Swaziland

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PAGE LAST UPDATED ON NOVEMBER 29, 2011
Flag of Swaziland
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Location of Swaziland
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OF SWAZILAND
 

Introduction

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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 remains unclear. The African United Democratic Party tried unsuccessfully to register as an official political party in mid 2006. Talks over the constitution broke down between the government and progressive groups in 2007. Swaziland recently surpassed Botswana as the country with the world's highest known HIV/AIDS prevalence rate.
 
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Geography

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Southern Africa, between Mozambique and South Africa
 
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26 30 S, 31 30 E
 
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total: 17,364 sq km
country comparison to the world: 159
land: 17,204 sq km
water: 160 sq km
 
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slightly smaller than New Jersey
 
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total: 535 km
border countries: Mozambique 105 km, South Africa 430 km
 
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0 km (landlocked)
 
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none (landlocked)
 
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varies from tropical to near temperate
 
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mostly mountains and hills; some moderately sloping plains
 
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lowest point: Great Usutu River 21 m
highest point: Emlembe 1,862 m
 
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asbestos, coal, clay, cassiterite, hydropower, forests, small gold and diamond deposits, quarry stone, and talc
 
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arable land: 10.25%
permanent crops: 0.81%
other: 88.94% (2005)
 
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500 sq km (2008)
 
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4.5 cu km (1987)
 
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total: 1.04 cu km/yr (2%/1%/97%)
per capita: 1,010 cu m/yr (2000)
 
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drought
 
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limited supplies of potable water; wildlife populations being depleted because of excessive hunting; overgrazing; soil degradation; soil erosion
 
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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
 
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landlocked; almost completely surrounded by South Africa
 
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People and Society

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noun: Swazi(s)
adjective: Swazi
 
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African 97%, European 3%
 
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English (official, used for government business), siSwati (official)
 
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Zionist 40% (a blend of Christianity and indigenous ancestral worship), Roman Catholic 20%, Muslim 10%, other (includes Anglican, Baha'i, Methodist, Mormon, Jewish) 30%
 
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1,370,424 (July 2011 est.)
country comparison to the world: 153
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
 
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0-14 years: 37.8% (male 261,762/female 255,828)
15-64 years: 58.6% (male 399,746/female 403,681)
65 years and over: 3.6% (male 20,472/female 28,935) (2011 est.)
 
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total: 20.3 years
male: 19.9 years
female: 20.7 years (2011 est.)
 
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1.204% (2011 est.)
country comparison to the world: 98
 
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26.63 births/1,000 population (2011 est.)
country comparison to the world: 51
 
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14.6 deaths/1,000 population (July 2011 est.)
country comparison to the world: 12
 
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0 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2011 est.)
country comparison to the world: 108
 
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urban population: 21% of total population (2010)
rate of urbanization: 1.5% annual rate of change (2010-15 est.)
 
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MBABANE (capital) 74,000 (2009)
 
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at birth: 1.03 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.02 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 0.98 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.72 male(s)/female
total population: 0.99 male(s)/female (2011 est.)
 
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420 deaths/100,000 live births (2008)
country comparison to the world: 33
 
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total: 63.09 deaths/1,000 live births
country comparison to the world: 27
male: 67.14 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 58.93 deaths/1,000 live births (2011 est.)
 
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total population: 48.66 years
country comparison to the world: 218
male: 48.93 years
female: 48.39 years (2011 est.)
 
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3.11 children born/woman (2011 est.)
country comparison to the world: 58
 
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6.3% of GDP (2009)
country comparison to the world: 97
 
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0.16 physicians/1,000 population (2004)
country comparison to the world: 156
 
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2.1 beds/1,000 population (2006)
country comparison to the world: 98
 
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improved:
urban: 92% of population
rural: 61% of population
total: 69% of population
unimproved:
urban: 8% of population
rural: 39% of population
total: 31% of population (2008)
 
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improved:
urban: 61% of population
rural: 53% of population
total: 55% of population
unimproved:
urban: 39% of population
rural: 47% of population
total: 45% of population (2008)
 
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25.9% (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 1
 
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180,000 (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 30
 
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7,000 (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 31
 
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degree of risk: high
food or waterborne diseases: bacterial diarrhea, hepatitis A, and typhoid fever
vectorborne disease: malaria
water contact disease: schistosomiasis (2009)
 
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6.1% (2007)
country comparison to the world: 78
 
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7.8% of GDP (2008)
country comparison to the world: 12
 
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definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 81.6%
male: 82.6%
female: 80.8% (2003 est.)
 
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total: 11 years
male: 11 years
female: 10 years (2007)
 
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Government

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conventional long form: Kingdom of Swaziland
conventional short form: Swaziland
local long form: Umbuso weSwatini
local short form: eSwatini
 
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monarchy
 
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name: Mbabane
geographic coordinates: 26 18 S, 31 06 E
time difference: UTC+2 (7 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)
note: Lobamba (royal and legislative capital)
 
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4 districts; Hhohho, Lubombo, Manzini, Shiselweni
 
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6 September 1968 (from the UK)
 
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Independence Day, 6 September (1968)
 
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signed by the King July 2005; went into effect 8 February 2006
 
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mixed legal system of civil, common, and customary law
 
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accepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction with reservations; non-party state to the ICCt
 
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18 years of age
 
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chief of state: King MSWATI III (since 25 April 1986)
head of government: Prime Minister Barnabas Sibusiso DLAMINI (since 16 October 2008)
cabinet: Cabinet recommended by the prime minister and confirmed by the monarch
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elections: none; the monarchy is hereditary; prime minister appointed by the monarch from among the elected members of the House of Assembly
 
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bicameral Parliament or Libandla consists of the Senate (30 seats; 10 members appointed by the House of Assembly and 20 appointed by the monarch; members to serve five-year terms) and the House of Assembly (65 seats; 10 members appointed by the monarch and 55 elected by popular vote; members to serve five-year terms)
elections: House of Assembly - last held on 19 September 2008 (next to be held in 2013)
election results: House of Assembly - balloting is done on a nonparty basis; candidates for election nominated by the local council of each constituency and for each constituency the three candidates with the most votes in the first round of voting are narrowed to a single winner by a second round
 
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High Court; Supreme Court; judges for both courts are appointed by the monarch
 
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the status of political parties, previously banned, is unclear under the 2006 Constitution and currently being debated; the following are considered political associations; African United Democratic Party or AUDP [Stanley MAUNDZISA, president]; Imbokodvo National Movement or INM; Ngwane National Liberatory Congress or NNLC [Obed DLAMINI, president]; People's United Democratic Movement or PUDEMO [Mario MASUKU, president]
 
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Swaziland Democracy Campaign; Swaziland Federation of Trade Unions; Swaziland Solidarity Network or SSN
 
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ACP, AfDB, AU, C, COMESA, FAO, G-77, IBRD, ICAO, ICRM, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, IMO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, ISO (correspondent), ITSO, ITU, ITUC, MIGA, NAM, OPCW, PCA, SACU, SADC, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UNWTO, UPU, WCO, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO
 
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chief of mission: Ambassador Abednigo Mandla NTSHANGASE
chancery: 1712 New Hampshire Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20009
telephone: [1] (202) 234-5002
FAX: [1] (202) 234-8254
 
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chief of mission: Ambassador Earl M. IRVING
embassy: 2350 Mbabane Place, Mbabane
mailing address: P. O. Box 199, Mbabane
telephone: [268] 404-2445
FAX: [268] 404-2059
 
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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
 
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lion; elephant
 
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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; the anthem uses elements of both ethnic Swazi and Western music styles
 
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Economy

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In this small, landlocked economy, subsistence agriculture occupies approximately 70% of the population. The manufacturing sector has diversified since the mid-1980s. Sugar and wood pulp were major foreign exchange earners; however, the wood pulp producer closed in January 2010, and sugar is now the main export earner. In 2007, the sugar industry increased efficiency and diversification efforts, in response to a 17% decline in EU sugar prices. Mining has declined in importance in recent years with only coal and quarry stone mines remaining active. Surrounded by South Africa, except for a short border with Mozambique, Swaziland is heavily dependent on South Africa from which it receives more than nine-tenths of its imports and to which it sends 60% of its exports. Swaziland's currency is pegged to the South African rand, subsuming Swaziland's monetary policy to South Africa. The government is heavily dependent on customs duties from the Southern African Customs Union (SACU), and worker remittances from South Africa substantially supplement domestically earned income. The government has also legislated that 30% of local pension funds need to be invested in Swaziland, boosting demand for government bonds. Customs revenues plummeted due to the global economic crisis and a drop in South African imports. The resulting decline in revenue has pushed the country into a fiscal crisis. The government has requested assistance from the IMF and from the African Development Bank. With an estimated 40% unemployment rate, Swaziland's need to increase the number and size of small and medium enterprises and attract foreign direct investment is acute. Overgrazing, soil depletion, drought, and floods persist as problems for the future. More than one-fourth of the population needed emergency food aid in 2006-07 because of drought, and more than one-quarter of the adult population has been infected by HIV/AIDS.
 
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$6.067 billion (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 156
$5.949 billion (2009 est.)
$5.881 billion (2008 est.)
note: data are in 2010 US dollars
 
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$3.553 billion (2010 est.)
 
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2% (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 146
1.2% (2009 est.)
3.1% (2008 est.)
 
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$4,500 (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 154
$4,400 (2009 est.)
$4,500 (2008 est.)
note: data are in 2010 US dollars
 
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agriculture: 7.4%
industry: 49.4%
services: 43.2% (2010 est.)
 
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457,900 (2007)
country comparison to the world: 155
 
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agriculture: 70%
industry: NA%
services: NA%
 
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40% (2006 est.)
country comparison to the world: 186
 
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69% (2006)
 
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lowest 10%: 1.6%
highest 10%: 40.7% (2001)
 
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50.4 (2001)
country comparison to the world: 22
 
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16.2% of GDP (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 155
 
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revenues: $970.6 million
expenditures: $1.517 billion (2010 est.)
 
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27.3% of GDP (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 109
 
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-15.4% of GDP (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 206
 
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4.5% (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 143
7.4% (2009 est.)
 
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6.5% (31 December 2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 52
6.5% (31 December 2009 est.)
 
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9.75% (31 December 2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 91
11.375% (31 December 2009 est.)
 
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$354.6 million (31 December 2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 164
$317.2 million (31 December 2009 est.)
 
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$1.42 billion (31 December 2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 152
$1.048 billion (31 December 2009 est.)
 
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$425.2 million (31 December 2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 169
$313.7 million (31 December 2009 est.)
 
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$NA (31 December 2009)
country comparison to the world: 114
$203.1 million (31 December 2007)
$199.9 million (31 December 2006)
 
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sugarcane, cotton, corn, tobacco, rice, citrus, pineapples, sorghum, peanuts; cattle, goats, sheep
 
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coal, wood pulp, sugar, soft drink concentrates, textiles and apparel
 
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1% (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 146
 
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470 million kWh (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 162
 
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1.207 billion kWh (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 146
 
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0 kWh (2009)
 
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756 million kWh; note - electricity supplied by South Africa (2009 est.)
 
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0 bbl/day (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 203
 
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4,000 bbl/day (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 175
 
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0 bbl/day (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 138
 
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4,464 bbl/day (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 165
 
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0 bbl (1 January 2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 211
 
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0 cu m (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 210
 
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0 cu m (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 135
 
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0 cu m (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 208
 
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0 cu m (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 78
 
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0 cu m (1 January 2011 est.)
country comparison to the world: 208
 
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-$748.8 million (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 124
-$415.1 million (2009 est.)
 
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$1.764 billion (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 137
$1.66 billion (2009 est.)
 
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soft drink concentrates, sugar, wood pulp, cotton yarn, refrigerators, citrus and canned fruit
 
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$2.053 billion (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 154
$1.781 billion (2009 est.)
 
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motor vehicles, machinery, transport equipment, foodstuffs, petroleum products, chemicals
 
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$756.3 million (31 December 2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 142
$958.9 million (31 December 2009 est.)
 
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$445.6 million (31 December 2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 166
$417.8 million (31 December 2009 est.)
 
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$NA
 
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$NA
 
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emalangeni per US dollar -
7.57 (2010)
8.42 (2009)
7.75 (2008)
7.4 (2007)
6.85 (2006)
 
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Communications

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44,000 (2010)
country comparison to the world: 168
 
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732,700 (2010)
country comparison to the world: 155
 
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general assessment: a somewhat modern but not an advanced system
domestic: single source for mobile-cellular service with a geographic coverage of about 90% and a rising subscribership base; combined fixed-line and mobile cellular teledensity exceeded 60 telephones per 100 persons in 2009; 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) (2009)
 
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state-owned TV station; satellite dishes are able to access South African providers; state-owned radio network with 3 channels; 1 private radio station (2007)
 
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.sz
 
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2,335 (2010)
country comparison to the world: 152
 
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90,100 (2009)
country comparison to the world: 162
 
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Transportation

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15 (2010)
country comparison to the world: 148
 
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total: 2
over 3,047 m: 1
2,438 to 3,047 m: 1 (2010)
 
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total: 13
914 to 1,523 m: 6
under 914 m: 7 (2010)
 
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total: 301 km
country comparison to the world: 120
narrow gauge: 301 km 1.067-m gauge (2008)
 
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total: 3,594 km
country comparison to the world: 160
paved: 1,078 km
unpaved: 2,516 km (2002)
 
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Military

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Umbutfo Swaziland Defense Force (USDF): Ground Force (includes Air Wing) (2010)
 
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18-30 years of age for male and female voluntary military service; no conscription; compulsory HIV testing required, only HIV-negative applicants accepted (2011)
 
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males age 16-49: 344,038 (2010 est.)
 
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males age 16-49: 201,853
females age 16-49: 175,477 (2010 est.)
 
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male: 16,168
female: 15,763 (2010 est.)
 
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4.7% of GDP (2006)
country comparison to the world: 18
 
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Transnational Issues

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in 2006, Swazi king advocates resort to ICJ to claim parts of Mpumalanga and KwaZulu-Natal from South Africa
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