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Flag of Swaziland
Map of Swaziland
Introduction Swaziland
Autonomy for the Swazis of southern Africa was guaranteed by the British in the late 19th century; independence was granted 1968. Student and labor unrest during the 1990s have pressured the monarchy (one of the oldest on the continent) to grudgingly allow political reform and greater democracy.
Geography Swaziland
Southern Africa, between Mozambique and South Africa
Geographic coordinates:
26 30 S, 31 30 E
Map references:
total: 17,363 sq km
water: 160 sq km
land: 17,203 sq km
Area - comparative:
slightly smaller than New Jersey
Land boundaries:
total: 535 km
border countries: Mozambique 105 km, South Africa 430 km
0 km (landlocked)
Maritime claims:
none (landlocked)
varies from tropical to near temperate
mostly mountains and hills; some moderately sloping plains
Elevation extremes:
lowest point: Great Usutu River 21 m
highest point: Emlembe 1,862 m
Natural resources:
asbestos, coal, clay, cassiterite, hydropower, forests, small gold and diamond deposits, quarry stone, and talc
Land use:
arable land: 9.77%
permanent crops: 0.7%
other: 89.53% (1998 est.)
Irrigated land:
690 sq km (1998 est.)
Natural hazards:
Environment - current issues:
limited supplies of potable water; wildlife populations being depleted because of excessive hunting; overgrazing; soil degradation; soil erosion
Environment - international agreements:
party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Endangered Species, Nuclear Test Ban, Ozone Layer Protection
signed, but not ratified: Desertification, Law of the Sea
Geography - note:
landlocked; almost completely surrounded by South Africa
People Swaziland
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 and death rates, lower population and growth rates, and changes in the distribution of population by age and sex than would otherwise be expected (July 2002 est.)
Age structure:
0-14 years: 45.5% (male 254,573; female 256,677)
15-64 years: 51.9% (male 281,645; female 301,071)
65 years and over: 2.6% (male 12,027; female 17,612) (2002 est.)
Population growth rate:
1.63% (2002 est.)
Birth rate:
39.59 births/1,000 population (2002 est.)
Death rate:
23.26 deaths/1,000 population (2002 est.)
Net migration rate:
0 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2002 est.)
Sex ratio:
at birth: 1.03 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 0.99 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 0.94 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.68 male(s)/female
total population: 0.95 male(s)/female (2002 est.)
Infant mortality rate:
109.43 deaths/1,000 live births (2002 est.)
Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 37 years
female: 37.66 years (2002 est.)
male: 36.35 years
Total fertility rate:
5.77 children born/woman (2002 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:
35.6% (2002 est.)
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:
212,000 (2002 est.)
HIV/AIDS - deaths:
7,100 (1999 est.)
noun: Swazi(s)
adjective: Swazi
Ethnic groups:
African 97%, European 3%
Zionist (a blend of Christianity and indigenous ancestral worship) 40%, Roman Catholic 20%, Muslim 10%, Anglican, Bahai, Methodist, Mormon, Jewish and other 30%
English (official, government business conducted in English), siSwati (official)
definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 78.3%
male: 78%
female: 78.4% (1999 est.)
Government Swaziland
Country name:
conventional long form: Kingdom of Swaziland
conventional short form: Swaziland
Government type:
monarchy; independent member of Commonwealth
Mbabane; note - Lobamba is the royal and legislative capital
Administrative divisions:
4 districts; Hhohho, Lubombo, Manzini, Shiselweni
6 September 1968 (from UK)
National holiday:
Independence Day, 6 September (1968)
none; constitution of 6 September 1968 was suspended 12 April 1973; a new constitution was promulgated 13 October 1978, but was not formally presented to the people; since then a few more outlines for a constitution have been compiled under the Constitutional Review Commission (CRC), but so far none have been accepted
Legal system:
based on South African Roman-Dutch law in statutory courts and Swazi traditional law and custom in traditional courts; has not accepted compulsory ICJ jurisdiction
18 years of age
Executive branch:
chief of state: King MSWATI III (since 25 April 1986)
head of government: Prime Minister Sibusiso Barnabas DLAMINI (since 9 August 1996)
cabinet: Cabinet recommended by the prime minister and confirmed by the monarch
elections: none; the monarch is hereditary; prime minister appointed by the monarch
Legislative branch:
bicameral Parliament or Libandla, an advisory body, consists of the Senate (30 seats - 10 appointed by the House of Assembly and 20 appointed by the monarch; members serve five-year terms) and the House of Assembly (65 seats - 10 appointed by the monarch and 55 elected by popular vote; members serve five-year terms)
elections: House of Assembly - last held 16 and 24 October 1998 (next to be held NA 2003)
election results: House of Assembly - balloting is done on a nonparty basis; candidates for election are 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
Judicial branch:
High Court; Court of Appeal; judges for both courts are appointed by the monarch
Political parties and leaders:
political parties are banned by the constitution - the following are considered political associations - Imbokodvo National Movement or INM [leader NA]; Ngwane National Libertatory Congress or NNLC [Obed DLAMINI, president]; People's United Democratic Movement or PUDEMO [Mario MASUKU, president]; Swaziland National Front or SWANAFRO [Elmond SHONGWE, president]
Political pressure groups and leaders:
International organization participation:
Diplomatic representation in the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador Mary Madzandza KANYA
FAX: [1] (202) 244-8059
telephone: [1] (202) 362-6683
chancery: 3400 International Drive NW, Washington, DC 20008
Diplomatic representation from the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador James D. McGEE
embassy: Central Bank Building, Warner Street, Mbabane
mailing address: P. O. Box 199, Mbabane
telephone: [268] 404-6441 through 404-6445
FAX: [268] 404-5959
Flag description:
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
Economy Swaziland
Economy - overview:
In this small landlocked economy, subsistence agriculture occupies more than 80% of the population. Manufacturing features a number of agroprocessing factories. Mining has declined in importance in recent years: diamond mines have shut down because of the depletion of easily accessible reserves; high-grade iron ore deposits were depleted by 1978; and health concerns have cut world demand for asbestos. Exports of soft drink concentrate, sugar, and wood pulp are the main earners of hard currency. Surrounded by South Africa, except for a short border with Mozambique, Swaziland is heavily dependent on South Africa from which it receives nine-tenths of its imports and to which it sends more than two-thirds of its exports. Remittances from the Southern African Customs Union and Swazi workers in South African mines substantially supplement domestically earned income. The government is trying to improve the atmosphere for foreign investment. Overgrazing, soil depletion, drought, and sometimes floods persist as problems for the future. Prospects for 2002 are strengthened by the country's status as a beneficiary of the US African Growth and Opportunity Act initiative.
purchasing power parity - $4.6 billion (2001 est.)
GDP - real growth rate:
2.5% (2001 est.)
GDP - per capita:
purchasing power parity - $4,200 (2001 est.)
GDP - composition by sector:
agriculture: 10%
industry: 43%
services: 47% (1999 est.)
Population below poverty line:
Household income or consumption by percentage share:
lowest 10%: NA%
highest 10%: NA%
Inflation rate (consumer prices):
7.5% (2001 est.)
Labor force:
Labor force - by occupation:
Unemployment rate:
34% (2000 est.)
revenues: $448 million
expenditures: $506.9 million, including capital expenditures of $147 million (FY01/02 )
mining (coal), wood pulp, sugar, soft drink concentrates, textile and apparel
Industrial production growth rate:
3.7% (FY95/96)
Electricity - production:
362 million kWh (2000)
Electricity - production by source:
fossil fuel: 56%
other: 0% (2000)
hydro: 44%
nuclear: 0%
Electricity - consumption:
900.66 million kWh (2000)
Electricity - exports:
0 kWh (2000)
Electricity - imports:
564 million kWh
note: supplied by South Africa (2000)
Agriculture - products:
sugarcane, cotton, corn, tobacco, rice, citrus, pineapples, sorghum, peanuts; cattle, goats, sheep
$702 million f.o.b. (2001)
Exports - commodities:
soft drink concentrates, sugar, wood pulp, cotton yarn, refrigerators, citrus and canned fruit
Exports - partners:
South Africa 72%, EU 12%, UK 6%, Mozambique 4%, US 4% (1999)
$850 million f.o.b. (2001)
Imports - commodities:
motor vehicles, machinery, transport equipment, foodstuffs, petroleum products, chemicals
Imports - partners:
South Africa 89%, EU 5%, Japan 2%, Singapore 2% (2000)
Debt - external:
$336 million (2001 est.)
Economic aid - recipient:
$104 million (2001)
lilangeni (SZL)
Currency code:
Exchange rates:
emalangeni per US dollar - 11.5808 (January 2002), 8.4933 (2001), 6.9056 (2000), 6.1087 (1999), 5.4807 (1998), 4.6032 (1997); note - the Swazi lilangeni is at par with the South African rand; emalangeni is the plural form of lilangeni
Fiscal year:
1 April - 31 March
Communications Swaziland
Telephones - main lines in use:
38,500 (2001)
Telephones - mobile cellular:
45,000 (2001)
Telephone system:
general assessment: a somewhat modern but not an advanced system
domestic: system consists of carrier-equipped, open-wire lines and low-capacity, microwave radio relay
international: satellite earth station - 1 Intelsat (Atlantic Ocean)
Radio broadcast stations:
AM 3, FM 2 plus 4 repeaters, shortwave 3 (2001)
170,000 (1999)
Television broadcast stations:
5 plus 7 relay stations (2001)
23,000 (2000)
Internet country code:
Internet Service Providers (ISPs):
6 (2001)
Internet users:
14,000 (2002)
Transportation Swaziland
total: 297 km
narrow gauge: 297 km 1.067-m gauge
note: includes 71 km which are not in use (2001)
total: 3,800 km
paved: 1,064 km
unpaved: 2,736 km (2002)
Ports and harbors:
18 (2001)
Airports - with paved runways:
total: 1
2,438 to 3,047 m: 1 (2002)
Airports - with unpaved runways:
total: 17
914 to 1,523 m: 7
under 914 m: 10 (2002)
Military Swaziland
Military branches:
Umbutfo Swaziland Defense Force (Army), Royal Swaziland Police Force
Military manpower - availability:
males age 15-49: 253,510 (2002 est.)
Military manpower - fit for military service:
males age 15-49: 146,805 (2002 est.)
Military expenditures - dollar figure:
$20 million (FY01/02)
Military expenditures - percent of GDP:
4.75% (FY00/01)
Transnational Issues Swaziland
Disputes - international:
Swaziland continues to press South Africa into ceding ethnic Swazi lands in Kangwane region of KwaZulu-Natal province that were long ago part of the Swazi Kingdom

This page was last updated on 19 March 2003