India to help build new Parliament building in Swaziland

President Ram Nath Kovind became the first visiting head of state to address members of the Parliament of Swaziland here today.
“We are living in a digital and hyper-connected world that places immense challenges before parliamentarians. Local and day-to-day issues, related to jobs and the economy, are influenced by developments elsewhere, be it global food prices, climate change or security threats of various nature,” Mr Kovind said.
“The impact of globalisation and technology and soaring aspirations of people, have added new dimensions to public policy. To legislate in such times demands even greater awareness and acumen. But with challenges come opportunities. Today, we see greater participation of people in debates and discussions. Legislators can get instant feedback on major issues,” he pointed out.
“Over the past seven decades, India has developed a robust institutional architecture of parliamentary democracy. We would be happy to share this experience with this august House in Swaziland,” he added.
The President also offered concessional finance on the part of India for construction of a new parliament building in Swaziland.
“India’s growth is fuelled by frugal and cost-effective innovation. Our technologies and institutional models can help reduce costs of production in Swaziland. We are keen to share our expertise and experience with Swaziland and indeed with all of the African continent. On this count, our approach has been to create local capacities, to move hand in hand, in solidarity and in partnership with our African brothers and sisters,” he said.
The President said despite advances in new technologies, agriculture still remains the mainstay for a majority of the population of both countries. He was happy to note that India has already shared some of its experiences with Swazi farmers. This has helped them to achieve a multi-fold increase in maize productivity.
He announced that India would facilitate establishing a Centre of Agricultural Excellence in Swaziland. He also said that India would develop an irrigation system in the Lubuyane region.
The President observed that climate change was one of the most critical challenges for the world. He noted that Swaziland has itself struggled with the El Nino phenomenon, leading to drought for two years. To support the Swaziland National Disaster Management Agency, India has offered US$ 1 million as well as foodgrains.
The President inaugurated the Royal Science and Technology Park this morning.  The Park has been developed and built with the assistance of India. He also received a presentation on the Technology Park as a location for IT education and capacity building as well as for IT-enabled services.
Mr Kovind, on his arrival in Swaziland yesterday at the King Mswati III International Airport, was received by Prime Minister Barnabas Sibusiso Dlamini and other dignitaries. He proceeded directly to talks with King Mswati III on bilateral and global issues. The King also conferred the Order of the Lion on the President. This is the highest civilian honour Swaziland bestows on a non-citizen.
Speaking after the ceremony, the President renewed India’s commitment to Swaziland and announced that an Indian embassy would be opening in the kingdom shortly. In the presence of the President and the King, India and Swaziland signed two agreements — on health cooperation; and on visa waivers for those travelling on official and diplomatic passports. Later in the evening of April 9, the King hosted a banquet for Mr Kovind.
At the conclusion of his visit, Mr Kovind will leave for Zambia. This will be the final leg of his journey to three African nations – Equatorial Guinea, Swaziland and Zambia. In the evening, he will meet and address the Indian community in Lusaka.
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