Financial Data
Updated 25 Mar 2017


Swaziland

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Overview

Swaziland is a part-monarchy/ part-democratic, landlocked, country in Southern Africa. It is neighboured by Mozambique to the east and South Africa to the north, west and south.

Swaziland is closely tied to South Africa as a source for trade and remittances.

While drought is expected to limit the country’s growth in the agricultural sector in 2016; it is expected to pick up in 2017. The Swazi government seeks to raise USD2 billion for its National Agricultural Investment Plan to reinvigorate agriculture. Moreover, tourism is expected to benefit from a weaker exchange rate, an investment loan from the World Bank, and new airport and tourist facilities.

Its small-scale mining sector consists mainly of coal and iron ore, but due to lower commodity prices, because of a slowdown in the Chinese economy, the mining sector is under pressure.

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Social overview

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Swaziland is classified as a low- to middle-income developing country with a GDP per capita of USD 9 800 (2015 estimate). 21.3% of its total population are urbanised and the country offers an urbanisation rate of 1.32%.

The country’s population growth, at 1.1%, is influenced by poverty and inequality levels, and addressing this remains a primary development challenge for Swaziland.

Labour conditions in Swaziland are characterised by a high rate of unemployment, particularly amongst its youth. Child labour, weak private & formal sector job creation and a low level of employment in the informal sector adds to labour challenges. Your business can take advantage of upskilling young Swazis and incorporating them in your operations, as the youth remains hungry for employment.

To address poverty, Swaziland has to overcome its low economic growth trap.

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Swaziland’s people
  • Population: 1 435 613 people (2015)
  • Swaziland is classified as a low- to middle-income developing country with a GDP per capita of USD 9800.
  • Swaziland is challenged by extremely high poverty and inequality levels.
  • Languages: SiSwati and English
  • Swaziland's healthcare system consists of formal and informal health sectors.
Environmental overview

Current environmental issues relate to limited supplies of potable water, while wildlife populations are being depleted because of excessive hunting, overgrazing, soil degradation and soil erosion.

Natural hazards, such as droughts and floods, can also prove challenging for businesses involved in agriculture or mining sectors.

In terms of international environmental agreements, Swaziland is party to the following: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, and Ozone Layer Protection. The country is also a signatory, but not ratified, party to the Law of the Sea.

Here are a few more environmental challenges that you should consider before your expansion into Swaziland:

  • It’s a small, landlocked kingdom, offering a land area of only 17 364km2;
  • It is separated into four geographical regions that run from North to South and are determined by altitude
  • Rain falls mostly during the summer months, often in the form of thunderstorms and winter is the dry season. Annual rainfall is highest on the Highveld in the West, and the further East you go, the less rain you can expect
  • Swaziland’s mountainous topography can make it difficult for Agri businesses to find suitable, accessible, farming land
  • Rural areas experience crop failures, deforestation and soil erosion due to cyclical rainfall and overgrazing;
  • Flooding potential is high, particularly in the wet summer season
  • Water is available in abundance, however infrastructure development around water delivery remains slow
  • Due to its terrain and layout, transport and logistics around the country can be challenging, depending on the region you are interested in.

 

The environment
  • Current environmental issues relate to the limited supplies of potable water.
  • Wildlife populations are being depleted because of excessive hunting, overgrazing, soil degradation and soil erosion.
  • Natural hazards include droughts and floods.
Technology overview

Swaziland’s National Development Strategy, Vision 2022, recognises the importance of technology and the role it can play in national transformation through skills development, and research and development. Investments are being made in infrastructure, to migrate the country’s economy from an agrarian to a high-tech or knowledge-based one.

These investments include the establishment of the Royal Science and Technology Park (RSTP), which is aimed at attracting foreign investment and positioning the country as a premier location for research and development. The government has also promised that, once completed, the RSTP will provide growth opportunities for SMMEs in Swaziland.

Telecommunications in Swaziland include radio, television, fixed and mobile telephones, and the Internet. Swaziland has two telecommunications service providers, Swaziland Posts and Telecommunication Corporation (SPTC) and Swazi MTN.

Swazi MTN is a subsidiary of MTN South Africa and a competitor to SPTC, with an estimated mobile market penetration of 87%. While mobile market penetration in Swaziland has been well above the African average, subscriber growth has slowed in recent years.

According to expert opinion, what is required now is real competition to take the market to the next level. In late 2014, Viettel bid for a licence to operate mobile telephony services under the Swavitel brand. The country’s telecom regulator and government are now creating legislative and regulatory conditions to enable Viettel to enter the market as a third competitor.

Here are a few more technological factors you should consider for your Swaziland expansion:

  • According to the CIA World Fact Book, in 2014 there were an estimated 44 400 fixed phone lines compared with 916 800 mobile phones in Swaziland
  • Tech prices have remained high, so market penetration has been relatively low, with 337 300 Internet users representing 23.8% penetration (CIA 2014 estimate). According to 2015 estimates by BuddeComm, Internet penetration is projected at 26% by year-end (2016). ADSL was introduced in 2008 and 3G mobile broadband services in 2011.
  • Development within the tech sector has been hampered by limited fixed-line infrastructure and a lack of competition in the access and backbone network. The national Internet Exchange Point (IXP) was put in place in April 2014 and free Internet access is provided to schools and hospitals.
  • The country’s backbone comms infrastructure is supplied by NGN, which is connected to the SEACOM undersea cable through Maputo and Mozambique, and the EASSy undersea cable through Mthunzini in South Africa for redundancy
  • Fibre optic is laid throughout the country, however, because the country is landlocked, it has to depend on neighbouring countries for international fibre bandwidth. This means access pricing is high, although prices have fallen in recent years because of greater bandwidth availability from several new submarine fibre optic cable systems that have reached the region in recent years.

 

Tech outlook
  • Investments are being made in infrastructure to migrate the country’s economy from an agrarian to a high-tech or knowledge-based one. This includes the establishment of the Royal Science and Technology Park (RSTP).
  • The RSTP aims to attract foreign investment and help position the country as a premier location for research and development.
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