”Be the change that you wish to see in the world.” — Mahatma Gandhi

Syabonga Sizwe Msweli



Organisation / Company

United States Diplomatic Mission to South Africa


Syabonga Sizwe Msweli, 30, is a political and economic specialist for the United States Diplomatic Mission in South Africa. He analyses political developments, monitors economic trends and works with government officials to advance US interests. His job involves providing in-depth reports on political issues, promoting trade and investment opportunities, and fostering bilateral cooperation. Syabonga also organises events to enhance understanding between US and South African stakeholders, contributes to crisis management efforts and supports American citizens in the region. Syabonga says that by facilitating dialogue, he aims to strengthen the relationship between the two countries and promote shared goals of democracy, prosperity and security. He is focusing on building ties between the US and KwaZulu-Natal, which involves providing informed counsel to the US government while working at the grassroots level to pinpoint investment prospects for American enterprises, including in smaller local municipalities. Through these efforts, Syabonga says he aims to foster mutually beneficial partnerships, bolster economic growth and promote sustainable development in the province.


Master of Business Administration (current), Regent Business School
Bachelor of Social Science Honours in Political Science, University of KwaZulu-Natal
Bachelor of Social Science in Law and Political Science, University of KwaZulu-Natal

Other certificates:

Australia Diplomacy in Africa, Curtis University in Australia
Reading and Interpreting International Trade Agreements: case of the AfCFTA, Trade Law Centre
Public Governance, Regional Young African Leaders Initiative
Top 40 Most inspiring Student, University of KwaZulu-Natal 2017


In the midst of the unprecedented challenges brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020, I found myself serving as a regional trade services operations adviser for the United Kingdom Department for International Trade, now known as the Department for Business and Trade. Tasked with facilitating UK companies’ entry into African markets, I became the crucial first point of contact for more than 100 businesses seeking to explore new opportunities amid the global upheaval.
Navigating the complex terrain of international trade during such tumultuous times was both exhilarating and challenging. As the UK embarked on a post-Brexit journey to forge new trade partnerships beyond the European Union, the significance of exploring African markets became increasingly apparent. My role involved not only providing assistance to UK businesses but also fostering mutually beneficial relationships with African countries.
Interacting with a diverse array of UK companies underscored the importance of adaptability and strategic foresight. Each engagement presented unique considerations, from regulatory compliance to market dynamics and cultural sensitivities. Guiding these businesses through the intricacies of entering African markets required a delicate balance of pragmatism and cultural understanding.
Moreover, the broader implications of our efforts were not lost on me. By facilitating foreign investment in Africa, we were directly contributing to job creation and economic development across the continent. In a time of global uncertainty, the opportunity to play a role in fostering positive change was immensely fulfilling.
Reflecting on this experience underscores the profound effect of international trade on global prosperity. As the world continues to navigate the challenges of a rapidly changing economic landscape, the importance of fostering collaboration and forging new partnerships remains paramount. In this context, my role in facilitating UK businesses’ entry into African markets stands as a testament to the power of international cooperation in driving sustainable economic growth and development.


I continue to draw inspiration from Adrian Gore, the founder and chief executive of Discovery Limited, whose positive and visionary leadership has propelled the company from its inception with a singular mission of creating a healthier society to becoming one of South Africa’s largest and most successful businesses, with a notable global footprint. Adrian Gore’s strategic acumen and pivotal role in shaping the trajectory of Discovery’s growth highlights the importance of a success-oriented mindset driven by a resolute determination to effect meaningful change and achieve ambitious goals.