Taiwan is to donate NT$637 million (US$22.9 million) to Eswatini after the country saw a series of bloody clashes between democracy protesters and security forces in June and July.
Eswatini is Africa’s last absolutist monarchy and Taiwan’s sole diplomatic ally on that continent. The protests against a ban on political parties began in late May and descended into violence in the following months.
After dozens of people died in the protests, Amnesty International in July said that the kingdom’s response to the riots was “a ruthless crackdown on human rights,” adding that dozens of people were killed, and as many were tortured or abducted by the government.
Photo courtesy of the Eswatini Government
The situation in the country remains calm with sporadic episodes of violence, AllAfrica.com reported yesterday.
Ambassador to Eswatini Jeremy Liang (梁洪昇) on Monday joined a ceremony in the country marking the inauguration of a reconstruction fund initiated by Eswatini King Mswati III.
Liang said that Taiwan is proud to be part of the effort to rebuild Eswatini, adding that cooperation on reconstruction efforts show the importance of the strong ties between the two countries.
Liang called Taipei’s donation an expression of the “Taiwan can help” spirit.
In addition to Taiwan’s contribution, the fund’s NT$1.93 billion come from donations from the Royal Eswatini Police Service, the kingdom’s armed forces, and its state-owned energy company and insurance fund, as well as the country’s sugar industry and charitable groups.
Taiwan’s NT$637 million was the fund’s biggest contribution.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs said that the situation in Eswatini has improved and that Taiwan’s humanitarian aid would be used to repair schools, hospitals and other infrastructure that were damaged during the civil unrest.
The ministry had restructured its cooperative pacts with Eswatini to prioritize humanitarian aid, the ministry added.
The NT$637 million are part of existing budgets and would not increase Taiwan’s spending on aid to Eswatini, it said.
The ministry and Taiwan’s embassy in the country are to jointly monitor the utilization of the funds to ensure efficiency, it said.
The ministry-affiliated International Cooperation and Development Fund is implementing a microloan program for Swazi women in rural communities, it said.
The 53-year friendship between the two countries runs deep, and Taiwan empathizes with the plight of Swazis, the ministry said, adding that Taipei hopes for Eswantini’s recovery, and peace and prosperity in the country.
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