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MALKERNS - His Majesty  King Mswati III yesterday cut the sod for three transformational projects, worth over E12 billion and are expected to create over 10 000 job opportunities.

This took place yesterday in Manzini and the three investment groups are; African Alliance Group, Nthoese Developments from South Africa and EMI Gate Holdings, which comes from the Arab United  Emirates (AUE). The King, who also officially opened two projects under the African Alliance Group; Matsapha Link, which is estimated to be worth E159 million and Malkerns Square, which is valued at E149 million, started his busy day at the Old Trade Fair premises in Manzini, where he met leaders of Nthoese Developments, who are set to construct a E2 billion state-of-the-art Manzini Mall and EMI Gate Holdings, which will build projects.

Nthoese Developments gave a presentation to the King about its project – Manzini Mall and said it would have a shopping mall, parking, transport loading area and a bridge, among other things.Thereafter, in its presentation, EMI Gate Holdings said it would construct five projects; His Majesty King Mswati III Bazaar, His Majesty King Mswati III School (Grades 1 to 12 for 1 500 pupils) and His Majesty King Mswati III Hospital that would have about 10 ambulances which would be stationed in the different regions of Eswatini.

After their presentations, His Majesty, together with Nthoese Developments Founder and Managing Director (MD) Seabelo Herbert Theledi and the President of EMI Gate Holdings, Princess Fatima Alkaabi performed the sod cutting ceremony. Nthoese Developments founder and MD said through the project, they would create about 4 000 job opportunities, for emaSwati and 1 400 of them would be permanent, while the 2 600 would be created during the construction phases.


“This means that through the project, we will touch lives of about 40 000 emaSwati because generally a salary of a person benefits about 10 people,” the MD said. Again, he said they believe that they would play a major role in undermining the alarming rate of unemployment in the country (which stand at about 33.3 per cent), inequality and poverty. He promised the King he would be invited to officially open the Manzini Mall in October 2025, as they target to complete it around that time.

On the other hand, the EMI Gate Holdings president said as they would embark on five projects, about 3 000 employment opportunities would be created. It was highlighted that the organisation was convinced by His Majesty to come and invest in the country, during one of his official visit to the AUE in 2022. After that, the King proceeded to Manzini Golf Course, where he was welcomed by leaders of African Alliance Group, who will soon construct an about E4 billion Manzini Arch.


This project will include diversified portfolio of service centres, a world class hotel, public service centre, apartments, state-of-the-art shopping experience and a park, with all the amenities, among other things.  It was gathered that upon its completion, this project would create about 2 500 permanent jobs, while others would be created during the construction phase. African Alliance Group’s Tony de Castro said they wanted to increase this investment to about E10 billion within the next seven years. He said as they increased the investment, they would look at other projects in Manzini, Matsapha and Malkerns. Thereafter, the King together with Castro did the sod-cutting ceremony and proceeded to Matsapha Link, where he toured the various stores, before officially opening the shopping centre. Later on, he went to Malkerns Square, where he also toured and officially opened the residential centre.

When addressing the attendees, the King said they were pleased to have been invited by African Alliance Group and the Select Group of companies to launch various development projects, including other investors; Nthoese Development and EMI Gate Development. He said these massive investments were encouraging because they would create job opportunities for emaSwati, especially the youth, while contributing to the landscape of the country. He said the African Alliance Group projects were part of government’s COVID-19 Economic Recovery Plan. He said the COVID-19 pandemic was a huge setback to the business community because their development plans were affected and delayed.


However, he said when they sawsuch projects; they were encouraged because it would contribute handsomely to the country’s economic development drive. He said at the Manzini Arch, they were informed that the estimated cost for the project was about E4 billion and many emaSwati would be employed.While making his remarks, the King said he was intrigued after learning about the history of African Alliance Group, as an investment bank group that was established in 1992 by Tony de Castro.  He said it was a great achievement to have a presence in over 20 countries in Africa that include Botswana, Lesotho, Kenya and Uganda, to mention a few. He said in some of these countries it provides investment banking and a select micro-finance housing nature. Again, the King said it was pleasing to note that all the development for African Alliance started in the Kingdom of Eswatini and spread its wings to other parts of the African continent.

“We are, therefore, proud that the Kingdom has contributed immensely to its growth,” the king said. Furthermore, he said as the nation was aware, African Alliance was the first institution to introduce unit trusts in the country. He said this provided a platform for every liSwati to have access to bonds and equity markets with very minimal entry amounts. The King further said this inclusive vision in investment was indeed a noble idea as they did not want to leave anyone behind in terms of investment opportunities. He added that the company proceeded to be the first investment bank institution to launch offshore funds.“This meant that every liSwati at the time, with a mere E200, could access offshore markets and have the desired diversity in the investment portfolio,” the king said.


On top of that, he said African Alliance was also the majority shareholder of the Select Group of companies, which was established to cater for short-term loans for emaSwati. He said the first branch of Select was established in 1999 and it was the first micro finance house in Eswatini before it spread its wings to other parts of the African continent. He added that as a country, they were happy to learn that new products were being developed for the Select clients for more opportunities in the long-term.