On Thursday, 5 November 2020, the Minister of Labour and Social Security Hon. Makhosi Vilakati officially launched the Eswatini National Skills Audit. The audit will be led by the Eswatini Economic Policy Analysis and Research Centre (ESEPARC) and aims at compiling accurate and reliable information about the skills needed in the labour market. The audit will look at skills required in the priority and emerging sectors of the economy and once complete, it will have information on the labour demand, the labour supply, skills shortage, and underutilized skills in the country.

Executive Director of ESEPARC, Dr Thabo Sacolo explained how the national skills audit is a monumental task that ESEPARC cannot achieve alone and will therefore need help from all relevant stakeholders. “We are counting on your support as stakeholders, this undertaking will require ample data which you possess,” he stated. Dr Sacolo pointed out to the audience that the audit will not only focus on what is happening in Eswatini’s labour market but will also focus on what is happening in the global labour market as this will be beneficial for both current and future generations.

Permanent Secretary for the Ministry of Education and Training, Bhekithemba Gama who was representing the Minister of Education and Training, Hon. Lady Howard Mabuza applauded the Ministry of Labour and Social Security for conducting the national skills audit, and noted how the audit could not have come at a better time when the country is repositioning itself and looking to use all its resources optimally to achieve economic growth. Mr Gama highlighted that skills are one of the key determinants of productivity and growth. He emphasised that “Human capital is a pillar of development which should be informed by quality, and updated data that you can easily access”.

Speaking at the launch, The Minister of Labour and Social Security, Hon. Makhosi Vilakati stated that “the skills audit will help identify the skills needed in Eswatini’s priority growth sectors and assist in addressing unemployment through targeted programs which will help create sustainable employment opportunities for all Emaswati, generate wealth and contribute to the economic recovery plan.” Mr Vilakati asked all stakeholders to assist ESEPARC in any way they can during this exercise as it is important that there is concerted effort from everyone when it comes to investing in relevant skills and education. Mr Vilakati also expressed how glad he was that ESEPARC, an established local research institution was leading this important exercise.

The National Skills Audit will contribute to ensuring that Eswatini is able to produce the right quality of skills for the labour market which will help propel the country into higher economic growth. The audit will also help the country produce skills requirement programs and policies that are relevant and backed up by evidence.