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By Musa Ndlangamandla - THE SWAZI OBSERVER-26-Sep-2009

His Majesty King Mswati III has called on developed countries to assist Africa with access to funding and technology to support the fight against poverty.

He said this was important if they are to reach their goal of transforming their economies to first world status. He said the global financial and economic crisis and other challenges restrain them from achieving the millennium development goals. He was speaking on Friday when addressing the 64th Session of the UN General Assembly.

“The secondary effects of the crisis are now hitting hard on developing economies like the Kingdom of Swaziland who have their export trade largely dependent on performance in developed global markets. Several government interventions to rescue sectors such as the pulp and textile industries have been undertaken, in our case,’’ he said. His Majesty observed a number of impediments which militate against progress in achieving the set targets, adding that the situation regarding poverty and healthcare has also been exacerbated by the devastating effects of HIV and AIDS, Malaria, Tuberculosis and other conditions. “Inaccessibility to resources and high costs continue to compromise healthcare systems and our efforts to meet the targets set for the attainment of the MDGs. In this regard, the Kingdom of Swaziland appreciates the partnership with the UN structures and the international community, in this regard,” he said.

His Majesty said Swaziland, as part of its commitment to the MDGs, will be rolling-out free universal primary education at the beginning of 2010. He said currently, government pays educational fees for all OVC and subsidises tertiary education through scholarships or student loans. The King called on the developed world to assist with a Fund to assist developing countries with strategies to deal with climate change, adding that the funds should be adequate, predictable, sustainable, incremental and unconditionally accessible.

He also called for finality in the process to reform the UN Security Council to turn it into a structure that is truly representative of all its members. He also called for peace in the world’s trouble spots

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