Supporting Infrastructure Development for Sustainable and Inclusive Growth and (ii) Strengthening Governance and Institutional Capacity.
The document underscores the fact that Swaziland’s categorization as a lower middle-income country masks severe social challenges such as pervasive poverty and inequality. It cites the high prevalence of HIV/AIDS and its impact on human development, as well as the sharp decline in revenues from the Southern African Customs Union (SACU) in 2011 as evidence of Swaziland’s economic vulnerabilities.
Under Pillar 1, the strategy seeks to address the shortcomings in the country’s infrastructure with a view to positioning the country as a competitive node for the region. This is expected to help integrate the poor and vulnerable groups of society in the development process by giving them better access to opportunities arising from improved infrastructure and rural development.
Pillar II focuses on Strengthening Governance and Institutional Capacity to enable the country make the necessary fiscal adjustments in response to the sharp decline in SACU revenue. The Bank will support the government’s efforts to curtail budgetary spending, improve public sector performance and the efficiency of resource use in line with the country’s Public Financial Management (PFM) reform program.
Within the context of these two themes, the CSP activities have been grouped into four “results clusters” that take into account cross-sectoral synergies for maximum impact. Specifically, these include supporting the government’s efforts to achieve broad-based sustainable growth through: (i) connecting people and regions to markets by upgrading infrastructure, (ii) creating economic opportunities, (iii) providing clean water, and (iv) enhancing public financial management to ensure efficient public spending. These interventions are meant to (i) build the country’s resilience and thus prevent a repeat of the fiscal crisis that could once again lead to the depletion of official reserves, destabilize the parity of the lilangeni to the rand, undermine private sector confidence in the economy, and compromise government credibility to address development priorities; and (ii) restore external competitiveness.
The Bank’s partnership with Swaziland is based on the intersection of the country’s Poverty Reduction Strategy and Action Plan (PRSAP) and the Bank’s Strategy 2013-2022, which is relevant and responsive to the needs of lower middle-income countries.
The Bank’s current portfolio in Swaziland comprises eight public sector operations, with a total commitment value of US $26.54 million (UA 17.3 million). Agriculture accounts for 80 percent; followed by water and sanitation (8 percent); transport (2 percent) and multi-sector (10 percent).