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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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Economy - overview
Surrounded by South Africa, except for a short border with Mozambique, Swaziland depends heavily on South Africa from which it receives more than 90% of its imports and to which it sends 60% of its exports. Swaziland's currency is pegged to the South African rand, effectively 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 supplement domestically earned income. Subsistence agriculture employs 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. 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, but in 2011 was not able to meet the targets-including cutting the wage bill and improving spending controls-necessary to receive aid. Swaziland is looking to other countries, including South Africa, for assistance, but continues to struggle to meet its monthly payroll and fund government programs. 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.

Gdp (purchasing power parity) World Ranking: 158
$6.313 billion (2011 est.)
$6.296 billion (2010 est.)
$6.173 billion (2009 est.)
Note Data are in 2011 US dollars

Gdp (official exchange rate)
$3.947 billion (2011 est.)

Gdp - real growth rate World Ranking: 191
0.3% (2011 est.)
2% (2010 est.)
1.2% (2009 est.)

Gdp - per capita (ppp) World Ranking: 148
$5,400 (2011 est.)
$5,300 (2010 est.)
$5,200 (2009 est.)
Note Data are in 2011 US dollars

Gdp - composition by sector
Agriculture 8.2%
Industry 46.9%
Services 44.9% (2011 est.)

Labor force World Ranking: 157
457,900 (2007)

Labor force - by occupation
Agriculture 70%
Industry NA%
Services NA%

Unemployment rate World Ranking: 186
40% (2006 est.)

Population below poverty line
69% (2006)

Household income or consumption by percentage share
Lowest 10% 1.7%
Highest 10% 40.1% (2010 est.)

Distribution of family income - gini index World Ranking: 21
50.4 (2001)

Investment (gross fixed) World Ranking: 145
11.5% of GDP (2011 est.)

Revenues $1.006 billion
Expenditures $1.488 billion (2011 est.)

Taxes and other revenues World Ranking: 123
25.5% of GDP (2011 est.)

Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-) World Ranking: 204
-12.2% of GDP (2011 est.)

Inflation rate (consumer prices) World Ranking: 149
6.1% (2011 est.)
4.5% (2010 est.)

Central bank discount rate World Ranking: 57
6.5% (31 December 2010 est.)
6.5% (31 December 2009 est.)

Commercial bank prime lending rate World Ranking: 98
9% (31 December 2011 est.)
9.75% (31 December 2010 est.)

Stock of narrow money World Ranking: 168
$353.9 million (31 December 2011 est.)
$384.3 million (31 December 2010 est.)

Stock of broad money World Ranking: 166
$1.078 billion (31 December 2011 est.)
$1.42 billion (31 December 2010 est.)

Stock of domestic credit World Ranking: 160
$948.6 million (31 December 2011 est.)
$708.9 million (31 December 2010 est.)

Market value of publicly traded shares World Ranking: 113
$NA (31 December 2009)
$203.1 million (31 December 2007)
$199.9 million (31 December 2006)

Agriculture - products
Sugarcane, cotton, corn, tobacco, rice, citrus, pineapples, sorghum, peanuts; cattle, goats, sheep

Coal, wood pulp, sugar, soft drink concentrates, textiles and apparel

Industrial production growth rate World Ranking: 138
1% (2010 est.)

Electricity - production World Ranking: 159
470 million kWh (2008 est.)

Electricity - consumption World Ranking: 144
1.207 billion kWh (2008 est.)

Electricity - exports
0 kWh (2009)

Electricity - imports
756 million kWh; note - electricity supplied by South Africa (2009 est.)

Oil - production World Ranking: 137
0 bbl/day (2010 est.)

Oil - consumption World Ranking: 174
4,000 bbl/day (2010 est.)

Oil - exports World Ranking: 200
0 bbl/day (2009 est.)

Oil - imports World Ranking: 162
4,464 bbl/day (2009 est.)

Oil - proved reserves World Ranking: 196
0 bbl (1 January 2010 est.)

Natural gas - production World Ranking: 131
0 cu m (2009 est.)

Natural gas - consumption World Ranking: 135
0 cu m (2009 est.)

Natural gas - exports World Ranking: 186
0 cu m (2009 est.)

Natural gas - imports World Ranking: 131
0 cu m (2009 est.)

Natural gas - proved reserves World Ranking: 132
0 cu m (1 January 2011 est.)

Current account balance World Ranking: 82
-$211 million (2011 est.)
-$388.5 million (2010 est.)

Exports World Ranking: 142
$2.049 billion (2011 est.)
$1.805 billion (2010 est.)

Exports - commodities
Soft drink concentrates, sugar, wood pulp, cotton yarn, refrigerators, citrus and canned fruit

Imports World Ranking: 158
$2.076 billion (2011 est.)
$1.955 billion (2010 est.)

Imports - commodities
Motor vehicles, machinery, transport equipment, foodstuffs, petroleum products, chemicals

Reserves of foreign exchange and gold World Ranking: 143
$600.5 million (31 December 2011 est.)
$756.3 million (31 December 2010 est.)

Debt - external World Ranking: 160
$703.1 million (31 December 2011 est.)
$615.9 million (31 December 2010 est.)

Stock of direct foreign investment - at home

Stock of direct foreign investment - abroad

Exchange rates
Emalangeni per US dollar -
7.2611 (2011 est.)
7.3212 (2010 est.)
8.42 (2009)
7.75 (2008)
7.4 (2007)

Fiscal year
1 April - 31 March


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Swaziland (Mbabane):
Country Flag
Country Locator

GPS points from Swaziland (Mbabane)

square Sidvokodvo Swaziland (general)

square Mzimneni Swaziland (general)

square Mbutini Hills Swaziland (general)

square Matsapha Manzini District

square Nyonyane Swaziland (general)

square Madulini Kop Swaziland (general)

square Mozane Swaziland (general)

square Makwana Kop Swaziland (general)

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