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Swaziland: Provident fund head calls for fair trade with US

Published date:
Tuesday, 20 January 2009

Chief Executive Officer of Swaziland National Provident Fund Prince Lonkhokhela says he hopes that under the leadership of President Barack Obama there will be the promotion of fair trade to the continent, particularly the southern African region.

He hoped that the United States of America will open up more of its markets for goods from the continent and that the purchase price will be mutually agreed and beneficial to the people of the two places.

Prince Lonkhokhela said whilst he recognises the fact that Obama will have his own challenges and his own constituency to deliver to, he was optimistic that under his leadership Africa will shed the tag of being a pricetaker – but be fully involved in determining that price.

“We should not expect the world from him. He is also human and he will also make some mistakes,” he said.

Prince Lonkhokhela acknowledged that President George Bush, despite his weaknesses, did a lot for Africa in the form of aid, money to tackle HIV and AIDS and in AGOA.

He said it was his fervent hope that Obama will do much more.

“Obama needs Africa and Africa needs Obama. Today we talk of the five Asian tigers and their economic prowess. That came about because they were given fair trade. As Africa, we do not need handouts because that is what destroys local production. These handouts are killing us,” he said.

Prince Lonkhokhela urged African leaders to be equal to the task and push the African agenda in meetings with President Obama and representatives of his Administration.

“We congratulate Obama and the people of the United States of America for having chosen him to lead that country. We hope the United States of America will regain its dignity which took a serious knock under President George W. Bush’s Administration. We expect that the American people will once again get the full respect of the people of the world and be reaccepted as brothers and sisters of the nations of the world. We are hopeful that the United States of America will take its rightful place in world affairs,” he said.

Prince Lonkhokhela said what Obama achieved was achieved on merit, excellence, perseverance and communication with the masses.

“ Obama is magical himself and presidential just like Nelson Mandela. Everyone can relate to him, be they white, black, yellow or brown. We salute the seeds sown by illustrious leaders like Boutros Boutros Ghali, Kofi Annan, Nelson Mandela and Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf.

“They paved the way for Obama and they lent credence to the fact that any person can be a leader, not just of a country but the world. Obama has been quite an illustrious Statesman in his own right,” he said.

Prince Lonkhokhela said he was confident and was sure he will get a second term.

“We hope he will bring back morality, peace and respect for sovereignty of States and humanity. We hope the young Americans who die senselessly in the war in Iraq will be brought back home. I hope that under Obama’s leadership, the Iraqis will be able to rule themselves.

Obama needs to take pilgrimage to every country and preach the gospel of peace and reconciliation, respect and also apologise on behalf of all the American people for all the wrongs that have been done,” he said. Prince Lonkhokhela added that under President Obama, Swaziland and the African continent expect a ‘New World Order’. “We are all his friends and friends of the United States of America. Obama needs to develop that by in turn respecting us as equals even though we may not have the heavy guns and nuclear weapons that he has,” Prince Lonkhokhela said.

He added that African leaders can learn a lot from Obama.

“All of us can learn that to achieve greatness you must embrace perfection, excellence and hardwork in all that we do. Obama had humble beginnings. I can identify with him and I am so happy for him,” he said.

“ Latest AGOA Trade Data currently available on

Click here to view a sector profile of Swaziland's bilateral trade with the United States, disaggregated by total exports and imports, AGOA exports and GSP exports.

Other regularly updated trade statistics on include: (click each link to view)

  • AGOA-Beneficiary Countries’ AGOA and GSP Trade Aggregates

  • AGOA Trade by Industry Sector

  • Apparel Trade under AGOA’s Wearing Apparel Provisions

  • Latest Apparel Quotas under AGOA

  • Bilateral Trade Data for all AGOA-eligible countries individually.

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