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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 in 1968. Student and labor unrest during the 1990s pressured King Mswati III, the world's last absolute monarch, to grudgingly allow political reform and greater democracy, although he has backslid on these promises in recent years. Swaziland recently surpassed Botswana as the country with the world's highest known rates of HIV/AIDS infection.
Geography Swaziland
Southern Africa, between Mozambique and South Africa
Geographic coordinates:
26 30 S, 31 30 E
Map references:
total: 17,363 sq km
land: 17,203 sq km
water: 160 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: 10.25%
permanent crops: 0.81%
other: 88.94% (2005)
Irrigated land:
500 sq km (2003)
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, Desertification, Endangered Species, Ozone Layer Protection
signed, but not ratified: 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 2006 est.)
Age structure:
0-14 years: 40.7% (male 233,169/female 229,103)
15-64 years: 55.8% (male 303,260/female 330,460)
65 years and over: 3.6% (male 16,071/female 24,271) (2006 est.)
Median age:
total: 18.5 years
male: 17.8 years
female: 19.2 years (2006 est.)
Population growth rate:
-0.23% (2006 est.)
Birth rate:
27.41 births/1,000 population (2006 est.)
Death rate:
29.74 deaths/1,000 population (2006 est.)
Net migration rate:
0 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2006 est.)
Sex ratio:
at birth: 1.03 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.02 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 0.92 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.66 male(s)/female
total population: 0.95 male(s)/female (2006 est.)
Infant mortality rate:
total: 71.85 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 75.25 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 68.34 deaths/1,000 live births (2006 est.)
Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 32.62 years
male: 32.1 years
female: 33.17 years (2006 est.)
Total fertility rate:
3.53 children born/woman (2006 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:
38.8% (2003 est.)
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:
220,000 (2003 est.)
HIV/AIDS - deaths:
17,000 (2003 est.)
noun: Swazi(s)
adjective: Swazi
Ethnic groups:
African 97%, European 3%
Zionist 40% (a blend of Christianity and indigenous ancestral worship), 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: 81.6%
male: 82.6%
female: 80.8% (2003 est.)
Government Swaziland
Country name:
conventional long form: Kingdom of Swaziland
conventional short form: Swaziland
local long form: Umbuso weSwatini
local short form: eSwatini
Government type:
name: Mbabane
geographic coordinates: 26 18 S, 31 06 E
time difference: UTC+2 (7 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)
note: Lobamba (royal and legislative capital)
Administrative divisions:
4 districts; Hhohho, Lubombo, Manzini, Shiselweni
6 September 1968 (from UK)
National holiday:
Independence Day, 6 September (1968)
the first constitution was signed into law in July 2005 and is scheduled to be implemented in January 2006
Legal system:
based on South African Roman-Dutch law in statutory courts and Swazi traditional law and custom in traditional courts; accepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction, with reservations
18 years of age
Executive branch:
chief of state: King MSWATI III (since 25 April 1986)
head of government: Prime Minister Absolom Themba DLAMINI (since 14 November 2003)
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 18 October 2003 (next to be held October 2008)
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:
The status of political parties, previously banned, is unclear under the new (2006)Constitution and currently being debated - the following are considered political associations; Imbokodvo National Movement or INM; Ngwane National Liberatory Congress or NNLC [Obed DLAMINI, president]; People's United Democratic Movement or PUDEMO [Mario MASUKU, president]
Political pressure groups and leaders:
International organization participation:
Diplomatic representation in the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador Ephraim Mandla HLOPHE
chancery: 1712 New Hampshire Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20009
telephone: [1] (202) 234-5002
FAX: [1] (202) 234-8254
Diplomatic representation from the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador Lewis LUCKE
embassy: Central Bank Building, Mahlokahla 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. The manufacturing sector has diversified since the mid-1980s. Sugar and wood pulp remain important foreign exchange earners. 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. Customs duties from the Southern African Customs Union and worker remittances from South Africa 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. More than one-fourth of the population needed emergency food aid in 2004-05 because of drought, and nearly two-fifths of the adult population has been infected by HIV/AIDS.
GDP (purchasing power parity):
$5.91 billion (2006 est.)
GDP (official exchange rate):
$2.212 billion (2006 est.)
GDP - real growth rate:
2% (2006 est.)
GDP - per capita (PPP):
$5,200 (2006 est.)
GDP - composition by sector:
agriculture: 11.8%
industry: 51.4%
services: 36.8% (2006 est.)
Labor force:
155,700 (2003)
Labor force - by occupation:
agriculture: NA%
industry: NA%
services: NA%
Unemployment rate:
40% (2005 est.)
Population below poverty line:
69% (2005)
Household income or consumption by percentage share:
lowest 10%: 1%
highest 10%: 50.2% (1995)
Inflation rate (consumer prices):
5.1% (2006 est.)
Investment (gross fixed):
15.5% of GDP (2006 est.)
revenues: $921.8 million
expenditures: $1.019 billion; including capital expenditures of $147 million (2006 est.)
Agriculture - products:
sugarcane, cotton, corn, tobacco, rice, citrus, pineapples, sorghum, peanuts; cattle, goats, sheep
mining (coal, raw asbestos), wood pulp, sugar, soft drink concentrates, textile and apparel
Industrial production growth rate:
3.7% (FY95/96)
Electricity - production:
458 million kWh (2004)
Electricity - production by source:
fossil fuel: 58%
hydro: 42%
nuclear: 0%
other: 0% (2001)
Electricity - consumption:
1.123 billion kWh (2004)
Electricity - exports:
0 kWh (2004)
Electricity - imports:
697 million kWh; note - electricity supplied by South Africa (2004)
Oil - production:
0 bbl/day (2004 est.)
Oil - consumption:
3,500 bbl/day (2004 est.)
Oil - exports:
NA bbl/day (2004)
Oil - imports:
NA bbl/day (2004)
Natural gas - production:
0 cu m (2004 est.)
Natural gas - consumption:
0 cu m (2004 est.)
Current account balance:
$-23.13 million (2006 est.)
$2.201 billion f.o.b. (2006 est.)
Exports - commodities:
soft drink concentrates, sugar, wood pulp, cotton yarn, refrigerators, citrus and canned fruit
Exports - partners:
South Africa 59.7%, EU 8.8%, US 8.8%, Mozambique 6.2% (2004)
$2.274 billion f.o.b. (2006 est.)
Imports - commodities:
motor vehicles, machinery, transport equipment, foodstuffs, petroleum products, chemicals
Imports - partners:
South Africa 95.6%, EU 0.9%, Japan 0.9%, Singapore 0.3% (2004)
Reserves of foreign exchange and gold:
$228.5 million (2006 est.)
Debt - external:
$357 million (2003 est.)
Economic aid - recipient:
$104 million (2001)
Currency (code):
lilangeni (SZL)
Currency code:
Exchange rates:
emalangeni per US dollar - 6.6 (2006), 6.3593 (2005), 6.4597 (2004), 7.5648 (2003), 10.5407 (2002)
Fiscal year:
1 April - 31 March
Communications Swaziland
Telephones - main lines in use:
35,000 (2005)
Telephones - mobile cellular:
200,000 (2005)
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: country code - 268; satellite earth station - 1 Intelsat (Atlantic Ocean)
Radio broadcast stations:
AM 3, FM 2 plus 4 repeaters, shortwave 3 (2004)
170,000 (1999)
Television broadcast stations:
12 (includes 7 relay stations) (2004)
23,000 (2000)
Internet country code:
Internet hosts:
2,472 (2006)
Internet Service Providers (ISPs):
5 (2002)
Internet users:
36,000 (2005)
Transportation Swaziland
18 (2006)
Airports - with paved runways:
total: 1
2,438 to 3,047 m: 1 (2006)
Airports - with unpaved runways:
total: 17
914 to 1,523 m: 7
under 914 m: 10 (2006)
total: 301 km
narrow gauge: 301 km 1.067-m gauge (2005)
total: 3,594 km
paved: 1,078 km
unpaved: 2,516 km (2002)
Military Swaziland
Military branches:
Umbutfo Swaziland Defense Force (USDF): Ground Force (includes air wing), Royal Swaziland Police Force (RSPF) (2005)
Military service age and obligation:
18-30 years of age for voluntary military service; both sexes are eligible for military service (2005)
Manpower available for military service:
males age 18-49: 227,617 (2005 est.)
Manpower fit for military service:
males age 18-49: 89,609 (2005 est.)
Military expenditures - dollar figure:
$41.6 million (2005 est.)
Military expenditures - percent of GDP:
1.4% (2005 est.)
Transnational Issues Swaziland
Disputes - international:

This page was last updated on 18 January, 2007