The industry contributes to about half of Swaziland’s gross domestic product (GDP). The country’s industrialization has progressed rapidly, partly because foreign companies have invested in food factories.
Coca-Cola manufactures concentrates in Swaziland and Cadbury has a large candy factory and a sugar refinery there.
Sugar is an important export commodity and accounts for around one fifth of export earnings. However, sugar has declined in economic terms due to falling prices on the world market. Fruit concentrates, soft drinks and cotton are other important industrial products.
The textile industry is suffering from low-wage competition, mainly from China and Bangladesh, and has since the beginning of the 2000s been forced to lay off tens of thousands of employees. But companies from Taiwan operate several textile factories in Swaziland and South African companies manufacture refrigerators.
South Africa is Swaziland’s most important trading partner by far. The neighboring country supplies almost all import goods and is also the largest export market. Other important export markets are the US and the EU.
Exports from Swaziland mainly consist of processed foods, such as fruit concentrate, sugar and canned fruit, as well as textiles, cotton yarn, refrigerators and citrus fruits. Imports mainly comprise food, machinery, vehicles, transport equipment, chemicals and oil products.
Between 1989 and 2001 Swaziland struggled with a constant deficit in the trade balance with foreign countries. Subsequently, the trade balance has varied between periods of deficit and periods of small surplus.
Swaziland has long received significant revenue from the South African Customs Union (Sacu), in which also South Africa, Botswana, Namibia and Lesotho are members. However, these incomes have gradually decreased as the Customs Agreement was rewritten. In connection with the international financial crisis in 2008, Swaziland’s income from Sacu dropped significantly, triggering an acute economic crisis in the country (see further Economic overview).
Swaziland is also a member of the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa, Comesa), which aims to integrate the region’s economic markets through trade and investment.
FACTS – FOREIGN TRADE
Main export goods
fruit concentrate, sugar, textiles, cotton yarn, refrigerator, citrus fruits, canned fruit
Largest trading partner
South Africa, USA, EU
Swaziland’s mountainous landscape and wildlife with wildlife should be able to make the country a tourist paradise.
South African companies have invested in tourism facilities, and the EU and the World Bank are contributing to the development of the tourism industry. In 2013, approximately 1.4 million tourists came to Swaziland, the vast majority from South Africa.
FACTS – TOURISM
Number of foreign visitors per year
US $ 13,200,000 (2016)
The share of tourist income from exports
0.7 percent (2016)
Opposition leaders seized
Pudemo’s leader Mario Masuko is arrested, accused of being behind the blast at the royal palace (see September 2008).
Royal loyal members appointed
In the elections to the National Assembly, as in previous elections, 55 royal (formally independent) members are elected, elected by traditional chieftains who are loyal to the king.
Kungafrijen provokes criticism
A lavish celebration of King Mswati III’s 40th birthday and the 40th anniversary of the country’s independence (40/40 anniversary) receive criticism in the outside world and stir up upset feelings in Swaziland. A series of explosions is carried out near the royal palace and mass demonstrations are held in the cities of Mbabane and Manzini.
Woman protest against the head
The first female protest march is arranged. Women are facing the waste of court in one of the world’s poorest countries. In particular, the residents are upset by a shopping trip abroad, as some of the king’s wives have done. The bill for the trip is estimated to amount to SEK 80 million.
Elections to the National Assembly are boycotted
Activists belonging to the regime-critical democracy movement decide to boycott the election to the National Assembly, to be held later in the year. The boycott takes place in protest against the fact that political parties are prohibited from running for election. Only personal choices are held.