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Country Facts

History of Swaziland  

       The Swazi people, descended from the Southern Bantu who migrated from Central Africa in the 15th and 16th centuries together with the Xhosas and the Zulus, which belong to the Nguni subgroup. The Swazi ancestors, the Nkosi Dlamini, broke away from the mainstream of Nguni migrants led by Chief Ngwane, and settled in the region of the Pongolo river absorbing the Nguni and Sotho clans in the area.

       By 1750 they had settled in the Hluti Region in the South of the Kingdom, under King Ngwane 111 of the Nkosi Dlamini clan. The country derives its name from a later King, Mswati 1. However, Ngwane is an alternative name for Swaziland and Dlamini remains the surname of the royal family, while the name Nkosi means King. The historical evolution of the autonomy of the Swaziland Nation was dictated by British rule of southern Africa in the 19th and 20th centuries. In 1881 the British government signed a convention recognising Swazi independence. However, controversial land and mineral rights concessions were made under the authority of the Foreign Jurisdiction Act of 1890 in terms of which the administration of Swaziland was also placed under that of the then South African Republic (Transvaal).

       At the commencement of the Anglo Boer war, Britain placed Swaziland under its direct jurisdiction as a Protectorate and repeated representations especially relating to land issues by the King and his Councillors which affected the political process, were rebuffed. Nevertheless, the Swaziland independence Constitution was promulgated by Britain in November 1963 in terms of which a legislative Council and an Executive Council were established. This development was opposed by the Swazi National Council (ligogo), as it was not in accord with the wishes and aspirations of the Swazi Nation.

       Despite such opposition, elections took place and the first Legislative Council of Swaziland was constituted on 9 September 1964. Changes to the original constitution proposed by the Legislative Council, were accepted by Britain and a new Constitution providing for a House of Assembly and Senate, was drawn up. Elections under this Constitution were held in 1967.

   Background

      The Kingdom of Swaziland is a small landlocked country which covers just over 17,000 square kilometers and is about the same size as Wales. It is arguably the smallest country in the Southern hemisphere, situated between the Republic of South Africa (RSA) and Mozambique at a latitude of 31 degrees, 30 minutes east of Greenwich and a longitude of 26 degrees, 30 minutes south of the equator.  The country is often referred to as the Switzerland of Africa. It offers a magnificent mountain scenery with unique, ancient rock formations, which are a source of fascinations for geologists and scholars, as well as visitors.

       The Kingdom comprises four topographical and climatic areas, which vary from 400 to 1800 metres above sea level., each with its own climate and characteristics. The mountainous highveld to the west comprises rivers, waterfalls and gorges and has a temperate climate of warm, wet summers and dry winters when the temperature can rise sharply during the day but with cold nights. Covering about 40% of the country. While this area is drought-prone, sugar is successfully grown commercially on a wide scale under irrigation. Cattle faming is also extensively carried out here.

       The smallest region is Lubombo, which borders with Mozambique. This subtropical area is typified by mountainous scenery and abundant and animal life Mixed farming is the main activity here. The nearest harbour is at Maputo which is about 235 kilometres from Mbabane, the administrative capital and 200 kilometer from Matsapha, the country’s main industrial area. 

Swaziland is one of Africa’s stable countries and enjoys a sound investment climate, and offers:

 Swaziland offers an Excellent Business Infrastructure

     High Quality Life

 

 

Basic Information

 

Location 

Situated in Southern Africa, between Mozambique and. South Africa 26 30 South. 31 30 East

Area

17,363 sq km

Land boundaries 

535 km

Borders

Mozambique 105 kms, South Africa 430 kms

Climate 

Highveld ; 5000 sq kms with temperate climate suitable for afforestation. 
Middleveld; 5000 sq kms, abundant rainfall in summer with good grazing and fertile soils for crops.
Lowveld; 6500 sq kms  typical African bushveld,with intense sugarcane farming under irrigation
Lubombo plateau runs along the eastern border

Elevation extremes

lowest point: Great Usutu River 21m, 
highest point: Emlembe 1,862m

Natural resources

Coal, clay, cassiterite, hydropower, forests, small gold and diamond deposits, quarry stone, and talc

Land use

arable land: 11%, permanent pastures: 62%, forests : 7%

Irrigated land 

Approx 1000 sq km

Environmental 

Limited supplies of portable water; wildlife under threat issues because of excessive hunting; overgrazing; soil degradation; soil erosion;Party to international greements on Biodiversity, Climate Change, Endangered species, Nuclear Test Ban, Ozone    Layer Protection, desertification, Law of the Sea

Population

929 718

Age structure 

0-14 years: 44.4% (male 204 705; female 208 424)
15-64 years: 52.5% (male 221,350; female 262,559)
65 years and over: 3.1% (male 12 247; female 17,015)

Population growth rate

2.9%

Birth rate 

36.4 births/1,000 population

Death rate 

7.6 deaths/1,000 population

 Sex ratio 

At birth: 1.03 male(s)/female

 Under 15 years

0.99 male(s)/female

15-64 years and over

0.93 male(s)/female

65 years and over

0.69 male(s)/female total population: 0.89 male(s)/female

Infant mortality rate 

7.8 deaths/1,000 live births

Life expectancy at birth 

total population: 60 years
male: 58years
female: 63years

Total fertility rate 

4.5 children born/woman

Ethnic groups 

Swazis 97%, European 3%

Religions

Protestant 65%, Muslim 10%, Roman Catholic 5%, indigenous beliefs 30%

Languages  

English (official, government business conducted in English), 
siSwazi (official)

Literacy

age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 76.7%
male: 78%
female: 75.6%

Government type 

Monarchy; independent member of Commonwealth

Capital 

Mbabane;  – Lobamba is the royal and legislative Capital

Administrative divisions

4 Regions; Hhohbo, Lubombo, Manzini, Shiselweni

 Independence

6 September 1968 (from UK)

National holiday 

Independence Day, 6 September (1968)

Constitution

Independence Constitution of 6 September 1968 suspended 12 April 1973; a new parliament convened on 13 October 1978; a Constitutional Review Commission (CRC), has submitted proposals for a new Constitution to the King

Legal system  

Based on Roman-Dutch law in statutory courts and Swazi traditional law and custom in traditional courts

Suffrage

18 years of age

Executive branch

Head of state: King MSWATI III (since 25 April 1986)

Administration

Head of government: Prime Minister H.E. Absalom Themba Dlamini

Legislative Branch 

Bicameral Parliament , with House of Assembly and 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
Election results: House of Assembly – balloting is done on a non-party 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; Court of Appeal; judges for both courts are appointed by His Majesty the King

International Organisation
participation
  

ACP, AFDB, ECA, FAO, G-77, IBRD, ICAO, ICFTU, ICRM, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, Intelsat, Interpol, IOC, ITU, NAM, OAU, OPCW, SACU, SADC, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UPU, WHO, WIPO, WMO,  WtrO

Diplomatic Representation Abroad 

USA, UK, RSA, Ethiopia (African Union)  Mozambique,  Belgium and the European Union, Switzerland, Singapore, ROC (Taiwan), Middle East (Kuwait, Dubai)

Diplomatic representation in Swaziland  

UK, USA, RSA, Taiwan(ROC), Germany, Mozambique, Republic of Cyprus, Denmark and Norway, Italy, Netherlands, Portugal, Indonesia, European Union (EU) 

 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

 

GDP - (2001)

US$ 1279.4 million

GDP – composition by sector (2001)

Agriculture: 10%
Industry: 46.7%
Services: 43.4%

Inflation rate  

12.6% (2002)

Labour force  

Private sector 69%, public sector 31%
(2001)

Unemployment rate 

22.8% (1997)

Budget

Revenues
Expenditures

Industries 

Textiles, wood pulp, sugar, soft drink concentrates

Electricity production 

375 million kWh  

Electricity consumption

198 million kWh

Electricity exports 

 852 million kWh (to Mozambique)

Electricity imports 

 701 million kWh (from South Africa)

Agriculture

Sugarcane, cotton, maize, rice, citrus, pineapples, sorghum, peanuts, cattle

Exports

$881 million (f.o.b., 2000)

Exports commodities 

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

Exports – partners 

South Africa 65%, EU 12%, Mozambique 11%, US 5%

Imports commodities 

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

Imports– partners 

South Africa 84%, EU 5%, Japan 2%, Singapore 2%

Debt – external 

US$300 million

Currency

Emalangeni

Exchange rates 

1 Emalangeni = 1 Rand
1 US $  = 8.50 Emalangeni

 Fiscal year  

 1 April – 31 March

 

 

 

           

 

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