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Info Africa - SWAZILAND
Swaziland Southern Africa is home to a country called Swaziland. This landlocked country is bounded by South Africa and Mozambique. It gained independence from Britain in 1968. The Kingdom of Swaziland, one of the last absolute monarchies in the world, is led by King Mswati III, who rules over the Swazi people. A high percentage of Swazis live in the rural areas, abiding to traditional ways of life. While the capital city of Swaziland is Mbabane, Lobamba is the royal and legislative capital. This rather small administrative capital is known for its shops and its main street, Allister Miller, which is named after the first European that was born here. Swaziland houses many national parks and game reserves. The Ezulwini Valley attracts the most
visitors because of its many attractions; a casino hotel, the Royal Swazi golf course, the hot mineral spring, as well as some excellent hotels. Many are amazed to see how Swaziland continues to preserve its old culture and traditional ceremonies, despite the modernization that is present in Swaziland. For example, the symbolic Incwala ceremony is known as the most sacred Swazi ceremony. People, specifically men, meet at the Royal Kraal at Ludzidzini to take part in traditional dancing along with the King. Swaziland has a Cultural Village, located in the Mantega Nature Reserve. This living museum contains Swazi traditions and shows the classical Swazi lifestyle during the 1850s. This allows the Swazi people to maintain a positive interest in their cultural heritage.  
CATEGORIES: Demographics - Quick Facts - Economy - Communications - Health Issues
Demographics
Country Flag: Swaziland's Flag

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

Nationality: Swazi

Capital: Mbabane

Population: 1,136,334 (July 2006 est.)

Age structure:

  • 0-14 years: 40.7%
  • 15-64 years: 55.8%
  • 65 years and over: 3.6% (2006 est.)  

Population growth rate: -0.23% (2006 est.)

Literacy rate:

  • ages 15 and above can read and write.
  • 81.6% of the population is literate (male: 82.6%, female: 80.8%) (2003 est.)

Major religions: Zionist 40% (a blend of Christianity and indigenous ancestral worship), Roman Catholic 20%, Muslim 10%, Anglican, Bahai, Methodist, Mormon, Jewish and other 30%

Languages: English (official, government business conducted in English), siSwati (official)

Quick Facts
Area:
  • total: 17,363 sq km
  • land: 17,203 sq km
  • water: 160 sq km

Area comparative to Canadian province: triple the size of Prince Edward Island

Natural resources: asbestos, coal, clay, cassiterite, hydropower, forests, small gold and diamond deposits, quarry stone, and talc

Environmental Issues: limited supplies of potable water; wildlife populations being depleted because of excessive hunting; overgrazing; soil degradation; soil erosion

Economy


The economy of Swaziland is rather small, with 80% of the population involved in subsistence agriculture. Swaziland’s main foreign exchange earners are sugar and wood pulp. While the manufacturing sector has changed since the mid-1980s, mining activities have decreased over the past few years with only coal and quarry stone mines remaining active. Swaziland is highly dependent on South Africa in terms of trade. Nine-thirds of Swaziland’s imports are from South Africa while two-thirds of its exports go to South Africa. The government is working hard to improve the foreign investment of Swaziland. They also need to address the issue of overgrazing, soil depletion, drought and floods. In fact, in 2004-05 over one-fourth of the population needed emergency food aid as a result of drought. Almost two-fifths of the adult population has been infected by HIV/AIDS, a factor which affects the economic growth of the country.


Major industries:

  • mining (coal, raw asbestos)
  • wood pulp
  • sugar
  • soft drink concentrates
  • textile and apparel

Agricultural products:

  • sugarcane
  • cotton
  • corn
  • tobacco
  • rice
  • citrus
  • pineapples
  • sorghum
  • peanuts
  • cattle
  • goats
  • sheep

Oil production: 0 bbl/day (2004)

Railways: 301 km

Road map: 3,594 km (paved: 1,078 km, unpaved: 2,516 km)

Currency: Lilangeni

Communications

Telephone lines in use: 46,200 (2003)

Cellular lines in use: 113,000 (2004)

Television Stations: 12 (includes 7 relay stations) (2004)

Radio Stations: AM 3, FM 2 plus 4 repeaters, shortwave 3 (2004)

Internet users: 36,000 (2005)

Health Issues

HIV/AIDS adult prevalence rate: 38.8% (2003 est.)

People living with HIV/AIDS: 220,000 (2003 est.)

More Information

For more informaiton, please visit:
http://cia.gov/cia/publications/factbook/geos/wz.html