Map of 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 the monarchy (one of the oldest on the continent) to grudgingly allow political reform and greater democracy. Swaziland recently surpassed Botswana as the country with the world's highest known rates of HIV/AIDS infection.


Southern Africa, between Mozambique and South Africa

Geographic coordinates:

26 30 S, 31 30 E


total: 17,363 sq km
land: 17,203 sq km
water: 160 sq km

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

Geography - note:

landlocked; almost completely surrounded by South Africa


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.)

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.)

Country name:

conventional long form: Kingdom of Swaziland
conventional short form: Swaziland

Government type:

monarchy; independent member of Commonwealth


Mbabane; note - Lobamba is the 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

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

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 about nine-tenths of its imports and to which it sends nearly two-thirds 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):

$6.222 billion (2005 est.)

GDP (official exchange rate):

$2.044 billion (2005 est.)

GDP - real growth rate:

1.8% (2005 est.)

GDP - per capita (PPP):

$5,500 (2005 est.)

GDP - composition by sector:

agriculture: 15.1%
industry: 49.7%
services: 35.3% (2005 est.)

Labor force:

155,700 (2003)

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):

4% (2005 est.)

Investment (gross fixed):

0.4% of GDP (2005 est.)


revenues: $805.6 million
expenditures: $957.1 million; including capital expenditures of $147 million (2005 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:

392 million kWh (2003)

Electricity - consumption:

1.161 billion kWh (2003)

Electricity - imports:

821.4 million kWh; note - electricity supplied by South Africa (2004)

Oil - consumption:

3,500 bbl/day (2003 est.)

Current account balance:

-$142.4 million (2005 est.)


$1.991 billion f.o.b. (2005 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)


$2.149 billion f.o.b. (2005 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:

$357.2 million (2005 est.)

Debt - external:

$357 million (2003 est.)

Economic aid - recipient:

$104 million (2001)

Currency (code):

lilangeni (SZL)

Fiscal year:

1 April - 31 March

Telephones - main lines in use:

46,200 (2003)

Telephones - mobile cellular:

113,000 (2004)

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)

Television broadcast stations:

12 (includes 7 relay stations) (2004)

Internet country code:


Internet hosts:

2,401 (2005)

Internet users:

36,000 (2005)


18 (2005)

Airports - with paved runways:

total: 1
2,438 to 3,047 m: 1 (2005)

Airports - with unpaved runways:

total: 17
914 to 1,523 m: 7
under 914 m: 10 (2005)


total: 301 km
narrow gauge: 301 km 1.067-m gauge (2004)


total: 3,594 km
paved: 1,078 km
unpaved: 2,516 km (2002)

Merchant marine:

registered in other countries: 1 (Panama 1) (2005)

Military branches:

Umbutfo Swaziland Defense Force (USDF): Ground Force (includes Air Wing), Royal Swaziland Police Force (RSPF) (2005)