Overview

  • Swaziland is a landlocked country in Southern Africa bordering South Africa and Mozambique. It has a population of 1.2 million. With a gross domestic product (GDP) per capita of about $3,000, Swaziland is classified as a lower middle income country. Swaziland is very closely linked to South Africa on which it depends for about 85% of its imports and about 60% of exports.

    Swaziland’s economic growth has been slowing since 2013, but it is expected to rebound to 1.7% in 2017 from -0.6% in 2016, corresponding with a recovery in agricultural production. The slowdown is due to continued drought and a difficult external environment, especially from South Africa, leading to a sharp decrease in South African Customs Union (SACU) revenues. Such a decrease in revenue, combined with increased public spending, is generating higher fiscal deficits and a growing public debt. Under the current policy stance, the public debt to GDP ratio could increase from 17.4% in 2015 to 24% in 2018, increasing risks of fiscal unsustainability.

    The World Bank Group’s Doing Business (2017) report ranks Swaziland 111th out of 190 countries in the overall ease of doing business. A comparison across several of its indicators between 2006 and 2017 suggests that the country has made some absolute improvements in several indicators—but the overall pace of progress has been slower than in Sub-Saharan Africa overall. Some of the challenges the country faces include technological readiness, its brain drain to neighboring South Africa, and its relative paucity of business sophistication, higher education, and training.

    Last Updated: Apr 01, 2017

  • Development challenges

    The primary development challenge for the Kingdom of Swaziland is to address the high rate of poverty and inequality in the country. An estimated 63% of the population lives below the poverty line, and about 29% lives below the extreme poverty line. Inequality is very high with a Gini coefficient of 49.5. The HIV/AIDS prevalence of 31% of the population is one of the highest in the world and life expectancy has fallen to approximately 49 years. 

    As a consequence of severe drought, up to a quarter of the population remains food- and water- insecure and deeply vulnerable, and many households are still reliant on welfare or social safety nets. The regions with the highest prevalence of food insecurity are Lubombo and Shiswelweni, the areas most affected by the drought. Conditions are expected to improve in 2017/18 due to improvements in agricultural production (crops and livestock) and somewhat lower prices for food. Improvements can be seen at the national level, but persistent drier conditions in parts of the low-producing regions, heavy rains in February, and an outbreak of army worms are likely to constrain yields.

    Last Updated: Apr 01, 2017

  • The government published its Programme of Action (2013–2018), which aims to fast track progress towards Vision 2022. As a monitoring tool, the Swaziland Development Index (SDI) was defined with eight focus areas: economic prosperity, agriculture and environmental sustainability, education, health, government service delivery, infrastructure, governance and corruption.

    The actual implementation of Vision 2022 has not progressed as initially planned and nor has reporting on the SDI. It is challenged by the allocation of resources and SDI reporting undermined by limited capacity to monitor and report on progress. At a resource level, much financing has gone into infrastructure projects. El Nino-induced drought has also meant that the government has had to finance immediate relief to counteract the negative impact of drought. These developments have undermined the availability of public resources for poverty reduction programs, and thus any progress made toward achieving Vision 2022 is slow.

    Last Updated: Apr 01, 2017

  • The International Finance Corporation (IFC) has invested $47.78 million for eight projects. Swaziland has been a member of Multilaterial Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA) since 1990 with one active project currently (Motraco-Mazambique Transmission company with an exposure limit of $69.4 million.)

    Beyond the WBG partnerships, there is collaboration with United Nations agencies, USAID, European Union, Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), and African Development Bank (AfDB) on various program areas of common interest. 

    Last Updated: Apr 01, 2017

Api


LENDING

Swaziland: Commitments by Fiscal Year (in millions of dollars)*

*Amounts include IBRD and IDA commitments


PHOTO GALLERY

More Photos Arrow

In Depth

Image

Africa's Pulse, No. 15, April 2017

Economic growth in Sub-Saharan Africa is projected to recover to 2.6 percent in 2017, following a marked deceleration in 2016.

Image

International Development Association (IDA) in Africa

IDA, the World Bank’s fund for the poorest, contributes nearly 50% of its funds to 39 African countries.

Image

World Bank Africa Multimedia

Watch, listen and click through the latest videos, podcasts and slideshows highlighting the World Bank’s work in Sub-Saharan Africa.

Image

Doing Business in Swaziland

The Doing Business Project provides objective measures of business regulations and their enforcement. See where Swaziland ranks on the "...

Additional Resources

Country Office Contacts

Main Office Contact
+266-22-21-7000

In South Africa:
Zandi Ratshitanga
Sr. Communications Officer
+27-12-742-3107
442 Rodericks Street, Lynnwood Road
Tshwane 0081
zratshitanga@worldbank.org
In Washington:
Ivan Velev
Country Program Coordinator
+1-202-473-0814
1818 H Street, NW
Washington, DC 20433
ivelev@worldbank.org