OFFICIAL NAME: Kingdom of Swaziland
SYSTEM OF GOVERNMENT: Constitutional Monarchy
AREA: 17,363 Sq Km (6,704 Sq Mi)
ESTIMATED 2000 POPULATION: 991,800
LOCATION & GEOGRAPHY: Swaziland is a landlocked country
located in South East Africa. It is bound by South Africa
to the north, west, south and southeast, and Mozambique
to the northeast. The country is part of the South African
Plateau and is divided into four regions. (1.) The High
Veld in the west which averages between 1,050 and 1,200
metres (3,445 to 3,937 feet) in elevation. (2.) The Middle
Veld which averages between 450 and 600 metres (1,476 to
1,968 feet) in elevation. (3.) The Low Veld to the east
which averages between 150 and 300 metres (492 to 984 feet)
in elevation. (4.) The Lebombo Range to the east of the
Low Veld which separates the country from Mozambique's coastal
plain. The country is drained by four large rivers, the
Komati, Umbeluzi, Great Usutu and Ngwavuma. Major Cities
(pop. est.); Manzini 52,000, Mbabane 38,300, Nhlangano 4,100
(1986). Land Use; forested 7%, pastures 62%, agricultural-cultivated
11%, other 20% (1993).
CLIMATE: Swaziland has a subtropical climate which varies from
region to region. The High Veld region has a humid temperate climate with
average annual precipitation varying from 1,000 mm to 2,300 mm (40 to 90
inches). The Middle Veld and Lebombo Range have a subtropical climate with
average annual precipitation varying from 900 mm to 1,150 mm (35 to 45
inches). The Low Veld has a tropical and semiarid climate with average
annual precipitation varying from 500 mm to 900 mm (20 to 35 inches). Average
temperature ranges in Mbabane are from 6 to 17 degrees Celsius (43 to 66
degrees Fahrenheit) in June to 15 to 25 degrees Celsius (59 to 77 degrees
Fahrenheit) in January or February.
PEOPLE: The majority of the population are Black Africans who
account for 96% of the population, of which the predominant tribe are the
Swazi who account for over 84%. The remainder are represented by the Zulu,
Tsonga and Shangaan tribes. Other ethnic groups include Europeans who account
for 3% and Mulattoes or Coloreds who are of mixed European and African
descent, account for around 1% of the population.
DEMOGRAPHIC/VITAL STATISTICS: Density; 46 persons per sq km (119
persons per sq mi) (1991). Urban-Rural; 30.4% urban, 69.6% rural (1988).
Sex Distribution; 47.2% male, 52,8% female (1986). Life Expectancy at Birth;
53.7 years male, 57.3 years female (1990). Age Breakdown; 47% under 15,
27% 15 to 29, 14% 30 to 44, 8% 45 to 59, 3% 60 to 74, 1% 75 and over (1986).
Birth Rate; 46.8 per 1,000 (1990). Death Rate; 12.5 per 1,000 (1990). Increase
Rate; 34.3 per 1,000 (1990). Infant Mortality Rate; 118.0 per 1,000 live
RELIGIONS: Mostly Christians which account for 77% of the population
while the remainder follow local native tribal beliefs.
LANGUAGES: The official languages are English and Swazi. Swazi
is a Nguni language related to Zulu while English is used for government,
commerce and educational purposes.
EDUCATION: Aged 25 or over and having attained: no formal schooling
42.1%, incomplete primary 23.9%, primary 10.5%, incomplete secondary 19.2%,
secondary and higher 4.3% (1986). Literacy; literate population aged 15
or over 240,171 or 67.0% (1986).
MODERN HISTORY - WWII TO 1993: In 1967 Swaziland gained internal
self-government from Britain and the Imbokodvo National Movement, which
was founded by King Sobhuza II, declared Swaziland a Kingdom under British
protection. On Sept. 6, 1968 Swaziland gained full independence. On Sept.
24, 1968 Swaziland became a member of the UN while Britain introduced a
constitution. In 1973 and 1977 King Sobhuza abolished the constitution
and dissolved the Parliament. In 1979 King Sobhuza established another
constitution and parliament. In Feb. 1982 the Swazi and South African governments
signed an agreement for nonaggression and the exiled African National Congress
(ANC) resident in Swaziland were expelled. In Aug. 1982 King Sobhuza II
died after a reign of 82 years and in 1983 one of his sons then 15 years
old, Prince Makhosetive was named heir to the throne. In Apr. 1986 Prince
Makhosetive was crowned as King Mswati III. In 1987 Prince Mfanasibili
Dlamini was found guilty of treason. In Nov. 1989 asbestos miners rioted
after pay negotiations broke down and four workers were injured by police
gunfire. During 1990 there was growing civil unrest and in Nov. 1990 riots
by university students led to the death of one as security forces moved
in to suppress their activities. During 1991 the Maloma coal mine was opened
and the government decided to handle its export of sugar through the South
African port of Durban due to problems they had been experiencing at the
port of Maputo in Mozambique. In 1992 King Mswati III called on his political
opponents in exile to return to assist in determining a new political direction
for the country. In Oct. 1992 King Mswati III dissolved the Parliament
and announced plans for a new constitution and multiparty elections. In
June 1993 the government signed an agreement with South Africa that allowed
South African judges and prosecutors to serve in Swaziland's courts. In
Aug. 1993 police issued warrants against a number of opposition leaders
for allegedly distributing seditious pamphlets. In Sept. 1993 the country's
first multiparty elections resulted in Prime Minister Obed Dlamini failing
to win a seat in the Parliament and on Nov. 4, 1993 Jameson Mbilini Dlamini
replaced the acting Prime Minister, Andreas Fakudze. Also in 1993 the country
experienced food shortages as a result of the 1992 drought.
CURRENCY: The official currency is the Lilangeni (plural; Emalangeni)
(E) divided into 100 Cents.
ECONOMY: Gross National Product; USD $933,000,000 (1993). Public
Debt; USD $217,800,000 (1993). Imports; E 2,971,429,000 (1993). Exports;
E 1,724,100,000 (1993). Tourism Receipts; USD $30,000,000 (1993). Balance
of Trade; E -943,400,000 (1994). Economically Active Population; 160,355
or 23.5% of total population (1986). Unemployed; 27.0% (1986).
MAIN TRADING PARTNERS: Its main trading partners are South Africa,
the UK, Japan, Mozambique and the USA
MAIN PRIMARY PRODUCTS: Asbestos, Cattle, Citrus Fruits, Coal, Cotton,
Diamonds, Maize, Rice, Sugar, Timber, Tin, Tobacco.
MAJOR INDUSTRIES: Agriculture, Chemicals, Forestry, Mining, Timber
MAIN EXPORTS: Asbestos, Chemicals, Citrus Fruits, Sugar, Wood Pulp.
TRANSPORT: Railroads; route length 515 km (320 mi) (1987), passenger-km
N/A., cargo ton-km N/A. Roads; length 2,779 km (1,727 mi) (1988). Vehicles;
cars 25,333 (1991), trucks and buses 8,603 (1991). Merchant Marine; nil.
Air Transport; passenger-km 41,212,000 (25,608,000 passenger-mi) (1992),
cargo ton-km 147,000 (100,680 short ton-mi) (1992).
COMMUNICATIONS: Daily Newspapers; total of 2 with a total circulation
of 36,000 (1995). Radio; receivers 117,000 (1994). Television; receivers
12,500 (1994). Telephones; units 16,000 (1993).
MILITARY: 2,657 (1983) total active duty personnel while military
expenditure accounts for 2.4% (1993) of the Gross National Product (GNP).
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