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Swaziland country facts

Kingdom of Swaziland Africa Mbabane 1,419,623 inhabitants 17,364 sq km 81.76 inhabitants/sq km Swazi Lilangeni (SZL) population evolution



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, Africa's last absolute monarch, to grudgingly allow political reform and greater democracy, although he has backslid on these promises in recent years. A constitution came into effect in 2006, but the legal status of political parties remains unclear. The African United Democratic Party tried unsuccessfully to register as an official political party in mid 2006. Talks over the constitution broke down between the government and progressive groups in 2007. Swaziland recently surpassed Botswana as the country with the world's highest known HIV/AIDS prevalence rate.



Southern Africa, between Mozambique and South Africa

Geographic coordinates

26 30 S, 31 30 E

Area (sq km)

total: 17,364 sq km
land: 17,204 sq km
water: 160 sq km

Area - comparative (sq km)

slightly smaller than New Jersey

Land boundaries (km)

total: 535 km
border countries: Mozambique 105 km, South Africa 430 km

Coastline (km)

0 km (landlocked)

Maritime claims

none (landlocked)


varies from tropical to near temperate


mostly mountains and hills; some moderately sloping plains

Elevation extremes (m)

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: 10.08%
permanent crops: 0.86%
other: 89.06% (2011)

Irrigated land (sq km)

498.5 sq km (2003)

Total renewable water resources (cu km)

4.51 cu km (2011)

Freshwater withdrawal (domestic/industrial/agricultural) ()

total: 1.04 cu km/yr (4%/2%/94%)
per capita: 962.1 cu m/yr (2005)

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, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Ozone Layer Protection
signed, but not ratified: Law of the Sea

Geography - note

landlocked; almost completely surrounded by South Africa

People and Society


noun: Swazi(s)
adjective: Swazi

Ethnic groups (%)

African 97%, European 3%

Languages (%)

English (official, used for government business), siSwati (official)

Religions (%)

Zionist 40% (a blend of Christianity and indigenous ancestral worship), Roman Catholic 20%, Muslim 10%, other (includes Anglican, Baha'i, Methodist, Mormon, Jewish) 30%


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, higher death rates, lower population growth rates, and changes in the distribution of population by age and sex than would otherwise be expected (July 2014 est.)   evolution and prospects (1950-2100)

Age structure (%)

0-14 years: 36.5% (male 261,715/female 255,949)
15-24 years: 22.3% (male 160,283/female 156,685)
25-54 years: 33.2% (male 241,958/female 229,140)
55-64 years: 4.2% (male 23,739/female 36,469)
65 years and over: 3.7% (male 21,321/female 32,364) (2014 est.)

Age structure in Swaziland

Median age (years)

total: 21 years
male: 20.7 years
female: 21.3 years (2014 est.)

Population growth rate (%)

1.14% (2014 est.)

Birth rate (births/1,000 population)

25.18 births/1,000 population (2014 est.)

Death rate (deaths/1,000 population)

13.75 deaths/1,000 population (2014 est.)

Net migration rate (migrant(s)/1,000 population)

0 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2014 est.)

Urbanization (%)

urban population: 21.2% of total population (2011)
rate of urbanization: 1.19% annual rate of change (2010-15 est.)

Major urban areas - population

MBABANE (capital) 66,000 (2011)

Sex ratio (male(s)/female)

at birth: 1.03 male(s)/female
0-14 years: 1.02 male(s)/female
15-24 years: 1.02 male(s)/female
25-54 years: 1.06 male(s)/female
55-64 years: 1 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.69 male(s)/female
total population: 0.99 male(s)/female (2014 est.)

Maternal mortality rate (deaths/100,000 live births)

320 deaths/100,000 live births (2010)

Infant mortality rate (deaths/1,000 live births)

total: 54.82 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 58.8 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 50.72 deaths/1,000 live births (2014 est.)

Life expectancy at birth (years)

total population: 50.54 years
male: 51.04 years
female: 50.04 years (2014 est.)

Total fertility rate (children born/woman)

2.88 children born/woman (2014 est.)

Health expenditures (% of GDP)

8% of GDP (2011)

Physicians density (physicians/1,000 population)

0.17 physicians/1,000 population (2009)

Hospital bed density (beds/1,000 population)

2.1 beds/1,000 population (2011)

Drinking water source (% of population)

improved: urban: 93.6% of population
rural: 68.9% of population
total: 74.1% of population
unimproved: urban: 6.4% of population
rural: 31.1% of population
total: 25.9% of population (2012 est.)

Sanitation facility access (% of population)

improved: urban: 63.1% of population
rural: 56% of population
total: 57.5% of population
unimproved: urban: 36.9% of population
rural: 44% of population
total: 42.5% of population (2012 est.)

HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate (%)

26.5% (2012 est.)

HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS

212,900 (2012 est.)

HIV/AIDS - deaths

5,500 (2012 est.)

Major infectious diseases

degree of risk: intermediate
food or waterborne diseases: bacterial diarrhea, hepatitis A, and typhoid fever
vectorborne disease: malaria
water contact disease: schistosomiasis (2013)

Obesity - adult prevalence rate (%)

19.7% (2008)

Children under the age of 5 years underweight (%)

5.8% (2010)

Education expenditures (% of GDP)

8.3% of GDP (2011)

Literacy (%)

definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 87.8%
male: 88.4%
female: 87.3% (2011 est.)

School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education) (years)

total: 11 years
male: 12 years
female: 11 years (2011)


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; note - Lobamba is the royal and legislative capital
geographic coordinates: 26 19 S, 31 08 E
time difference: UTC+2 (7 hours ahead of Washington, DC, during Standard Time)

Administrative divisions

4 districts; Hhohho, Lubombo, Manzini, Shiselweni


6 September 1968 (from the UK)

National holiday

Independence Day, 6 September (1968)


previous 1968, 1978; latest signed by the king 26 July 2005, effective 8 February 2006 (2013)

Legal system

mixed legal system of civil, common, and customary law

International law organization participation

accepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction with reservations; non-party state to the ICCt


18 years of age

Executive branch

chief of state: King MSWATI III (since 25 April 1986)
head of government: Prime Minister Barnabas Sibusiso DLAMINI (since 23 October 2008); Deputy Prime Minister Themba Nhlanganiso MASUKU (since 2008)
cabinet: Cabinet recommended by the prime minister and confirmed by the monarch
elections: none; the monarchy is hereditary; prime minister appointed by the monarch from among the elected members of the House of Assembly

Legislative branch

bicameral Parliament or Libandla consists of the Senate (30 seats; 10 members elected by the House of Assembly and 20 appointed by the monarch; members to serve five-year terms) and the House of Assembly (65 seats; 10 members appointed by the monarch and 55 elected by popular vote; members to serve five-year terms)
elections: House of Assembly - last held on 20 September 2013 (next scheduled for September 2018)
election results: House of Assembly - balloting is done on a nonparty basis; candidates for election 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

highest court(s): the Supreme Court of the Judicature comprising the Supreme Court (consists of the chief justice and at least 5 justices) and the High Court (consists of the chief justice - ex officio - and at least 4 justices); note - the Supreme Court has jurisdiction in all constitutional matters
note - the national constitution as amended in 2006 shifted judicial power from the monarch and vested it exclusively in the judiciary
judge selection and term of office: justices of the Supreme Court of the Judicature are appointed by the monarch on the advice of the Judicial Service Commission or JCS, a judicial advisory body consisting of the Supreme Court Chief Justice, 4 members appointed by the monarch, and the JCS head; justices of both courts eligible for retirement at age 65 with mandatory retirement at age 75 for Supreme Court justices and at age 70 for High Court justices
subordinate courts: magistrates' courts; National Swazi Courts for administering customary/traditional law (jurisdiction restricted to customary law for Swazi citizens)

Political parties and leaders

the status of political parties, previously banned, is unclear under the 2006 Constitution and currently being debated; the following are considered political associations
African United Democratic Party or AUDP [Stanley MAUNDZISA, president]
Imbokodvo National Movement or INM {headed by the Royal Family]
Ngwane National Liberatory Congress or NNLC [Obed DLAMINI, president]
People's United Democratic Movement or PUDEMO [Mario MASUKU, president]

Political pressure groups and leaders

Swaziland Democracy Campaign
Swaziland Federation of Trade Unions
Swaziland Solidarity Network or SSN

International organization participation


Diplomatic representation in the US

chief of mission: Ambassador Abednigo Mandla NTSHANGASE (since 19 July 2010)
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 Makila JAMES (since 27 August 2012)
embassy: 7th Floor, Central Bank Building, Mahlokohla St., Mbabane
mailing address: P. O. Box 199, Mbabane
telephone: [268] 404-6441
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; blue stands for peace and stability, red represents past struggles, and yellow the mineral resources of the country; the shield, spears, and staff symbolize protection from the country's enemies, while the black and white of the shield are meant to portray black and white people living in peaceful coexistence

National symbol(s)

lion; elephant

National anthem

name: "Nkulunkulu Mnikati wetibusiso temaSwati" (Oh God, Bestower of the Blessings of the Swazi)
lyrics/music: Andrease Enoke Fanyana SIMELANE/David Kenneth RYCROFT
note: adopted 1968; the anthem uses elements of both ethnic Swazi and Western music styles


Economy - overview

Surrounded by South Africa, except for a short border with Mozambique, Swaziland depends heavily on South Africa from which it receives more than 90% of its imports and to which it sends 60% of its exports. Swaziland's currency is pegged to the South African rand, effectively subsuming Swaziland's monetary policy to South Africa. The government is heavily dependent on customs duties from the Southern African Customs Union (SACU), and worker remittances from South Africa supplement domestically earned income. Subsistence agriculture employs approximately 70% of the population. The manufacturing sector has diversified since the mid-1980s. Sugar and wood pulp were major foreign exchange earners; however, the wood pulp producer closed in January 2010, and sugar is now the main export earner. Mining has declined in importance in recent years with only coal and quarry stone mines remaining active. Customs revenues plummeted due to the global economic crisis and a drop in South African imports. The resulting decline in revenue has pushed the country into a fiscal crisis. Swaziland is looking to other countries, including South Africa, for assistance, but continues to struggle to meet its monthly payroll and fund government programs. With an estimated 40% unemployment rate, Swaziland's need to increase the number and size of small and medium enterprises and attract foreign direct investment is acute. Overgrazing, soil depletion, drought, and floods persist as problems for the future. More than one-fourth of the population needed emergency food aid in 2006-07 because of drought, and more than one-quarter of the adult population has been infected by HIV/AIDS, as of 2013.

GDP (purchasing power parity)

$6.259 billion (2013 est.)
$6.259 billion (2012 est.)
$6.354 billion (2011 est.)
note: data are in 2013 US dollars

GDP (official exchange rate)

$3.807 billion (2013 est.)

GDP - real growth rate (%)

0% (2013 est.)
-1.5% (2012 est.)
0.3% (2011 est.)

GDP - per capita (PPP)

$5,700 (2013 est.)
$5,800 (2012 est.)
$6,000 (2011 est.)
note: data are in 2013 US dollars

GDP - composition, by sector of origin (%)

agriculture: 7.6%
industry: 47.8%
services: 44.6% (2013 est.)

Labor force

424,100 (2011 est.)

Labor force - by occupation (%)

agriculture: 70%
industry: NA%
services: NA%

Unemployment rate (%)

40% (2006 est.)

Population below poverty line (%)

69% (2006)

Household income or consumption by percentage share (%)

lowest 10%: 1.7%
highest 10%: 40.1% (2010 est.)

Distribution of family income - Gini index

50.4 (2001)


revenues: $1.274 billion
expenditures: $1.316 billion (2013 est.)

Taxes and other revenues (% of GDP)

33.5% of GDP (2013 est.)

Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-) (% of GDP)

-1.1% of GDP (2013 est.)

Inflation rate (consumer prices) (%)

6.1% (2013 est.)
8.9% (2012 est.)

Central bank discount rate (%)

6.5% (31 December 2010 est.)
6.5% (31 December 2009 est.)

Commercial bank prime lending rate (%)

8.5% (31 December 2013 est.)
8.75% (31 December 2012 est.)

Stock of narrow money

$421.6 million (31 December 2013 est.)
$403.3 million (31 December 2012 est.)

Stock of broad money

$1.142 billion (31 December 2013 est.)
$1.138 billion (31 December 2012 est.)

Stock of domestic credit

$763.3 million (31 December 2013 est.)
$762.9 million (31 December 2012 est.)

Market value of publicly traded shares

$203.1 million (31 December 2007)
$203.1 million (31 December 2007)
$199.9 million

Agriculture - products

sugarcane, cotton, corn, tobacco, rice, citrus, pineapples, sorghum, peanuts; cattle, goats, sheep


coal, wood pulp, sugar, soft drink concentrates, textiles and apparel

Industrial production growth rate (%)

0.4% (2013 est.)

Current account balance

-$1.5 million (2013 est.)
$53 million (2012 est.)


$1.603 billion (2013 est.)
$1.681 billion (2012 est.)

Exports - commodities (%)

soft drink concentrates, sugar, wood pulp, cotton yarn, refrigerators, citrus and canned fruit


$1.545 billion (2013 est.)
$1.578 billion (2012 est.)

Imports - commodities (%)

motor vehicles, machinery, transport equipment, foodstuffs, petroleum products, chemicals

Reserves of foreign exchange and gold

$801.4 million (31 December 2013 est.)
$741 million (31 December 2012 est.)

External debt ($)

$609.5 million (31 December 2013 est.)
$604.8 million (31 December 2012 est.)

Stock of direct foreign investment - at home


Stock of direct foreign investment - abroad


Exchange rates

Currency converter
emalangeni per US dollar -
9.575 (2013 est.)
8.2031 (2012 est.)
7.3212 (2010 est.)
8.42 (2009)
7.75 (2008)

Fiscal year

1 April - 31 March


Electricity - production (kWh)

496 million kWh (2010 est.)

Electricity - consumption (kWh)

1.058 billion kWh (2010 est.)

Electricity - exports (kWh)

0 kWh (2012)

Electricity - imports (kWh)

564 million kWh (2011 est.)

Electricity - installed generating capacity (kW)

149,000 kW (2010 est.)

Electricity - from fossil fuels (% of total installed capacity)

59.7% of total installed capacity (2010 est.)

Electricity - from nuclear fuels (% of total installed capacity)

0% of total installed capacity (2010 est.)

Electricity - from hydroelectric plants (% of total installed capacity)

40.3% of total installed capacity (2010 est.)

Electricity - from other renewable sources (% of total installed capacity)

0% of total installed capacity (2010 est.)

Crude oil - production (bbl/day)

0 bbl/day (2012 est.)

Crude oil - exports (bbl/day)

0 bbl/day (2010 est.)

Crude oil - imports (bbl/day)

0 bbl/day (2010 est.)

Crude oil - proved reserves (bbl)

0 bbl (1 January 2010 est.)

Refined petroleum products - production (bbl/day)

0 bbl/day (2010 est.)

Refined petroleum products - consumption (bbl/day)

4,567 bbl/day (2011 est.)

Refined petroleum products - exports (bbl/day)

0 bbl/day (2010 est.)

Refined petroleum products - imports (bbl/day)

4,761 bbl/day (2010 est.)

Natural gas - production (cu m)

0 cu m (2011 est.)

Natural gas - consumption (cu m)

0 cu m (2010 est.)

Natural gas - exports (cu m)

0 cu m (2011 est.)

Natural gas - imports (cu m)

0 cu m (2011 est.)

Natural gas - proved reserves (cu m)

0 cu m (1 January 2013 est.)

Carbon dioxide emissions from consumption of energy (Mt)

1.024 million Mt (2011 est.)


Telephones - main lines in use

48,600 (2012)

Telephones - mobile cellular

805,000 (2012)

Telephone system

general assessment: a somewhat modern but not an advanced system
domestic: single source for mobile-cellular service with a geographic coverage of about 90% and a rising subscribership base; combined fixed-line and mobile cellular teledensity roughly 60 telephones per 100 persons in 2011; telephone 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) (2009)

Broadcast media

state-owned TV station; satellite dishes are able to access South African providers; state-owned radio network with 3 channels; 1 private radio station (2007)

Internet country code


Internet hosts

2,744 (2012)

Internet users

90,100 (2009)



14 (2013)

Airports - with paved runways

total: 2
over 3,047 m: 1
2,438 to 3,047 m: 1 (2013)

Airports - with unpaved runways

total: 12
914 to 1,523 m: 5
under 914 m: 7 (2013)

Railways (km)

total: 301 km
narrow gauge: 301 km 1.067-m gauge (2008)

Roadways (km)

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


Military branches

Umbutfo Swaziland Defense Force (USDF): Ground Force (includes Air Wing (no operational aircraft)) (2013)

Military service age and obligation (years of age)

18-30 years of age for male and female voluntary military service; no conscription; compulsory HIV testing required, only HIV-negative applicants accepted (2012)

Manpower available for military service

males age 16-49: 344,038 (2010 est.)

Manpower fit for military service

males age 16-49: 201,853
females age 16-49: 175,477 (2010 est.)

Manpower reaching militarily significant age annually

male: 16,168
female: 15,763 (2010 est.)

Military expenditures (% of GDP)

3.17% of GDP (2012)
3.11% of GDP (2011)
3.17% of GDP (2010)

Transnational Issues

Disputes - international

in 2006, Swazi king advocated resorting to ICJ to claim parts of Mpumalanga and KwaZulu-Natal from South Africa

Largest cities of Swaziland

These are the 50 largest cities of Swaziland ordered based on their number of inhabitants.

# City Population
1 Manzini 110,543
2 Mbabane 76,223
3 Big Bend 10,344
4 Malkerns 9,726
5 Nhlangano 9,017
6 Mhlume 8,654
7 Hluti 6,763
8 Siteki 6,153