Minister Gina Questions Accuracy of Country’s Unemployment Statistics

The Minister of Economic Planning & Development Dr. Tambo Gina says he doubts the accuracy of the country’s poverty and unemployment rate.

The Minister disclosed this during the recent launch of the Country Partnership Framework (CPF) which was held at the Hilton Garden Inn Hotel.

The CPF has been compiled by the World Bank Group in partnership with the Eswatini government and seeks to assist the country transition to a more private sector-led growth model that promotes inclusive, sustainable, and resilient economic growth.

The CPF focuses on enhancing conditions for private sector competitiveness, promoting the growth of medium, small, and micro enterprises, improving transparency, accountability, and fiscal sustainability, and expanding access to electricity.

According to the Eswatini Skills Audit Report compiled and presented by the Eswatini Economic Policy Analysis and Research Centre (ESEPARC) last year, the country’s unemployment rate stands as follows.

  • Eswatini Unemployment Rate: 33.3%
  • Youth Unemployment Rate : 58%
  • Unemployed Graduates: 50.1%
  • Self Employed Graduates: 8.2%
  • Employed Graduates – 41.7%.

Interestingly, a report by the World Bank Group disclosed that Almost 60% of Emaswati lived below the national poverty line in 2017, following a decline from 63% in 2009, and 69% in 2001.

The World Bank Group notes that the population percentage living under $2.15/day hovered at around 30% since 2016 and was still estimated at 28.5% in 2021

The Minister said he felt that both poverty and unemployment figures are bit exaggerated.

“The poverty and unemployment numbers could be exaggerated. I strongly do not believe that the poverty rate is at 70%. The youth unemployment certainly seems inaccurate. I believe the rates are a bit lower than they are being purported to be,” the Minister noted.

He went on to assert that the youth unemployment rate should be below 50%, not the purported 58%.

Gina however, noted that the partnership between the World Bank and the country was highly important as it will aid the country in fighting the high poverty and unemployment rates.

“Regardless of the strenuous and unprecedented circumstances we are faced with, the Bank remains undeterred in introducing new modalities and mechanisms to finance economic development in the Kingdom of Eswatini including providing additional resources, to regain lost ground towards achieving the SDGs and the Twin Goals of eradicating extreme poverty and boosting shared prosperity.”

He further reiterated the importance of the partnership “Our meeting today therefore presents a unique opportunity to reaffirm our mutual commitment to achieving Agenda 2030, and the Twin Goals of eradicating extreme poverty and boosting shared prosperity in the Kingdom of Eswatini.” 

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