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It is no secret that Eswatini has an abundance of university graduates. And at any one time, 33 per cent of them are unemployed, with no realistic short-to medium-term expectation of getting a job. Indeed, according to the Intergrated Labour Force Survey, 33 per cent of our youth are unemployed. And the youth (below 35 years) is a huge 70 per cent of the total population. That has serious implications for the graduates as well as for the future society of our country. It is alarming and a call for action. Through social media platforms like TikTok and Instagram, utilised mostly by young people, we get to see many videos and pictures of graduates celebrating their victories. Yet such a large number remains unemployed from the moment they graduate.

What could be the contributing factor?

Many graduates are walking the stage yet only few make it for job interviews. Put simply, there is a serious mismatch between the skills needed and those available. There appears to be a lack of perceptive career guidance in our schools. Yes, the youth are graduating but not in the critically needed fields such as Software Development, Data Science and Coding. Most of these fields require knowledge on new technology, which most of the youth do not have. So who do we blame? The youth for studying courses that will not grant them employment? Or do we blame lack of resources and information? It should be the latter.

The education programme of the country needs to ensure that the youth are better equipped to develop the skills needed in the new world; and that career guidance is given according to the demands of that new world. Universities also need to be part of this change and encourage the phasing out of courses or degrees that are no longer of great value to the economy.
In the meantime, our government should look into investing in resources which will elevate our education system, help reduce the need for emaSwati to go and enrol in outside and neighbouring countries like South Africa and Botswana. By doing so, this will help in growing the economy of the country and decreasing the unemployment rate.

What could be the best possible way to develop the country?

In the age of the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR), it makes sense why some fields are not in demand. Artificial intelligence is playing a dominant role in almost every industry. We are basically dependent on robots. Now technological advancement education should be presented to the youth as well as children in schools. The earlier they know, the better. This way, the youth are afforded a chance to compete in the world of work and in the fields that are in demand.

The country’s educational structure has to be improved. We must adapt to changing responsively to circumstances. We have moved to the digital era, where things are mostly done electronically and online. Therefore, that means we need to equip ourselves with degrees that align with the current times. That is not to say that traditional ways of living should be phased out, but simply that out youths must be graduating with degrees that will be in demand. Our educational system currently lacks the tools necessary to assist students in acquiring the skills required in the changing requirements of the workplace. In order to keep up with the times, schools should teach more about entrepreneurship and incorporate skills like coding.


The last three years have fundamentally been a great test to many careers; they have reshaped working life in ways that could very well be permanent. The pandemic ushered remote work into the mainstream, precipitated a surge in entrepreneurial activity and prompted a trend that’s been called ‘The Great Resignation’. Where people were retrenched and replaced by apps and machines. Therefore, it is essential that in schools they should incorporate subjects like career guidance to help teach young people at a young age that there are more careers beyond the traditional ones and align them with where the world of work is heading. It is essential to strengthen existing programmes that are designed to attract the young and the educated into starting businesses. Entrepreneurship is a driver of innovation, job creation, and economic progress.


It is essential to break the mindset of focusing only on employed positions. Jobs are available but in fields that people are not graduating in, and remain vacant because of the absence of appropriate skills to match the needs. At the same time, there are many self-employed opportunities that simply demand entrepreneurial exploitation. The prevailing entrepreneurial culture in eSwatini needs strengthening and the place to start is in the schools, providing skills to the youth. It is called ‘thinking ahead’. Our education system needs to recognise that the huge unemployment rate will not be going down anytime soon. Addressing the skills shortage through career counselling and educational changes should be supplemented by stronger entrepreneurial training, with more substantial financial and technical support from government.

Temacusi Shongwe 

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