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Background: Autonomy for the Swazis of southern Africa was guaranteed by the British in the late 19th century; independence was granted 1968. Student and labor unrest during the 1990s have pressured the monarchy (one of the oldest on the continent) to grudgingly allow political reform and greater democracy.


Location: Southern Africa, between Mozambique and South Africa

Geographic coordinates: 26 30 S, 31 30 E

Map references: Africa

  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

Coastline: 0 km (landlocked)

Maritime claims: none (landlocked)

Climate: varies from tropical to near temperate

Terrain: 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: 11%
  permanent crops: 0%
  permanent pastures: 62%
  forests and woodland: 7%
  other: 20% (1993 est.)

Irrigated land: 670 sq km (1993 est.)

Natural hazards: NA

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, Endangered Species, Nuclear Test Ban, Ozone Layer Protection
  signed, but not ratified: Desertification, Law of the Sea

Geography - note: landlocked; almost completely surrounded by South Africa


Population: 1,083,289 (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 2000 est.))

Age structure
  0-14 years: 46% (male 245,626; female 247,825)
  15-64 years: 52% (male 270,308; female 291,884)
  65 years and over: 2% (male 11,357; female 16,289) (2000 est.)

Population growth rate: 2.02% (2000 est.)

Birth rate: 40.64 births/1,000 population (2000 est.)

Death rate: 20.4 deaths/1,000 population (2000 est.)

Net migration rate: 0 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2000 est.)

Sex ratio
  at birth: 1.03 male(s)/female
  under 15 years: 0.99 male(s)/female
  15-64 years: 0.93 male(s)/female
  65 years and over: 0.7 male(s)/female
  total population: 0.95 male(s)/female (2000 est.)

Infant mortality rate: 108.95 deaths/1,000 live births (2000 est.)

Life expectancy at birth
  total population: 40.44 years
  male: 39.54 years
  female: 41.37 years (2000 est.)

Total fertility rate: 5.87 children born/woman (2000 est.)

  noun: Swazi(s)
  adjective: Swazi

Ethnic groups: African 97%, European 3%

Religions: Christian 60%, indigenous beliefs 40%

Languages: English (official, government business conducted in English), siSwati (official)

  definition: age 15 and over can read and write
  total population: 76.7%
  male: 78%
  female: 75.6% (1995 est.)


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

Data code: WZ

Government type: monarchy; independent member of Commonwealth

Capital: Mbabane; note - Lobamba is the royal and legislative capital

Administrative divisions: 4 districts; Hhohho, Lubombo, Manzini, Shiselweni

Independence: 6 September 1968 (from UK)

National holiday: Somhlolo (Independence) Day, 6 September (1968)

Constitution: none; constitution of 6 September 1968 was suspended 12 April 1973; a new constitution was promulgated 13 October 1978, but was not formally presented to the people; since then a few more outlines for a constitution have been compiled under the Constitutional Review Commission (CRC), but so far none have been accepted

Legal system: based on South African Roman-Dutch law in statutory courts and Swazi traditional law and custom in traditional courts; has not accepted compulsory ICJ jurisdiction

Suffrage: NA years of age

Executive branch
  chief of state: King MSWATI III (since 25 April 1986)
  head of government: Prime Minister Sibusiso Barnabas DLAMINI (since 9 August 1996)
  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 16 and 24 October 1998 (next to be held NA 2003)
  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, judges are appointed by the monarch; Court of Appeal, judges are appointed by the monarch

Political parties and leaders: Convention for Full Democracy in Swaziland or COFUDESWA [Sabelo DLAMINI]; Ngwane Socialist Revolutionary Party or NGWASOREP [leader NA]; People's United Democratic Movement or PUDEMO [Mario MASUKU]; Swaziland Communist Party or SWACOPA [Mphandlana SHONGWE]; Swaziland Democratic Alliance (represents key opposition parties) [Jerry NXUMALO]; Swaziland Federation of Trade Unions or SFTU [Jan SITHOLE]; Swaziland Liberation Front or FROLISA [leader NA]; Swaziland National Front or SWANAFRO [leader NA]; Swaziland Youth Congress or SWAYOCO (included in PUDEMO) (Note: political parties are banned by the constitution promulgated on 13 October 1978; illegal parties are prohibited from holding large public gatherings)

International organization participation: ACP, AfDB, C, CCC, ECA, FAO, G-77, IBRD, ICAO, ICFTU, ICRM, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, Intelsat, Interpol, IOC, ITU, NAM, OAU, OPCW, PCA, SACU, SADC, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UPU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTrO

Diplomatic representation in the US
  chief of mission: Ambassador Mary Madzandza KANYA
  chancery: 3400 International Drive NW, Washington, DC 20008
  telephone: [1] (202) 362-6683
  FAX: [1] (202) 244-8059

Diplomatic representation from the US
  chief of mission: Ambassador Gregory L. JOHNSON
  embassy: Central Bank Building, Warner 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 - 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 four-fifths of its imports and to which it sends three-fourths 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 - $4.2 billion (1999 est.)

GDP - real growth rate: 3.1% (1999 est.)

GDP - per capita: purchasing power parity - $4,200 (1999 est.)

GDP - composition by sector
  agriculture: 10%
  industry: 48%
  services: 42% (1997 est.)

Population below poverty line: NA%

Household income or consumption by percentage share
  lowest 10%: NA%
  highest 10%: NA%

Inflation rate (consumer prices): 6% (1999 est.)

Labor force: NA

Labor force - 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 - production: 420 million kWh (1998)

Electricity - production by source
  fossil fuel: 48.81%
  hydro: 51.19%
  nuclear: 0%
  other: 0% (1998)

Electricity - consumption: 1.078 billion kWh (1998)

Electricity - exports: 0 kWh (1998)

Electricity - imports: 687 million kWh (Note: imports about 60% of its electricity from South Africa (1998))

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

Exports: $825 million (f.o.b., 1999)

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

Exports - partners: South Africa 74%, EU 12%, Mozambique 5%, US, North Korea (1997)

Imports: $1.05 billion (f.o.b., 1999)

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

Imports - partners: South Africa 83%, EU 6%, Japan, UK, Singapore (1997)

Debt - external: $180 million (1999)

Economic aid - recipient: $55 million (1995)

Currency: 1 lilangeni (E) = 100 cents

Exchange rates: emalangeni (E) per US$1 - 6.1237 (January 2000), 6.1087 (1999), 5.4807 (1998), 4.6032 (1997), 4.2706 (1996), 3.6266 (1995); note - the Swazi lilangeni is at par with the South African rand

Fiscal year: 1 April - 31 March


Telephones - main lines in use: 20,000 (1996)

Telephones - mobile cellular: 0 (1996)

Telephone system
  domestic: system consists of carrier-equipped, open-wire lines and low-capacity, microwave radio relay
  international: satellite earth station - 1 Intelsat (Atlantic Ocean)

Radio broadcast stations: AM 3, FM 4, shortwave 1 (1998)

Radios: 155,000 (1997)

Television broadcast stations: 2 (plus seven repeaters) (1997)

Televisions: 21,000 (1997)

Internet Service Providers (ISPs): 2 (1999)


  total: 297 km; note - includes 71 km which are not in use
  narrow gauge: 297 km 1.067-m gauge

  total: 2,896 km (1997 est.)
  paved: NA km
  unpaved: NA km

Ports and harbors: none

Airports: 18 (1999 est.)

Airports - with paved runways
  total: 1
  2,438 to 3,047 m: 1 (1999 est.)

Airports - with unpaved runways
  total: 17
  914 to 1,523 m: 7
  under 914 m: 10 (1999 est.)


Military branches: Umbutfo Swaziland Defense Force (Army), Royal Swaziland Police Force

Military manpower - availability
  males age 15-49: 242,398 (2000 est.)

Military manpower - fit for military service
  males age 15-49: 140,299 (2000 est.)

Military expenditures - dollar figure: $23 million (FY95/96)

Military expenditures - percent of GDP: 1.9% (FY95/96)

Transnational Issues

Disputes - international: Swaziland has asked South Africa to open negotiations on reincorporating some nearby South African territories that are populated by ethnic Swazis or that were long ago part of the Swazi Kingdom


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