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The journey to industrialisation by Singapore is fascinating as they embraced meritocracy, pragmatism and honesty. Meritocracy is a system in which people are chosen and moved into positions of success, power and influence on the basis of their demonstrated abilities and merit. Meritocracy is also defined as a political system in which economic goods and/or political power are vested in individual people on the basis of talent, effort and achievement, rather than wealth or social class. Eswatini has the National Development Strategy, which was rolled out in 1999. It states that ‘by 2022, the Kingdom of Swaziland will be in the top 10 per cent of the medium human development group of countries founded on sustainable economic development, social justice and political stability’. His Majesty subsequently made a call for Eswatini to be a First World country by 2022.

We all know that 63 per cent of the population lives below the poverty datum line. We also face a weakened informal economy, high levels of unemployment and thousands of graduates who roam the streets without job or business opportunities. Additionally, there are social challenges manifested in high levels of gender-based violence, mental health problems and increased crime rates, to mention a few. Students are struggling to access scholarships and there is poor funding of our universities.


For our country to achieve the First World Vision, it needs to do things differently. I want to propose that the country embraces meritocracy where appointments to positions are based on capability underpinned by equal opportunities for all. We need people who are patriotic, ethical, honest, innovative, hardworking and accountable to help our country address the social and economic challenges. Many graduates today are roaming the street. Therefore, there is a need to identify talented and bright young people where government will invest in their education with a view to deploy them to strategic positions to unleash the country’s developmental potential. The greatest asset that this country has is a homogenous society, educated population, peace loving people who all yearn to make a contribution for the country’s progress.

This situation should not be allowed to continue. We need to fix the broken economy and its social impacts. We need to mobilise the best talents and skills regardless of social standing so that we get the best development outcomes. Meritocracy is our way out. This crisis offers us an opportunity to tap into talented emaSwati whatever their background.

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