In Swaziland, the European Union has announced the suspension of direct funding to the country. Observers believe the move would put pressure on the Swazi government to practice good governance and accountability. The EU is one of the Kingdom's major donors supporting the country with over 4.1million euros, which is about five million dollars in aid every year. Swaziland lags behind other African countries in the declarations and targets for budgetary allocation to the social and economic sectors.
Tercy Similani is the spokesman for the Swazi government. He gave his government’s reaction to the EU’s move in an interview with English to Africa reporter Peter Clottey. “I must say that as far as the government is concern, we have pulled ourselves together to make sure that we are better than we were a few years ago. And I must say that the way we are doing things here have been chosen by the Swazi people themselves and we will continue doing that. It is a pity that he (EU Ambassador) has threatened to and kind of cut down on funds that are given to Swaziland. Simply because from what he said some of these funds are not accountable as they should. I must say that these are operational accidents affecting not only Swaziland. Where ever money is involved surely at the end of the day you would find out that it was not may be used as the people who gave out that money expected.”
Similani says the suspension will have a major impact on his country. “Surely this would affect the people of Swaziland directly because this money is invested in developmental projects when of course they were meant to assist the people of Swaziland, it would surely affect us.”
Asked about steps the Swazi government is taking to improve the country’s standing in the economic and social sectors, Similani said, “We are doing everything to be at par with the rest of the region. But then our pace may be is not regarded as a good pace or fast pace to alleviate the situation. You will recall that, Swaziland is one of the most peaceful countries in Africa. Having not experienced civil war even when our neighbors were fighting, Swaziland became a home for the refugees that came from these countries. But then that does not mean we should sit down and not do everything we can to change the situation.”
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