The Impact of Skills Development on Competitiveness: Empirical Evidence from a Cross-Country Analysis


  • Eldah Nyamoita Onsomu None
  • Moses W. Ngware African Population and Health Research Center
  • Damiano K. Manda University of Nairobi



human capital, international development, international economic competition.


In the past half-century, most countries have emphasized the development of human capital as an instrument for economic growth, sustainable development, and improved global competitiveness. However, limited evidence exists on the link between skills development and a country's competitiveness. This paper examines the contribution and association of skills to a country's competitiveness. The study uses panel data from 84 countries in estimating an empirical model. Skills availability, foreign direct investments, secondary education, and technical (engineering) education and training are significant contributors to a country's competitiveness in a technologically changing and demanding world. This dynamic requires institutionalizing high-level technical skills development and on-the-job training programs in various firms that provided company specific and general skills to employees. The study recommends increased participation in secondary education and technically-oriented courses in tertiary education and programs that encourage skills transfer from foreign companies. Foreign direct investment, however, requires a conducive investment environment. Increased collaboration between tertiary institutions and industry is crucial for improved skilled development.


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Author Biographies

Eldah Nyamoita Onsomu, None

Policy Analyst/Economist

Moses W. Ngware, African Population and Health Research Center


Moses W. Ngware Is an Associate Research Scientist at the African Population and Health Research Center (APHRC).  He is a Project Manager in the Education Research Program and oversees the design and implementation of education research projects. His current research 

focuses on teaching practice and opportunities to learn. He holds a PhD in Economics of Education from Egerton University (Kenya). 


Damiano K. Manda, University of Nairobi

Damiano K. Manda is a senior lecturer at the University of Nairobi, School of Economics. Holds a PhD in economics from the University of Gothenburg, Sweden, and an MA in economics from the University of Nairobi. His research focuses on labor markets, 

poverty and education policy issues. 




How to Cite

Onsomu, E. N., Ngware, M. W., & Manda, D. K. (2010). The Impact of Skills Development on Competitiveness: Empirical Evidence from a Cross-Country Analysis. Education Policy Analysis Archives, 18, 7.




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