Better equipping personnel relevant for delivery of developmental mandate - Mr. Msibi: Page 6 of 9

  1. results on our developmental mandate if we better equip our personnel with the relevant skills and I believe this training course is one of such initiatives.  In fact SME Development Practitioners of DFIs will only effectively serve SMEs if they better understand the needs and characteristics of the sector.

 

  1. In Swaziland SME development is still seen as a vehicle to boost and address some of the economic challenges faced by the country. SMEs vary according to the scale of development, number of employees and nature of ownership. In Swaziland for instance the small scale business sector according to SME Policy employs about 4 to 10 people while micro employs 1 to 3 people but these businesses tend to remain small for prolonged periods and never graduate to become big businesses.

 

  1. A national survey commissioned by the European Union under the Private Sector Support Programme in 2003 to research and provide a comprehensive understanding of the SME Sector in an effort to enhance the quality of decision making on matters related to the sector came up with the following key findings:

        Characteristics of SMEs

  • There were over 70 000 SME businesses employing over 100 000 people.
  • 80% of the businesses are were in the category of micro businesses.
  • About 56% of the SMEs are owned by males whilst 44% is owned by women.
  • 21% of the business are operated and managed by owners and immediate family members.
  • Over 77% of the SMEs received at least secondary education.
  • 82% of total SMEs are involved in retail and services, 11.6% in manufacturing and 7.1% in agriculture.
  • Most SMEs were operating far below breakeven levels but were not aware of that basic fundamental business principle (A key challenge for Credit Appraisal).
  • Most SMEs were primarily involved in business in order to support their families.
  • Most SMEs recorded low turnover figures due to limited mass markets.

 

  1. Other general and common challenges faced by SMEs in Swaziland include the following:

 

  1. Lack of business linkages