Swaziland spreads its wings with major projects

Posted On Wednesday, 01 December 2004 02:00 Published by eProp Commercial Property News
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Swaziland's government is wooing foreign investors with a host of property development initiatives it hopes will make the kingdom an attractive place in which to conduct business.

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The Swazi government last week officially opened the first of four major projects it has initiated in Manzini.

The first completed development is the Mavuso exhibition and trade centre.

Ephraim Mandla Hlophe, permanent secretary in the country's economic planning and development ministry, says the centre is part of a 25-year plan.

The professional team behind the centre was DAB, a consortium of South African and Swazi consultants. The contractors were S&B Construction from SA with Swazi partners Juluka Construction and Roots Construction.

Hlophe says another part of the plan is to develop a Fifa-standard 30000-seater soccer stadium. It is hoped that construction of the stadium will begin in 200506 and will be completed by 2007.

"We are positioning ourselves to attract some of the 2010 practice games for the world cup to be held in SA," says Hlophe.

He says the stadium is a facility the country needs and will be Swaziland's largest soccer stadium at an estimated cost of about R180m. This will be funded by the government.

A third phase in the development roll-out will be an amusement park that will be privately funded and, possibly, privately operated. Hlophe says this development will be open to investors from other countries who are interested.

A multipurpose sports complex is also planned for Manzini.

The Swazi government has also been busy on the industrial property front.

"We're building factories and asking foreign investors to come (and invest in Swaziland)," says Hlophe. Twenty-two factories have been built since 1999, and most are occupied.

He says they are also relocating the country's airport as Matsapa International Airport is a small facility that caters only for standard 727 aircraft.

"It (Matsapa) is not expandable because of its location. It's near the mountains and the industrial site," says Hlophe.

The new airport will be built on a site called Sikhupe. It will have a 3,6km-long runway and will be able to accommodate a 747 and even the new Airbus 380.

The runway is almost finished and work will begin on the new airport terminal in the 2005-06 financial year.

The runway and terminal building will cost about R550m. "We are negotiating with various banks and countries for funding for this," says Hlophe.

He says any expansion of the airport will be determined by how much air traffic comes through.

Swaziland Prime Minister Absolom Dlamini says that the country wants to ensure that investors can produce commodities unhindered.

He says another aim is to have more conferences, exhibitions and meetings in Swaziland.

Last modified on Thursday, 17 April 2014 12:58

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