Economy in Swaziland

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Economy—overview: In this small landlocked economy subsistence agriculture occupies more than 60% of the population. Manufacturing features a number of agroprocessing factories. Mining has declined in importance in recent years; 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 nearly 90% of its imports and to which it sends more than half of its exports. Remittances from Swazi workers in South African mines supplement domestically earned income by as much as 20%. The government is trying to improve the atmosphere for foreign investment. Overgrazing soil depletion and drought persist as problems for the future.

GDP (purchasing power parity): $5.424 billion (2007 est.)

GDP—real growth rate: 3% (19976 est.)

GDP—per capita: purchasing power parity—$3 800 (1997 est.)

GDP—composition by sector:

agriculture: 10%

industry: 42%

services: 48% (1997 est.)

Inflation rate—consumer price index: 9.5% (1997)

Labor force:

total: 135 000 (1996)

by occupation: private sector about 70% public sector about 30%

Unemployment rate: 22% (1995 est.)


revenues: $400 million

expenditures: $450 million including capital expenditures of $115 million (FY96/97)

Industries: mining (coal and asbestos) wood pulp sugar soft drink concentrates

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

Electricity—capacity: 130 000 kW (1995)

Electricity—production: 407 million kWh (1995)

note: imports 60% of its electricity from South Africa

Electricity—consumption per capita: 1 062 kWh (1995)

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


total value: $893 million (f.o.b. 1996)

commodities: soft drink concentrates sugar wood pulp cotton yarn (1995)

partners: South Africa 58% EU 20% Mozambique 6% (1994)


total value: $1.1 billion (f.o.b. 1996)

commodities: motor vehicles machinery transport equipment foodstuffs petroleum products chemicals (1995)

partners: South Africa 88% Japan UK US (FY94/95)

Debt—external: $194 million (1995)

Economic aid:

recipient: ODA $NA

Currency: 1 lilangeni (E) = 100 cents

Exchange rates: emalangeni (E) per US$1—4.9417 (January 1998) 4.5998 (1997) 4.2706 (1996) 3.6266 (1995) 3.5490 (1994) 3.2636 (1993); note—the Swazi emalangeni are at par with the South African rand

Fiscal year: 1 April—31 March

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