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Mbabane – The mining and energy sector of Eswatini has a huge skills gap which affects its production.

This was mentioned by the Eswatini Economic Policy analysis and Research Centre (ESEPARC) in their recent national skills audit report. ESEPARC conducted a Labour Force Survey which revealed that the youth unemployment rate was as high as 58.2 per cent of the overall population. According to ESEPARC, this gap is because there are less mines currently operational in the country and the youth lacks the skills and requirements that are currently needed for jobs that are available in the country.  “Considering the re-opening of the Maloma Colliery Mine and other mines in the sector as well as other energy companies, this may have implications for the availability of relevant labour in this sector,” said ESEPARC.


ESEPARC said skills within this sector that are higher than those at the elementary and general officer level, employees would need to source graduates who hold qualifications from institutions outside the country. They said the sectorial absorption rate of Swati nationals (93.69 per cent) also implies that many emaSwati left the country to obtain their qualifications outside Eswatini before returning to ply their trade locally. “The study also found that the reasons why companies imported the remaining 6.31 per cent of skills were because the professional skills required were not supplied locally (50 per cent) and the main investors in the businesses were foreign nationals,” mentions ESEPARC in the statement.

They further mentioned that generally, most management position have the most observed skill deficiencies largely because they require higher level qualifications which are produced by local training institutions. The policy analysers also said it was impossible for the country to be effective in skills development without creating policies that would support the initiative.
“Effective skills development in Eswatini is impossible without a nationally dedicated human resources development policy that will coordinate and guide training in all sectors of the economy” mentions ESEPARC. Minister of Labour and Social Security Phila Buthelezi said the country must work together in order to decrease the rate of unemployment among the youth in the country.


He said Eswatini needs a trusted training system that can deliver workers with high quality, relevant skills and competencies that can support rapid up-skilling, cross-skilling and reskilling in economic growth areas. “For our country to achieve high levels of economic growth and address our social challenges of poverty, unemployment and inequality we must work together,” he said. The minister further mentioned that the survey revealed that they had to invest in relevant education, training and skills to achieve the vision of being a skilled and able workforce. He also said emaswati needed to understand the structural shifts that would occur and the skilling and re-training needed to get people into jobs as they deal with COVID-19 and its impact to the economy.

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