Economy of Swaziland

Economy of Swaziland

Infobox Economy
country = Swaziland

width =
caption =
currency = lilangeni (SZL), South African rand (ZAR)
year = 1 April - 31 March
organs = WTO, SADC, SACU
rank = 154th
gdp = $5.936 billion (2006 est.)
growth = 1.2% (2006 est.)
per capita = $5,200 (2005 est.)
sectors = agriculture: 11.9%, industry: 51.5%, services: 36.6% (2005 est.)
inflation = 5,4% (2006 est.)
poverty = 69% (2005)
labor = 155,700 (2003)
occupations = no data
unemployment = 40% (2005 est.)
industries = mining (coal, raw asbestos), wood pulp, sugar, soft drink concentrates, textile and apparel
exports = $1.991 billion f.o.b. (2005 est.)
export-goods = soft drink concentrates, sugar, wood pulp, cotton yarn, refrigerators, citrus and canned fruit
export-partners = South Africa 59.7%, EU 8.8%, US 8.8%, Mozambique 6.2% (2004)
imports = $2.149 billion f.o.b. (2005 est.)
import-goods = motor vehicles, machinery, transport equipment, foodstuffs, petroleum products, chemicals
import-partners = South Africa 95.6%, EU 0.9%, Japan 0.9%, Singapore 0.3% (2004)
debt = $357 million (2003 est.)
revenue = $805.6 million (2005)
expenses = $957.1 million; including capital expenditures of $147 million (2005)
aid = "recipient": $104 million (2001)
cianame = wz

Swaziland is a small and landlocked economy, in which subsistence agriculture occupies more than 80% of the population. Most of the high-level economic activity is in the hands of non-Africans, but ethnic Swazis are becoming more active. Small entrepreneurs are moving into middle management positions. 70% of Swazis live in rural areas and are being ravaged by drought and a resulting food crisis that threatens hundreds of thousands with hunger. The past few years have seen wavering economic growth, which has been exacerbated by the economy's inability to create new jobs at the same rate that new job seekers enter the market. This is due largely in part to the country's population growth rate that strains the natural heritage and the country's ability to provide adequate social services, such as health care and education. Overgrazing, soil depletion, drought, and floods are persistent problems. 2004 Swaziland has acknowledged for the first time that it has one of the highest Aids rates in the world, with almost 40% of adults infected with the HIV (see AIDS in Africa). Prime Minister Themba Dlamini has declared a humanitarian crisis due to the combined effect of drought and land degradation, increasing poverty and HIV/Aids. The United Nations special envoy on AIDS Stephen Lewis said “Swaziland stands alone with the world's highest rate of HIV infection after nearby Botswana made headway against the deadly pandemic”

Nearly 60% of Swazi territory is held by the Crown in trust of the Swazi nation. The balance is privately owned, much of it by foreigners. The questions of land use and ownership remains a very sensitive one. For Swazis living on rural homesteads, the principal occupation is either subsistence farming or livestock herding. Culturally, cattle are important symbols of wealth and status, but they are being used increasingly for milk, meat, and profit.

Swaziland enjoys well-developed road links with South Africa. Swazi Rail operates its railroads that run east to west and north to south. The older east-west link, called the Goba line, makes it possible to export bulk goods from Swaziland through the Port of Maputo in Mozambique. Until recently, most of Swaziland's imports were shipped through this port. Conflict in Mozambique in the 1980s diverted many Swazi exports to ports in South Africa. A north-south rail link, completed in 1986, provides a connection between the Eastern Transvaal (now Mpumalanga) rail network and the South African ports of Richards Bay and Durban.

The sugar industry, based solely on irrigated cane, is Swaziland's leading export earner and private-sector employer. Soft drink concentrate (a U.S. investment) is the country's largest export earner, followed by wood pulp and lumber from cultivated pine forests. Pineapple, citrus fruit, and cotton are other important agricultural exports.

Swaziland mines coal and diamonds for export. There also is a quarry industry for domestic consumption. Mining contributes about 1.8% of Swaziland's GDP each year but has been declining in importance in recent years.

Recently, a number of industrial firms have located at the industrial estate at Matsapha near Manzini. In addition to processed agricultural and forestry products, the fast-growing industrial sector at Matsapha also produces garments, textiles, and a variety of light manufactured products. The Swaziland Industrial Development Company (SIDC) and the Swaziland Investment Promotion Authority (SIPA) have assisted in bringing many of these industries to the country. Government programs encourage Swazi entrepreneurs to run small and medium-sized firms. Tourism also is important, attracting more than 424,000 visitors annually (mostly from Europe and South Africa).

From the mid-1980s foreign investment in the manufacturing sector boosted economic growth rates significantly. Since mid-1985, the depreciated value of the currency has increased the competitiveness of Swazi exports and moderated the growth of imports, generating trade surpluses. During the 1990s, the country often ran small trade deficits. South Africa and the European Union are major customers for Swazi exports. The United States is a significant market for Swazi sugar, a market that would presumably extend to textiles should Swaziland become a beneficiary of the African Growth Opportunity Act.

Swaziland, Lesotho, Botswana, Namibia, and the Republic of South Africa form the Southern African Customs Union (SACU), where import duties apply uniformly to member countries. Swaziland, Lesotho, Namibia, and South Africa also are members of the Common Monetary Area (CMA) in which repatriation and unrestricted funds are permitted. Swaziland issues its own currency, the lilangeni (plural: emalangeni), which is at par with the South African rand.

Other economic statistics

Household income or consumption by percentage share:
"lowest 10%:"1%
"highest 10%:"50.2% (1995)

Industrial production growth rate:3.7% (FY95/96)

Electricity - production:348.3 GWh (2001), 420 GWh (1998)

Electricity - production by source:
"fossil fuel:"58% (2001), 48.81% (1998)
"hydro:"42% (2001), 51.19% (1998)
"nuclear:"0% (2001, 1998)
"other:"0% (2001,1998)

Electricity - consumption:962.9 GWh (2001), 1.078 GWh (1998)

Electricity - exports:0 kWh (2001, 1998)

Electricity - imports:639 GWh (2001), 687 GWh (1998)
"note:"imports about 60% of its electricity from South Africa (1998)

Currency:1 lilangeni (E) = 100 cents

Exchange rates:emalangeni (E) per US$1 - 10.5407 (2002), 8.6092 (2001), 6.9398 (2000), 6.1087 (1999), 5.4807 (1998), 4.6032 (1997), 4.2706 (1996), 3.6266 (1995); note - the Lilangeni is at par with the South African rand

ee also

* Economy of Africa
* Economy of South Africa

External links

* [ CIA World Factbook: Swaziland]
* [ MBendi Swaziland overview]
* []

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