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MANZINI – Co-operatives in the country have mobilised members’ savings and deposits in excess of E1 818 605 280 and asset base of E2 519 565 514 and a loan portfolio of E1 329 407 301.  

This was revealed by the Minister of Commerce, Industry and Trade, Manqoba Khumalo, during the 2023 Cooperatives Day Celebration held at Mavuso Sports Centre yesterday. Khumalo stated that the growth of the co-operative sector continually showed significant results especially in the socio-economic growth spheres. He said the co-operative movement had registered over 1 200 cooperatives and boasts of a membership of over 90 000 people.


Khumalo mentioned that in addition to their invaluable contribution to individual prosperity and to the national economy, co-operatives in the country have played an integral role in fostering national unity and cohesion. He said the co-operative sector was a towering example of what could be achieved through unity, coming together for the common good, hard work, entrepreneurship, sacrifice and unyielding commitment to positive goals.  
He highlighted that the establishment of the National Cooperatives Federation of Eswatini (NCFE), which was working closely with the ministry of commerce, industry and trade under the co-operatives development department has yielded better results for the co-operatives sector.

The minister stated that both entities were working tirelessly towards creating job opportunities and in improving the lives of the citizens, hence government decided to put the cooperatives sector at the very heart of the economic recovery strategy. He said this was done by the ministry, having realised that the sector was indeed a reliable development partner in fostering economic, social and cultural progress. He said this was envisaged by the employment, which have since been created by co-operatives and by co-operative members in their various businesses in the country. He mentioned that this had contributed to the country’s economic development immensely and co-operatives in the country had created employment for quite a number of emaSwati.


The minister noted that such initiatives enhance and improve the lives of the country’s inhabitants as co-operatives’ employees were able to  support their families and make a significant contribution to the other Sustainable Development Goals (SDG)  such as goal one, (end poverty), goal two (end hunger) and goal four (provide quality  education for all) just to name a few. Khumalo further appreciated the support offered by the German Cooperative and Raiffeisen Confederation (DGRV) to the local co-operatives’ federation.

He mentioned that a lot has been achieved by the sector through the humongous support, which was being extended to the members of the primary cooperatives through the trainings and programmes that are offered by the federation (DGRV). He said as a ministry, they were hopeful that by the end of the three years of support offered by the DGRV office, a renewal of another term shall be possible in an attempt to support the federation in continually extending the training and education programmes to the primary co-operatives members in the different communities. “Therefore, I would like to convey my sincere thanks to DGRV for their unwavering support extended to the development of the co-operative movement in the kingdom of Eswatini,” said Khumalo.   

The minister of commence industry and trade, Manqoba Khumalo, says his ministry entered into  partnership with the republic of China on Taiwan.
He said the  partnership is for implementing a capacity building project for micro-finance, focusing on grassroots women in Eswatini, #khutsalamfati.  He said the Taiwan ICDF would be embarking on phase two of the capacity building project for micro-finance in an attempt to capacitate grassroots women entrepreneurs, especially in the rural areas on aspects of managing finances in a co-operative. I wish to extend my heartfelt gratitude to the ambassador of China on Taiwan for the continuous support and long standing relationship Taiwan has with Eswatini.  

He further appreciated the Central Bank of Eswatini and the Centre for Financial Inclusion for the continuous support on the codas tool. He said the system came handy in the provision of accurate reports for informed decision making in the country and across the globe.
The minister urged all cooperatives to support codas by providing the necessary data on time.