The World Factbook (1990)/Swaziland


World Factbook (1990) Swaziland.jpg

See regional map VII


Total area: 17,360 km²; land area: 17,200 km²

Comparative area: slightly smaller than New Jersey

Land boundaries: 535 km total; Mozambique 105 km, South Africa 430 km

Coastline: none—landlocked

Maritime claims: none—landlocked

Climate: varies from tropical to near temperate

Terrain: mostly mountains and hills; some moderately sloping plains

Natural resources: asbestos, coal, clay, tin, hydroelelectric power, forests, and small gold and diamond deposits

Land use: 8% arable land; NEGL% permanent crops; 67% meadows and pastures; 6% forest and woodland; 19% other; includes 2% irrigated

Environment: overgrazing; soil degradation; soil erosion

Note: landlocked; almost completely surrounded by South Africa


Population: 778,525 (July 1990), growth rate 3.1% (1990)

Birth rate: 46 births/1,000 population (1990)

Death rate: 15 deaths/1,000 population (1990)

Net migration rate: 0 migrants/1,000 population (1990)

Infant mortality rate: 126 deaths/1,000 live births (1990)

Life expectancy at birth: 48 years male, 55 years female (1990)

Total fertility rate: 6.0 children born/woman (1990)

Nationality: noun—Swazi(s); adjective—Swazi

Ethnic divisions: 97% African, 3% European

Religion: 60% Christian, 40% indigenous beliefs

Language: English and siSwati (official); government business conducted in English

Literacy: 67.9%

Labor force: 195,000; over 60,000 engaged in subsistence agriculture; about 92,000 wage earners (many only intermittently), with 36% agriculture and forestry, 20% community and social services, 14% manufacturing, 9% construction, 21% other; 24,000-29,000 employed in South Africa (1987)

Organized labor: about 10% of wage earners


Long-form name: Kingdom of Swaziland

Type: monarchy; independent member of Commonwealth

Capital: Mbabane (administrative); Lobamba (legislative)

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

Independence: 6 September 1968 (from UK)

Constitution: none; constitution of 6 September 1968 was suspended on 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, Swazi traditional law and custom in traditional courts; has not accepted compulsory ICJ jurisdiction

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

Executive branch: monarch, prime minister, Cabinet

Legislative branch: bicameral Parliament (Libandla) is advisory and consists of an upper house or Senate and a lower house or House of Assembly

Judicial branch: High Court, Court of Appeal

Leaders: Chief of State—King MSWATI III (since 25 April 1986);

Head of Government—Prime Minister Obed MFANYANA (since 12 July 1989)

Political parties: none; banned by the Constitution promulgated on 13 October 1978

Suffrage: none

Elections: no direct elections

Communists: no Communist party

Member of: ACP, AfDB, CCC, FAO, G-77, GATT (de facto), IBRD, ICAO, IDA, IFAD, IFC, ILO, IMF, INTERPOL, ISO, ITU, NAM, OAU, Southern African Customs Union, SADCC, UN, UNESCO, UPU, WHO

Diplomatic representation: Ambassador Absalom Vusani MAMBA; Chancery at 4301 Connecticut Avenue NW, Washington DC 20008; telephone (202) 362-6683; US—Ambassador (vacant), Deputy Chief of Mission Armajane KARAER; Embassy at Central Bank Building, Warner Street, Mbabane (mailing address is P. O. Box 199, Mbabane); telephone 22281 through 22285

Flag: 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


Overview: The economy is based on subsistence agriculture, which occupies much of the labor force and contributes about 25% to GDP. Manufacturing, which includes a number of agroprocessing factories, accounts for another 25% of GDP. Mining has declined in importance in recent years; high-grade iron ore deposits were depleted in 1978, and health concerns cut world demand for asbestos. Exports of sugar and forestry products 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 90% of its imports and to which it sends about one-third of its exports.

GNP: $539 million, per capita $750; real growth rate 5.7% (1989 est.)

Inflation rate (consumer prices): 17% (1989 est.)

Unemployment rate: NA%

Budget: revenues $255 million; expenditures $253 million, including capital expenditures of $NA million (FY91 est.)

Exports: $394 million (f.o.b., 1988); commodities—sugar, asbestos, wood pulp, citrus, canned fruit, soft drink concentrates; partners—South Africa, UK, US

Imports: $386 million (f.o.b., 1988); commodities—motor vehicles, machinery, transport equipment, chemicals, petroleum products, foodstuffs; partners—South Africa, US, UK

External debt: $275 million (December 1987)

Industrial production: growth rate 24% (1986)

Electricity: 50,000 kW capacity; 130 million kWh produced, 170 kWh per capita (1989)

Industries: mining (coal and asbestos), wood pulp, sugar

Agriculture: accounts for 25% of GDP and over 60% of labor force; mostly subsistence agriculture; cash crops—sugarcane, citrus fruit, cotton, pineapples; other crops and livestock—corn, sorghum, peanuts, cattle, goats, sheep; not self-sufficient in grain

Aid: US commitments, including Ex-Im (FY70-88), $132 million; Western (non-US) countries, ODA and OOF bilateral commitments (1970-87), $468 million

Currency: lilangeni (plural—emalangeni); 1 lilangeni (E) = 100 cents

Exchange rates: emalangeni (E) per US$1—2.5555 (January 1990), 2.6166 (1989), 2.2611 (1988), 2.0350 (1987), 2.2685 (1986), 2.1911 (1985); note—the Swazi emalangeni is at par with the South African rand

Fiscal year: 1 April-31 March


Railroads: 297 km plus 71 km disused, 1.067-meter gauge, single track

Highways: 2,853 km total; 510 km paved, 1,230 km crushed stone, gravel, or stabilized soil, and 1,113 km improved earth

Civil air: 1 major transport aircraft

Airports: 23 total, 22 usable; 1 with permanent-surfaced runways; none with runways over 3,659 m; 1 with runways 2,440-3,659 m; none with runways 1,220-2,439 m

Telecommunications: system consists of carrier-equipped open-wire lines and low-capacity radio relay links; 15,400 telephones; stations—6 AM, 6 FM, 10 TV; 1 Atlantic Ocean INTELSAT earth station

Defense Forces

Branches: Umbutfo Swaziland Defense Force, Royal Swaziland Police Force

Military manpower: males 15-49, 166,537; 96,239 fit for military service

Defense expenditures: NA