Swaziland [Country Flag of Swaziland]
Transnational Issues
[Country map of Swaziland]



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Location: Southern Africa, between Mozambique and South Africa

Geographic coordinates: 26 30 S, 31 30 E

Map references: Africa

total: 17,360 sq km
land: 17,200 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


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Population: 966,462 (July 1998 est.)

Age structure:
0-14 years: 46% (male 223,649; female 224,782)
15-64 years: 51% (male 238,547; female 255,137)
65 years and over: 3% (male 9,625; female 14,722) (July 1998 est.)

Population growth rate: 1.96% (1998 est.)

Birth rate: 41 births/1,000 population (1998 est.)

Death rate: 21.4 deaths/1,000 population (1998 est.)

Net migration rate: 0 migrant(s)/1,000 population (1998 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: 0.65 male(s)/female (1998 est.)

Infant mortality rate: 103.37 deaths/1,000 live births (1998 est.)

Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 38.53 years
male: 37.31 years
female: 39.79 years (1998 est.)

Total fertility rate: 5.96 children born/woman (1998 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.)


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

Data code: WZ

Government type: monarchy; independent member of Commonwealth

National capital: Mbabane (administrative); Lobamba (legislative)

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 has not been formally presented to the people

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; note—no suffrage before September 1993; 55 of the 65 seats in the House of Assembly were filled by popular vote in the elections of September and October 1993; of a population of less than 1 million, the electorate numbered 283,693

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 king
elections: none; the king is a hereditary monarch; prime minister appointed by the king

Legislative branch: bicameral Parliament or Libandla, an advisory body, consists of the Senate (20 seats, 10 appointed by the House of Assembly and 10 appointed by the king; members serve five-year terms) and the House of Assembly (65 seats, 10 appointed by the king and 55 elected by secret, popular vote; members serve five-year terms)
elections: House of Assembly—last held 26 September and 11 October 1993 (next to be held NA 1998)
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 king; Court of Appeal, judges are appointed by the king

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

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, 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: Suite 3M, 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 Alan R. McKEE
embassy: Central Bank Building, Warner Street, Mbabane
mailing address: P. O. Box 199, Mbabane
telephone: [268] 46441 through 46445
FAX: [268] 45959

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


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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—$3.9 billion (1997 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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Telephones: 30,364 (1993 est.)

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 7, FM 6, shortwave 0

Radios: 129,000 (1992 est.)

Television broadcast stations: 10

Televisions: 12,500 (1992 est.)


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

total: 2,885 km
paved: 814 km
unpaved: 2,071 km (1994 est.)

Ports and harbors: none

Airports: 18 (1997 est.)

Airports—with paved runways:
total: 1
2,438 to 3,047 m: 1 (1997 est.)

Airports—with unpaved runways:
total: 17
914 to 1,523 m: 7
under 914 m: 10 (1997 est.)


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

Military manpower—availability:
males age 15-49: 215,708 (1998 est.)

Military manpower—fit for military service:
males: 125,580 (1998 est.)

Military expenditures—dollar figure: $22 million (FY93/94)

Military expenditures—percent of GDP: NA%

Transnational Issues

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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