Africa-Press – Eswatini. STANDARD Bank Eswatini in partnership with Royal Eswatini Sugar Corporation has donated two market shelter stalls worth E158 000 to Mafucula and Nduma vendors in Simunye.

The shelters, according to the two entities, will benefit small businesswomen who previously conducted their trade in open areas, exposing them to harsh weather conditions and compromising the quality of their perishable wares.

The shelter stalls will benefit 30 small businesswomen, 15 at each site. At Mafucula, the donation will improve previously deplorable conditions for the women. At Nduma it will create new opportunities for business for the 15 recipients who previously had nowhere to operate.

Present during the donation event was the Managing Director of RES Corporation, Nick Jackson, who said the company would continue supporting businesses in rural communities to promote self-sustainability among community members. He added that it remained RES’ determination to equip surrounding communities with the right economic tools.

Standard Bank Chief Executive Mvuselelo Fakudze applauded the women in the two communities for taking up the initiative to run their own businesses. He said the structures would help improve the way women did business in the area.

“We understand the importance of partnering towards the development of communities within our footprint and we remain grateful to RES for their efforts in identifying the needs within the Lubombo region. “We also believe that part of our mandate as a bank is to facilitate economic growth in the Kingdom,” said Fakudze.

“This partnership and other efforts made by the Royal Eswatini Sugar are aimed at encouraging the adoption of entrepreneurship in an effort to continue contributing towards the growth of the economy of Eswatini and ensuring there are suitable facilities to conduct business,” he added. Fakudze further encouraged the women to grow their businesses by signing up for UNAYO, a fin-tech service from Standard Bank.

He advised them to embrace ICT as businesswomen to ensure safety of their money and ease of doing business. As a way of empowering the local community members, the tender for the construction of the market stalls was awarded to local contractors, something that was warmly welcomed by the community.

This is the third time Standard Bank partners with RES Corporation in supporting the development of rural communities. In 2018, both organisations partnered towards the Standard Bank ‘HER campaign’ which provided sanitary towels for underprivileged students within the local community.

In 2020/21, they facilitated an education sponsorship towards the COVID- 19 response benefiting the seven local estate schools by supplying face masks, empowered three local entrepreneurs who produced the masks and School of the Deaf received welding equipment to enhance their skills training.

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