Africa :: SWAZILAND
  • Introduction :: SWAZILAND

  • Autonomy for the Swazis of southern Africa was guaranteed by the British in the late 19th century; independence was granted in 1968. Student and labor unrest during the 1990s pressured King MSWATI III, Africa's last absolute monarch, to grudgingly allow political reform and greater democracy, although he has backslid on these promises in recent years. A constitution came into effect in 2006, but the legal status of political parties was not defined and their status remains unclear. Swaziland has surpassed Botswana as the country with the world's highest known HIV/AIDS prevalence rate.
  • Geography :: SWAZILAND

  • Southern Africa, between Mozambique and South Africa
    26 30 S, 31 30 E
    Africa
    total: 17,364 sq km
    land: 17,204 sq km
    water: 160 sq km
    country comparison to the world: 159
    slightly smaller than New Jersey
    total: 546 km
    border countries (2): Mozambique 108 km, South Africa 438 km
    0 km (landlocked)
    none (landlocked)
    varies from tropical to near temperate
    mostly mountains and hills; some moderately sloping plains
    mean elevation: 305 m
    elevation extremes: lowest point: Great Usutu River 21 m
    highest point: Emlembe 1,862 m
    asbestos, coal, clay, cassiterite, hydropower, forests, small gold and diamond deposits, quarry stone, and talc
    agricultural land: 68.3%
    arable land 9.8%; permanent crops 0.8%; permanent pasture 57.7%
    forest: 31.7%
    other: 0% (2011 est.)
    500 sq km (2012)
    because of its mountainous terrain, the population distribution is uneven throughout the country, concentrating primarily in valleys and plains
    drought
    limited supplies of potable water; wildlife populations being depleted because of excessive hunting; overgrazing; soil degradation; soil erosion
    party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Ozone Layer Protection
    signed, but not ratified: Law of the Sea
    landlocked; almost completely surrounded by South Africa
  • People and Society :: SWAZILAND

  • 1,467,152
    note: estimates for this country explicitly take into account the effects of excess mortality due to AIDS; this can result in lower life expectancy, higher infant mortality, higher death rates, lower population growth rates, and changes in the distribution of population by age and sex than would otherwise be expected (July 2017 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 154
    noun: Swazi(s)
    adjective: Swazi
    African 97%, European 3%
    English (official, used for government business), siSwati (official)
    Christian 90% (Zionist - a blend of Christianity and indigenous ancestral worship - 40%, Roman Catholic 20%, other 30% - includes Anglican, Methodist, Mormon, Jehovah's Witness), Muslim 2%, other 8% (includes Baha'i, Buddhist, Hindu, indigenous religionist, Jewish) (2015 est.)
    Swaziland, a small, predominantly rural, landlocked country surrounded by South Africa and Mozambique, suffers from severe poverty and the world’s highest HIV/AIDS prevalence rate. A weak and deteriorating economy, high unemployment, rapid population growth, and an uneven distribution of resources all combine to worsen already persistent poverty and food insecurity, especially in rural areas. Erratic weather (frequent droughts and intermittent heavy rains and flooding), overuse of small plots, the overgrazing of cattle, and outdated agricultural practices reduce crop yields and further degrade the environment, exacerbating Swaziland’s poverty and subsistence problems. Swaziland’s extremely high HIV/AIDS prevalence rate – more than 28% of adults have the disease – compounds these issues. Agricultural production has declined due to HIV/AIDS, as the illness causes households to lose manpower and to sell livestock and other assets to pay for medicine and funerals.
    Swazis, mainly men from the country’s rural south, have been migrating to South Africa to work in coal, and later gold, mines since the late 19th century. Although the number of miners abroad has never been high in absolute terms because of Swaziland’s small population, the outflow has had important social and economic repercussions. The peak of mining employment in South Africa occurred during the 1980s. Cross-border movement has accelerated since the 1990s, as increasing unemployment has pushed more Swazis to look for work in South Africa (creating a “brain drain” in the health and educational sectors); southern Swazi men have continued to pursue mining, although the industry has downsized. Women now make up an increasing share of migrants and dominate cross-border trading in handicrafts, using the proceeds to purchase goods back in Swaziland. Much of today’s migration, however, is not work-related but focuses on visits to family and friends, tourism, and shopping.
    0-14 years: 35.01% (male 259,646/female 253,976)
    15-24 years: 22.12% (male 164,117/female 160,478)
    25-54 years: 34.6% (male 264,262/female 243,362)
    55-64 years: 4.3% (male 25,319/female 37,763)
    65 years and over: 3.97% (male 22,113/female 36,116) (2017 est.)
    total dependency ratio: 68.8
    youth dependency ratio: 63.5
    elderly dependency ratio: 5.2
    potential support ratio: 19.1 (2015 est.)
    total: 21.4 years
    male: 21.2 years
    female: 21.7 years (2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 181
    1.1% (2017 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 102
    24 births/1,000 population (2017 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 55
    13.2 deaths/1,000 population (2017 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 13
    0 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2017 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 101
    because of its mountainous terrain, the population distribution is uneven throughout the country, concentrating primarily in valleys and plains
    urban population: 21.3% of total population (2017)
    rate of urbanization: 1.41% annual rate of change (2015-20 est.)
    MBABANE (capital) 66,000 (2014)
    at birth: 1.03 male(s)/female
    0-14 years: 1.02 male(s)/female
    15-24 years: 1.02 male(s)/female
    25-54 years: 1.08 male(s)/female
    55-64 years: 0.66 male(s)/female
    65 years and over: 0.64 male(s)/female
    total population: 1 male(s)/female (2016 est.)
    19.5 years
    note: median age at first birth among women 25-29 (2006/07 est.)
    389 deaths/100,000 live births (2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 36
    total: 50.4 deaths/1,000 live births
    male: 54.4 deaths/1,000 live births
    female: 46.4 deaths/1,000 live births (2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 33
    total population: 51.6 years
    male: 52.2 years
    female: 51 years (2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 221
    2.69 children born/woman (2017 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 66
    66.1% (2014)
    9.3% of GDP (2014)
    country comparison to the world: 34
    0.15 physicians/1,000 population (2009)
    2.1 beds/1,000 population (2011)
    improved:
    urban: 93.6% of population
    rural: 68.9% of population
    total: 74.1% of population
    unimproved:
    urban: 6.4% of population
    rural: 31.1% of population
    total: 25.9% of population (2015 est.)
    improved:
    urban: 63.1% of population
    rural: 56% of population
    total: 57.5% of population
    unimproved:
    urban: 36.9% of population
    rural: 44% of population
    total: 42.5% of population (2015 est.)
    27.2% (2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 1
    220,000 (2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 26
    3,900 (2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 35
    degree of risk: intermediate
    food or waterborne diseases: bacterial diarrhea, hepatitis A, and typhoid fever
    vectorborne disease: malaria
    water contact disease: schistosomiasis (2016)
    14.8% (2014)
    country comparison to the world: 98
    5.8% (2014)
    country comparison to the world: 84
    7.1% of GDP (2014)
    country comparison to the world: 12
    definition: age 15 and over can read and write
    total population: 87.5%
    male: 87.4%
    female: 87.5% (2015 est.)
    total: 11 years
    male: 12 years
    female: 11 years (2013)
  • Government :: SWAZILAND

  • conventional long form: Kingdom of Swaziland
    conventional short form: Swaziland
    local long form: Umbuso weSwatini
    local short form: eSwatini
    etymology: "Land of the Swazi" people; the name "Swazi" derives from 19th century King MSWATI II, under whose rule Swazi territory was expanded and unified
    absolute monarchy
    name: Mbabane (administrative capital); Lobamba (royal and legislative capital)
    geographic coordinates: 26 19 S, 31 08 E
    time difference: UTC+2 (7 hours ahead of Washington, DC, during Standard Time)
    4 districts; Hhohho, Lubombo, Manzini, Shiselweni
    6 September 1968 (from the UK)
    Independence Day (Somhlolo Day), 6 September (1968)
    history: previous 1968, 1978; latest signed by the king 26 July 2005, effective 8 February 2006
    amendments: proposed at a joint sitting of both houses of Parliament; passage requires majority vote by both houses and/or majority vote in a referendum, and assent by the king; passage of amendments affecting “specially entrenched” constitutional provisions requires at least three-fourths majority vote by both houses, passage by simple majority vote in a referendum, and assent by the king; passage of “entrenched" provisions requires at least two-thirds majority vote of both houses, passage in a referendum, and assent by the king (2017)
    mixed legal system of civil, common, and customary law
    accepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction with reservations; non-party state to the ICCt
    citizenship by birth: no
    citizenship by descent only: both parents must be citizens of Swaziland
    dual citizenship recognized: no
    residency requirement for naturalization: 5 years
    18 years of age
    chief of state: King MSWATI III (since 25 April 1986)
    head of government: Prime Minister Barnabas Sibusiso DLAMINI (since 23 October 2008); Deputy Prime Minister Paul DLAMINI (since 2013)
    cabinet: Cabinet recommended by the prime minister, confirmed by the monarch
    elections/appointments: the monarchy is hereditary; prime minister appointed by the monarch from among elected members of the House of Assembly
    description: bicameral Parliament or Libandla consists of the Senate (30 seats; 20 members appointed by the monarch and 10 indirectly elected by simple majority vote by the House of Assembly; members serve 5-year terms) and the House of Assembly (65 seats; 55 members directly elected in single-seat constituencies by absolute majority vote in 2 rounds if needed and 10 members appointed by the monarch; members serve 5-year terms)
    elections: House of Assembly - last held on 24 August 2013 with a runoff on 20 September 2013 (next scheduled for September 2018)
    election results: House of Assembly - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - independent 55
    highest court(s): the Supreme Court of the Judicature comprising the Supreme Court (consists of the chief justice and at least 6 justices) and the High Court (consists of the chief justice - ex officio - and at least 12 justices); note - the Supreme Court has jurisdiction in all constitutional matters
    judge selection and term of office: justices of the Supreme Court of the Judicature appointed by the monarch on the advice of the Judicial Service Commission or JSC, a judicial advisory body consisting of the Supreme Court Chief Justice, 4 members appointed by the monarch, and the JSC head; justices of both courts eligible for retirement at age 65 with mandatory retirement at age 75 for Supreme Court justices and at age 70 for High Court justices
    subordinate courts: magistrates' courts; National Swazi Courts for administering customary/traditional laws (jurisdiction restricted to customary law for Swazi citizens)
    note: the national constitution as amended in 2006 shifted judicial power from the monarch and vested it exclusively in the judiciary
    the status of political parties, previously banned, is unclear under the 2006 Constitution; the following are considered political associations:
    African United Democratic Party or AUDP [Sibusiso DLAMINI]
    Ngwane National Liberatory Congress or NNLC [Dr. Alvit DLAMINI]
    People's United Democratic Movement or PUDEMO [Mario MASUKU]
    Swaziland Democratic Party or SWADEPA [Jan SITHOLE]
    Swaziland United Democratic Front or SUDF
    Trade Union Congress of Swaziland or TUCOSWA
    Swaziland Solidarity Network or SSN
    ACP, AfDB, AU, C, COMESA, FAO, G-77, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICRM, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, IMO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, ISO (correspondent), ITSO, ITU, ITUC (NGOs), MIGA, NAM, OPCW, PCA, SACU, SADC, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UNWTO, UPU, WCO, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO
    chief of mission: Ambassador Njabuliso Busisiwe Sikhulile GWEBU (since 24 April 2017)
    chancery: 1712 New Hampshire Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20009
    telephone: [1] (202) 234-5002
    FAX: [1] (202) 234-8254
    chief of mission: Ambassador Lisa PETERSON (since January 2016)
    embassy: corner of MR 103 and Cultural Center Drive, Ezulwini
    mailing address: P.O. Box D202, The Gables, H106
    telephone: [268] 2417-9000
    FAX: [268] 2416-3344
    three horizontal bands of blue (top), red (triple width), and blue; the red band is edged in yellow; centered in the red band is a large black and white shield covering two spears and a staff decorated with feather tassels, all placed horizontally; blue stands for peace and stability, red represents past struggles, and yellow the mineral resources of the country; the shield, spears, and staff symbolize protection from the country's enemies, while the black and white of the shield are meant to portray black and white people living in peaceful coexistence
    lion, elephant; national colors: blue, yellow, red
    name: "Nkulunkulu Mnikati wetibusiso temaSwati" (Oh God, Bestower of the Blessings of the Swazi)
    lyrics/music: Andrease Enoke Fanyana SIMELANE/David Kenneth RYCROFT
    note: adopted 1968; uses elements of both ethnic Swazi and Western music styles
  • Economy :: SWAZILAND

  • A small, landlocked kingdom, Swaziland is bordered in the north, west and south by the Republic of South Africa and by Mozambique in the east. Swaziland depends on South Africa for 60% of its exports and for more than 90% of its imports. Swaziland's currency is pegged to the South African rand, effectively relinquishing Swaziland's monetary policy to South Africa. The government is dependent on customs duties from the Southern African Customs Union (SACU) for 49% of revenue; income tax accounts for 27% and a valued added tax for 19% of revenues. Swaziland is a lower middle income country, but its income distribution is highly skewed, with an estimated 20% of the population controlling 80% of the nation’s wealth. As of 2017, more than one-quarter of the adult population was infected by HIV/AIDS; Swaziland has the world’s highest HIV prevalence rate.
    Subsistence agriculture employs approximately 70% of the population. The manufacturing sector diversified in the 1980s and 1990s, but manufacturing has grown little in the last decade. Sugar and soft drink concentrate are the largest foreign exchange earners. Mining has declined in importance in recent years. Coal, gold, diamond, and quarry stone mines are small scale, and the only iron ore mine closed in 2014.
    With an estimated 28% unemployment rate, Swaziland's need to increase the number and size of small and medium enterprises and to attract foreign direct investment is acute. On 1 January 2015, Swaziland lost its eligibility for benefits under the US African Growth and Opportunity Act after failing to meet benchmarks relating to workers’ rights.
    The IMF forecasted that Swaziland’s economy will grow at a slower pace in 2017 because of a region-wide drought, which is likely to hurt Swaziland’s revenue from sugar exports and other agricultural products; tourism and transport sectors will also decline. Overgrazing, soil depletion, drought, and floods are persistent problems. Swaziland’s revenue from SACU receipts also are projected to decline in 2017, making it harder for the government to maintain fiscal balance.
    $11.07 billion (2016 est.)
    $11.12 billion (2015 est.)
    $11 billion (2014 est.)
    note: data are in 2016 dollars
    country comparison to the world: 155
    $3.77 billion (2016 est.)
    -0.4% (2016 est.)
    1.1% (2015 est.)
    3.6% (2014 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 193
    $9,800 (2016 est.)
    $9,900 (2015 est.)
    $9,900 (2014 est.)
    note: data are in 2016 dollars
    country comparison to the world: 138
    7.1% of GDP (2016 est.)
    23% of GDP (2015 est.)
    11.6% of GDP (2014 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 161
    household consumption: 74.7%
    government consumption: 21.4%
    investment in fixed capital: 14.6%
    investment in inventories: -0.1%
    exports of goods and services: 34.5%
    imports of goods and services: -45.2% (2016 est.)
    agriculture: 6.6%
    industry: 39.7%
    services: 53.7% (2016 est.)
    sugarcane, corn, cotton, citrus, pineapples, cattle, goats
    soft drink concentrates, coal, forestry, sugar processing, textiles, and apparel
    -0.6% (2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 172
    295,200 (2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 162
    agriculture: 10.7%
    industry: NA%
    services: NA%
    28% (2014 est.)
    28% (2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 192
    63% (2010 est.)
    lowest 10%: 1.7%
    highest 10%: 40.1% (2010 est.)
    50.4 (2001)
    country comparison to the world: 16
    revenues: $1.299 billion
    expenditures: $1.672 billion (2017 est.)
    30.8% of GDP (2017 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 74
    -8.8% of GDP (2017 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 196
    8.7% of GDP (2017 est.)
    9% of GDP (2017 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 185
    1 April - 31 March
    8% (2016 est.)
    5% (2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 197
    7.25% (31 December 2016)
    6.5% (31 December 2015)
    country comparison to the world: 45
    10.5% (31 December 2016 est.)
    9.25% (31 December 2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 81
    $440.6 million (31 December 2016 est.)
    $365 million (31 December 2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 170
    $1.285 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
    $1.017 billion (31 December 2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 169
    $1.003 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
    $878.5 million (31 December 2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 161
    $NA
    $203.1 million (31 December 2007)
    $199.9 million (31 December 2006)
    -$195 million (2016 est.)
    $425 million (2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 87
    $1.276 billion (2016 est.)
    $1.698 billion (2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 149
    soft drink concentrates, sugar, timber, cotton yarn, refrigerators, citrus, and canned fruit
    South Africa 87.1%, Namibia 4% (2016)
    $1.178 billion (2016 est.)
    $11.36 billion (2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 177
    motor vehicles, machinery, transport equipment, foodstuffs, petroleum products, chemicals
    South Africa 60.3%, China 5.3%, Mozambique 5.1% (2016)
    $696.3 million (31 December 2016 est.)
    $698.9 million (31 December 2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 135
    $366 million (31 December 2016 est.)
    $339.1 million (31 December 2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 183
    $NA
    $NA
    emalangeni per US dollar -
    16.15 (2016 est.)
    12.76 (2015 est.)
    12.76 (2014 est.)
    10.85 (2013 est.)
    8.2 (2012 est.)
  • Energy :: SWAZILAND

  • population without electricity: 900,000
    electrification - total population: 27%
    electrification - urban areas: 40%
    electrification - rural areas: 24% (2013)
    123 million kWh (2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 194
    1.084 billion kWh (2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 151
    0 kWh (2013)
    country comparison to the world: 140
    961 million kWh (2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 66
    69,600 kW (2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 185
    13% of total installed capacity (2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 196
    0% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 189
    87% of total installed capacity (2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 16
    0% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 146
    0 bbl/day (2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 202
    0 bbl/day (2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 214
    0 bbl/day (2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 198
    0 bbl (1 January 2016)
    country comparison to the world: 201
    0 bbl/day (2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 216
    5,000 bbl/day (2014 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 176
    0 bbl/day (2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 216
    5,029 bbl/day (2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 167
    0 cu m (2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 215
    0 cu m (2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 150
    0 cu m (2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 192
    0 cu m (2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 213
    0 cu m (1 January 2014 es)
    country comparison to the world: 137
    600,000 Mt (2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 176
  • Communications :: SWAZILAND

  • total subscriptions: 42,000
    subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 3 (July 2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 166
    total: 995,000
    subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 69 (July 2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 160
    general assessment: a somewhat modern but not an advanced system
    domestic: Swaziland recently awarded a second mobile-cellular service; communication infrastructure has a geographic coverage of about 90% and a rising subscriber base; combined fixed-line and mobile cellular teledensity roughly 70 telephones per 100 persons; telephone system consists of carrier-equipped, open-wire lines and low-capacity, microwave radio relay
    international: country code - 268; satellite earth station - 1 Intelsat (Atlantic Ocean) (2017)
    1 state-owned TV station; satellite dishes are able to access South African providers; state-owned radio network with 3 channels; 1 private radio station (2017)
    .sz
    total: 414,724
    percent of population: 28.6% (July 2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 137
  • Transportation :: SWAZILAND

  • number of registered air carriers: 1
    inventory of registered aircraft operated by air carriers: 1
    annual passenger traffic on registered air carriers: 89,791
    annual freight traffic on registered air carriers: 0 mt-km (2015)
    3D (2016)
    14 (2013)
    country comparison to the world: 149
    total: 2
    over 3,047 m: 1
    2,438 to 3,047 m: 1 (2013)
    total: 12
    914 to 1,523 m: 5
    under 914 m: 7 (2013)
    total: 301 km
    narrow gauge: 301 km 1.067-m gauge (2014)
    country comparison to the world: 123
    total: 3,594 km
    paved: 1,078 km
    unpaved: 2,516 km (2002)
    country comparison to the world: 160
  • Military and Security :: SWAZILAND

  • 1.81% of GDP (2016)
    1.78% of GDP (2015)
    1.81% of GDP (2014)
    1.88% of GDP (2013)
    1.89% of GDP (2012)
    country comparison to the world: 18
    Umbutfo Swaziland Defense Force (USDF): Ground Force (includes Air Wing (no operational aircraft)) (2013)
    18-30 years of age for male and female voluntary military service; no conscription; compulsory HIV testing required, only HIV-negative applicants accepted (2012)
  • Transnational Issues :: SWAZILAND

  • in 2006, Swazi king advocated resorting to ICJ to claim parts of Mpumalanga and KwaZulu-Natal from South Africa