His Majesty, King Mswati III
Minister of Commerce, Industry and Trade,
Representatives of the Government of the Kingdom of Eswatini,
Members of the private sector,
Colleagues and special guests,
All protocols observed.
I am thrilled to be a part of this exciting event to officially inaugurate the Kellogg Tolaram Eswatini Factory. It is important and appropriate to take time to recognize accomplishments. I’m sure we’ll hear more this morning about challenges posed and overcome in the establishment of this factory – during the height of the COVID pandemic. I applaud all who played a role in this success.
We commend Kellogg-Tolaram for the vision to invest in the people and country of Eswatini and for embarking on such an amazing and ambitious project. Kellogg’s is an iconic U.S. brand, one that I and generations of Americans grew up with. Kellogg’s began so many years ago providing breakfast foods to Americans, it is now feeding the globe. A company that has thrived for so long must be doing something right. I’m sure it has to do not only with innovation and meeting the needs of consumers, but also in building a corporate ethos and strong partnerships with employees and communities where they work. The Kellogg-Tolaram factory has already proven to be a positive part of the community here – and has demonstrated the enormous potential of partnering in Eswatini’s growth.
The U.S. government is committed to advancing trade, commercial, and economic opportunities for our mutual benefit. We recognize the role business plays in creating jobs and strengthen our communities. We support U.S. companies through commercial advocacy and by advancing a level playing field for U.S. companies overseas. This is important; U.S. law prohibits a U.S. person or company to offer, pay, or promise money or anything of value to any foreign official for the purpose of obtaining or retaining business. This transparency is a hallmark of U.S. business; we expect U.S. companies to deal above-board. And that has contributed to their long-term success.
The U.S. Government has been a proud partner of the private sector in Eswatini. We have particularly encouraged firms to explore access to the U.S. market through the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA). Exports from Eswatini to the U.S. market have been dominated by sugar, textiles, and garments, but the diversification demonstrated by the opening of the Kellogg-Tolaram manufacturing plant should serve as a model for what is possible.
A diversified economy provides a multiplier effect, including much-needed job creation to the benefit of Eswatini’s citizens and further revitalization of the economy.
Please allow me to reaffirm the U.S. government’s commitment to supporting the Government of the Kingdom of Eswatini in its efforts to achieve the goals in the National Development Strategy (Vision 2022) and The Kingdom of Eswatini Strategic Road Map (2019-2022).
With continued economic investments, Eswatini will advance towards achievement of the National Development Strategy. We also look forward to hearing more details soon on the upcoming national dialogue, a process that will promote healing and stability for the entire country. This is a moment of historic importance in Eswatini.
I am grateful for the Government of Eswatini’s efforts, along with private and civil society partners, to embrace and encourage direct foreign investment. I look forward to participating in future ceremonies like the one today.
In closing, I would like to ask everyone to follow the science regarding COVID, and vaccinate to protect yourself and others. To keep business open and commerce flowing, we must together do what we can to end this pandemic!
Thank you, siyabonga.