Times of Eswatini
Youth Fund’s new Board unveiled
MBABANE – Businessman Sifiso Dhlamini has been availed as the new Board Chairman of the Youth Enterprise Revolving Fund (YERF).
Dhlamini’s appointment was announced by the Minister of Sport, Culture and Youth Affairs, Harries Bulunga, who tasked the new Board to increase the absorption rate of the fund. Dhlamini is the former Eswatini Electricity Company (EEC) Marketing and Corporate Communications Manager.
The YERF is a category A Parastatal that was established by government in 2009. It is under the Ministry of Sports, Culture and Youth Affairs with a purpose of promoting youth employment and alleviate poverty among young people between the ages of 18 to 36 years.
Dhlamini was unveiled yesterday together with eight Board members, two of whom had served in the previous Board. These were Principal Secretary of the same ministry, Prince Mlayeto and Banele Manyatsi. The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the fund will serve as the secretary of the Board. “I am confident that the incoming Board will execute its mandate to the best of their abilities. Your skills are critical components which are really needed to take the Fund to greater heights and help it improve its absorption rate, which is currently low, at about 30 per cent,” Bulunga said.
He stated that the Board was a representation of the minister and ministry’s broader goals of empowering young people and ensuring that an enabling environment was created for them to thrive and become meaningful in the Eswatini economy. Bulunga thanked the previous Board, which was led by Siboniso Mdluli and served for two terms. The outgoing Board was appointed in 2016 to revive the fund after its previous collapse, and to ensure that it became a viable institution, serving the youth and ushering them into entrepreneurship. “My request, as you hand over the baton to the next Board, is that you help the incoming Board navigate the new terrain they are embarking on. I hope the outgoing chairperson will always be in touch, in a shared quest to develop and empower young people in Eswatini,” he said.
Bulunga said the new Board comprised of young people and aspiring entrepreneurs. He explained that the selection of the members was according to the Public Enterprise Unit (PEU) guidelines. The new Board is composed of representatives from the Ministry of Sports, Culture and Youth Affairs, Ministry of Finance and the fund’s CEO and four young people. Bulunga said the Board members possessed diverse skills in accounting, legal, entrepreneurship, and communications and marketing, among others, which he said he believed would serve the fund well in packaging it in an attractive way.
Dhlamini appreciated the trust that the minister had in him and the new Board members, stating that they were equal to the task. He noted that the Board was composed of visionary, innovative and creative minds who would certainly take the fund to greater heights. “We are not oblivious of the task ahead, but pledge to live up to the expectations bestowed on us,” he said briefly. The Board’s mandate includes playing an oversight role to the CEO and officers at the Youth Fund, assessing and evaluating the CEO annually, developing the fund through new strategies and reviewing the current regulations as well as evaluating business proposals from young people, among other things.