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World Mission

Swaziland

Basic info

  • Area: 17,364 sq km
  • Population: 1,467,152
  • Infant mortality: 48.4 deaths/1,000 live births
  • Life expectancy: 52.1 years
  • Urbanisation: 23.8% of total population
  • Literacy: 87.5%

History

Autonomy for the Swazis of southern Africa was guaranteed by the British in the late 19th century; independence was granted in 1968. Student and labour unrest during the 1990s pressured King MSWATI III to grudgingly allow political reform and greater democracy, although he has gone back 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. Eswatini has surpassed Botswana as the country with the world's highest known HIV/AIDS prevalence rate.

Environment

The climate varies from tropical to near temperate, while the terrain is mostly mountains and hills with some moderately sloping plains.

Economy

A small, landlocked kingdom, Eswatini is bordered in the north, west and south by the Republic of South Africa and by Mozambique in the east. Eswatini depends on South Africa for a majority of its exports and imports. Eswatini's currency is pegged to the South African rand, effectively relinquishing Eswatini's monetary policy to South Africa. The government is dependent on customs duties from the Southern African Customs Union (SACU) for almost half of its revenue. Eswatini is a lower middle income country. As of 2017, more than one-quarter of the adult population was infected by HIV/AIDS; Eswatini has the world’s highest HIV prevalence rate. 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, although a drought in 2015-16 decreased sugar production and exports. Overgrazing, soil depletion, drought, and floods are persistent problems. 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, Eswatini's need to increase the number and size of small and medium enterprises and to attract foreign direct investment is acute. Eswatini's national development strategy, which expires in 2022, prioritizes increases in infrastructure, agriculture production, and economic diversification, while aiming to reduce poverty and government spending. Eswatini's revenue from SACU receipts are likely to continue to decline as South Africa pushes for a new distribution scheme, making it harder for the government to maintain fiscal balance without introducing new sources of revenue.

Ethnic groups

Ethnic Groups(%)

African

97

European

3

Religion

Religion(%)

Jehovah's Witness)

90

Jewish)

8

Muslim

2

Languages

  • 95%

    Swazi

  • 90%

    English