The Economy of Swaziland

The Economy of Swaziland

Swazi Economy

Economy - overview: 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 remain important foreign exchange earners. 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. Customs duties from the Southern African Customs Union, which may equal as much as 70% of government revenue this year, and worker remittances from South Africa substantially supplement domestically earned income. Swaziland is not poor enough to merit an IMF program; however, the country is struggling to reduce the size of the civil service and control costs at public enterprises. The government is trying to improve the atmosphere for foreign investment. 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 sometimes 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 nearly two-fifths of the adult population has been infected by HIV/AIDS.


GDP - real growth rate: 2.7% (2008 est.) 3.5% (2007 est.) 2.8% (2006 est.)

GDP - per capita:

GDP - composition by sector: agriculture: 11.9% industry: 45.1% services: 43% (2008 est.)

Population below poverty line:

Household income or consumption by percentage share: lowest 10%: 1.6% highest 10%: 40.7% (2001)

Distribution of family income - Gini index: 50.4 (2001)

Inflation rate (consumer prices):

Labor force: 300,000 (2006)

Labor force - by occupation: agriculture: NA% industry: NA% services: NA%

Unemployment rate: 40% (2006 est.)

Budget: revenues: $1.215 billion expenditures: $1.155 billion (2008 est.)

Industries: coal, wood pulp, sugar, soft drink concentrates, textiles and apparel

Industrial production growth rate: 1.1% (2008 est.)

Electricity - production: 460 million kWh (2007)

Electricity - production by source:

Electricity - consumption: 1.2 billion kWh (2007)

Electricity - exports: 0 kWh (2007)

Electricity - imports: 872 million kWh; note - electricity supplied by South Africa (2007)

Oil - production: 0 bbl/day (2007 est.)

Oil - consumption: 3,490 bbl/day (2006 est.)

Oil - exports: 0 bbl/day (2005)

Oil - imports: 3,530 bbl/day (2005)

Oil - proved reserves: 0 bbl (1 January 2006 est.)

Natural gas - production: 0 cu m (2007 est.)

Natural gas - consumption: 0 cu m (2007 est.)

Natural gas - exports: 0 cu m (2007 est.)

Natural gas - imports: 0 cu m (2007 est.)

Natural gas - proved reserves: 0 cu m (1 January 2006 est.)

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

Exports: $1.83 billion f.o.b. (2008 est.)

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

Exports - partners:

Imports: $1.978 billion f.o.b. (2008 est.)

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

Imports - partners:

Debt - external: $548 million (31 December 2008 est.)

Economic aid - recipient:


Currency code:

Exchange rates: emalangeni per US dollar - 7.75 (2008 est.), 7.4 (2007), 6.85 (2006), 6.3593 (2005), 6.4597 (2004)

Fiscal year:

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