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November 20, 2008

Commercial farming irrigation project being studied in Swaziland

A feasibility study on the prospects of establishing a large scale, commercial farming irrigation scheme at Lavumisa will soon be conducted.

This follows the official signing of a E3.5m grant by the Arab Bank for Economic Development in Africa (BADEA) to the country. The grant was awarded to Swaziland on Novmber 7 following a number of consultative meetings held between BADEA’s director general Abdelaziz Khelef and different ministers after his arrival. Khelef’s visit follows an invitation made by His Majesty King Mswati III to the bank to visit the country.

Minister of Finance Majozi Sithole said the feasibility study would establish amongst other things whether Lavumisa does have enough water to be used for commercial purposes in the first place.

Sithole said after the study had been completed, government would later explore the prospects of funding such an initiative, should it be discovered to be initiative. In this regard, he said implementation of this project would also depend to a large extent the availability of funds.

“We are all well aware of the fact that the Lavumisa area is one of the hardest hit by drought, and it goes without saying that the people there are in dire need for water resources both for commercial and subsistence use,” he said.

BADEA has been instrumental in leveraging cooperation with other Arab financial institutions such as OPEC and the Kuwait Fund for the country. The bank has also financed technical assistance grants to finance training courses officers in the field of administration development for some cadres in the ministries and government institutions. This financing also included training and was to the tune of U$ 130 000.

The bank’s financing in this division amounts to about E60m. Swaziland has had a long and beneficial relationship with BADEA, which has especially contributed to the infrastructural development of the economy. The bank has also been instrumental in leveraging cooperation with other Arab financial institutions such as OPEC and the Kuwait Fund. Khelef is expected to visit the Lower Usuthu Irrigation Programme (LUSIP) today, a project co- financed by the bank.

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