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Swaziland Economy

    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 all 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—$4 billion (1998 est.)

    GDP—real growth rate: 2.6% (1998 est.)

    GDP—per capita: purchasing power parity—$4,200 (1998 est.)

    GDP—composition by sector:
    agriculture: 10%
    industry: 42%
    services: 48% (1997 est.)

    Population below poverty line: NA%

    Household income or consumption by percentage share:
    lowest 10%: NA%
    highest 10%: NA%

    Inflation rate (consumer prices): 8% (1998)

    Labor force: NA

    Labor force—by occupation: private sector about 70%, public sector about 30%

    Unemployment rate: 22% (1995 est.)

    Budget:
    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—production: 415 million kWh (1996)

    Electricity—production by source:
    fossil fuel: 49.4%
    hydro: 50.6%
    nuclear: 0%
    other: 0% (1996)

    Electricity—consumption: 986 million kWh (1996)

    Electricity—exports: 0 kWh (1996)

    Electricity—imports: 571 million kWh (1996)
    note: imports about 60% of its electricity from South Africa

    Agriculture—products: sugarcane, cotton, maize, tobacco, rice, citrus, pineapples, corn, sorghum, peanuts; cattle, goats, sheep

    Exports: $972 million (f.o.b., 1998)

    Exports—commodities: soft drink concentrates, sugar, wood pulp, cotton yarn, citrus and canned fruit (1996)

    Exports—partners: South Africa 58%, EU 17%, Mozambique, North Korea (1995)

    Imports: $1.2 billion (f.o.b., 1998)

    Imports—commodities: motor vehicles, machinery, transport equipment, foodstuffs, petroleum products, chemicals (1996)

    Imports—partners: South Africa 96%, Japan, UK, Singapore (FY95/96)

    Debt—external: $175 million (1998)

    Economic aid—recipient: $55 million (1995)

    Currency: 1 lilangeni (E) = 100 cents

    Exchange rates: emalangeni (E) per US$1—5.9812 (January 1999), 5.4807 (1998), 4.6032 (1997), 4.2706 (1996), 3.6266 (1995), 3.5490 (1994); note—the Swazi lilangeni is at par with the South African rand

    Fiscal year: 1 April—31 March

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Revised 1-Mar-99
Copyright © 1999 Photius Coutsoukis (all rights reserved)