On the morning of September 7 local time (evening of the same day Taipei time), President Tsai Ing-wen visited Queen Mother Ntombi Tfwala of the Kingdom of Eswatini before attending an exhibition on the achievements of the Taiwan International Cooperation and Development Fund's (ICDF) Capacity Building Project for Microfinance Ecosystem Focusing on Grassroots Women in Eswatini and meeting with members of Taiwan's medical and technical missions in Eswatini for lunch. President Tsai thanked the members of Taiwan's technical and medical missions as well as our embassy staff and those performing alternative military service in Eswatini for their efforts, which have helped our countries launch more cooperative projects, laying a stronger foundation for our bilateral relationship. She also expressed hope that more young people will join their efforts and contribute to Taiwan's diplomacy.
After arriving at the exhibition venue, the president was welcomed with a dance performance by beneficiaries of the ICDF project. Technical Mission Manager Peng Ming-yu (彭明煜) and Mission Chief Yeh Chang-ching (葉常青) then took the president around the exhibition to view each stand. A representative of the project beneficiaries thanked President Tsai for supporting the project, which has helped them develop better products, and gave the president a hand-made leather bag to remember this trip by.
A translation of the president's remarks to the medical and technical missions follows:
I came here five years ago to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Eswatini's independence and the 50th birthday of King Mswati III. I took advantage of that trip to visit an orchard run by the Taiwan Technical Mission's Fruit Tree Production and Marketing Project and have a conversation with the mission staff. I am delighted to have this opportunity today to be back here and meet with all of you. First, I want to thank all of our technical mission members, embassy staff, and those performing alternative military service. Over the past few years, thanks to your efforts, Taiwan and Eswatini have launched more cooperative projects to change the lives of local residents.
The technical mission has successfully grown Taiwanese crops, such as sweet potatoes, rice, dragon fruit, and guava, in Eswatini, benefitting many local farmers. The vocational training programs run by our medical and technical missions have also helped young people develop skills and find employment, or even start their own businesses, to earn better incomes.
The women's microfinance project exhibition I just saw shows us that, thanks to the efforts of the technical mission, many women living in remote areas have received training and developed the ability to start a business and stand on their own two feet. On this visit, the first item on our itinerary was witnessing the signing of bilateral cooperation agreements. We announced a plan to establish a revolving fund that will enhance our bilateral cooperation and our work with the queen mother to help more women in Eswatini achieve greater autonomy.
I also want to thank our resident doctors in Eswatini and the other members of the medical mission for their diligence in caring for the health of the people of our diplomatic ally. Yesterday I toured the Mbabane Government Hospital's Referral and Emergency Complex with Eswatini Minister of Health Lizzie Nkosi. The first time I visited Mbabane Government Hospital five years ago, this building was being renovated as part of a bilateral cooperation project. Since the renovated building was unveiled in 2021, the facility has helped more patients and provided better care.
Every single success that I have mentioned today has been the result of everyone's dedication, and we would like to encourage more young people to join in and contribute to Taiwan's diplomacy. That is why the ICDF, with the support of our Ministry of Foreign Affairs, has since 2019 recruited college students to intern abroad. Today, with us we have two such interns who were selected from universities in Taiwan. I am confident that after they have completed their internships with the technical mission, they would one day be a great addition to Taiwan's diplomatic team.
Our diplomatic accomplishments are the result of everyone's efforts throughout the years. The work that each of you performs in Eswatini helps lay a stronger foundation for our bilateral relationship. I thank you all again for your dedication. Let us continue giving our all together.
Before meeting with the technical mission, President Tsai met with the queen mother at the royal palace. The president extended her best wishes to the queen mother and they discussed the results of the microfinance program for women in Eswatini. The president also wished the queen mother good health and all the best for the people of Eswatini, and invited the queen mother to visit Taiwan again.
Also attending the events were Eswatini Minister of Justice and Constitutional Affairs Pholile Dlamini Shakantu and Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Thulisile Dladla, as well as Minister of Economic Affairs Wang Mei-hua (王美花), Kaohsiung Mayor Chen Chi-mai (陳其邁), Deputy Secretary-General to the President Xavier Chang (張惇涵), legislators Chiu Chih-wei (邱志偉), Chiu Tai-yuan (邱泰源), Fan Yun (范雲), and Chiu Chen-yuan (邱臣遠), Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Roy Chun Lee (李淳), ICDF Secretary General Charles Chao-cheng Li (李朝成), Taipei Medical University Hospital Vice Superintendent Weu Wang (王偉), and Ambassador to Eswatini Jeremy H.S. Liang (梁洪昇).