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110 000 POTENTIAL JOBS FOR EMASWATI

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MBABANE – Eswatini has a potential to create 110 000 jobs.

This was disclosed in a report released by the World Bank and International Finance Corporation (IFC) on Friday. In their research, the two financial institutions stated that the beef industry has a potential to create 60 000 jobs. Last week, the researching institutions presented the report to government at a function held at the Sincephetelo Motor Vehicle Accident (SMVA) Fund Conference Room.

The World Bank and IFC stated that the sugar industry in Eswatini could add 20 000 jobs to its existing ones, while forestry has the potential to create an additional 8 000 jobs. The textile and apparel sector can add 22 000 jobs. In total, therefore, the country can make history by creating opportunities for 110 000 jobs. If say one of the 110 000 prospective employees has five dependants, it effectively means this job creation can benefit 550 000 people. The financial institutions stated in the report that the beef industry was a large sector in terms of value added and job creation.

opportunity

Its advantage is the export of high quality beef with potential to grow. There is also an opportunity for value addition to meet local and regional demand. The sugar industry has opportunities for diversification, according to the World Bank and IFC. In terms of growth prospect, it has a huge potential to produce 100 000 tonnes over the next five years.
At least 92 per cent of its input is exported. The forestry sector can also play a part in job creation and economic development of the country because it is considered as an established sector.

Regarding forestry, the report states that it could generate an additional  8  000 jobs. It is an established sector in the Kingdom of Eswatini. It has favourable conditions for sustainable management. The World Bank and IFC mentioned that the textile industry could create an additional 22 000 jobs. The research found that 95 per cent of the workers in this sector were women. It is a market access and established industry with high employment potential. Currently, it is the largest intra-regional apparel exporter in the Sub-Saharan Africa region. The institutions stated that the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) could open opportunities to further grow intra-regional apparel exports.

assumptions

Manqoba Khumalo, the Minister of Commerce, Industry and Trade, said the report by the World Bank and IFC was inspirationally-based. He said there were also a few interesting assumptions on job creation, hoping the implementation of the recommendation would be carried out appropriately. He said the construction of the Mkhondvo Dam, mining projects and spinning of the yarn would add significantly to the creation of jobs as stated in the government’s strategy. He said the report by the World Bank and IFC would complement the National Development Plan that would be launched soon. He said renewable energy would also provide employment to emaSwati.

Mduduzi Gina, the Secretary General (SG) of the Trade Union Congress of Swaziland (TUCOSWA), described the observed job opportunities as a positive step. He said government should put that potential into reality. As a federation, he said they encouraged that any leads that pointed to job creation should be followed with the haste that this matter deserved. He said TUCOSWA positively looked forward to the exploration of this potential, specifically for the creation of decent jobs in the country. Meanwhile, the textile and apparel industry was advised to incorporate other parts of the supply chain as there was a growing demand from large USA buyers for this particular model. The World Bank and IFC pointed to constrains within the textile and apparel industry. It noted that 95 per cent of new hires required training while firms have difficulty in retaining the trained workers.

challenges

Other challenges were rising infrastructure costs and shortage of factory shells, water and electricity costs escalation, coupled with long delays to secure a suitable facility. It is said that trade logistics and transport costs, onerous trade procedures and high transport costs to Durban are some of the constraints. Addressing the sugar issue, the financial entities stated that it presented good opportunities as it was competitive, coupled with high productivity, high cane and sucrose yields per hectare. There are large sugar mills with good levels of factory capacity. They said there was also a growing regional sugar demand. There was also an untapped diversification potential into biomass and developing downstream sugar processing opportunities.  

It must be said that observed constraints in the sugar industry included climate change and water availability; hence there was a need for conversation from furrow irrigation to more efficient methods such as drip. There are also rising costs for producers, escalating energy costs, with efficiency of smallholders constrained by other operational costs and practices. The policy framework on renewable energy is thought to be a good step, particularly the advertising of the recent tender for renewable biomass.

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