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International Monetary Fund. African Dept.

This Selected Issues paper focuses on the challenges of small middle-income countries (MIC) in sSub-Saharan Africa (SSA) comprising Cape Verde, Namibia, and the Kingdom of Swaziland. The IMF report summarizes the analytic underpinnings that support the IMF staff’s advice on policies to strengthen macroeconomic stability, foster more inclusive growth, and enhance the resilience of their financial systems. It recommends that macroeconomic policies should aim to rebuild policy buffers to help cushion against large external shocks especially given the prevalence of pegged exchange rate regimes in these economies.

International Monetary Fund. African Dept.

This Selected Issues paper focuses on the challenges of small middle-income countries (MIC) in sSub-Saharan Africa (SSA) comprising Cape Verde, Namibia, and the Kingdom of Swaziland. The IMF report summarizes the analytic underpinnings that support the IMF staff’s advice on policies to strengthen macroeconomic stability, foster more inclusive growth, and enhance the resilience of their financial systems. It recommends that macroeconomic policies should aim to rebuild policy buffers to help cushion against large external shocks especially given the prevalence of pegged exchange rate regimes in these economies.

International Monetary Fund. African Dept.

This Selected Issues paper focuses on the challenges of small middle-income countries (MIC) in sSub-Saharan Africa (SSA) comprising Cape Verde, Namibia, and the Kingdom of Swaziland. The IMF report summarizes the analytic underpinnings that support the IMF staff’s advice on policies to strengthen macroeconomic stability, foster more inclusive growth, and enhance the resilience of their financial systems. It recommends that macroeconomic policies should aim to rebuild policy buffers to help cushion against large external shocks especially given the prevalence of pegged exchange rate regimes in these economies.

Jacques Waïtzenegger, Francis d’A. Collings, and Reimer O. Carstens

THE KINGDOM OF SWAZILAND, a former British protectorate, gained self-government in 1967 and independence on September 6, 1968. The country occupies an area of about 6,700 square miles in southeast Africa (see map on p. 391). Albeit a landlocked country, the eastern part of Swaziland lies within 40 miles of the Indian Ocean. The seaport of Lourenço Marques in Mozambique is 130 miles northeast of Manzini, which is the centrally located economic hub of Swaziland. Johannesburg is some 240 miles to the west.

International Monetary Fund

This 2002 Article IV Consultation highlights that real GDP growth for Swaziland fell from 7¾ percent annually during the 1980s to 3¾ percent during the 1990s. In 2001, growth declined further to 1.8 percent, reflecting a fall in export demand associated with the economic slowdown in South Africa, foreign disinvestment in some industries, and poor weather. Economic activity appears to have weakened further in 2002, with manufacturing output showing the effects of additional closures by foreign firms and agricultural output being affected by the drought in the region.

International Monetary Fund

The fiscal crisis in the Kingdom of Swaziland emanating from a decline in revenue from the Southern African Customs Union and one of the largest public wage bills in sub-Saharan Africa has reached a critical stage. Faced with revenue shortfalls associated with slowing economic activity, uncontrolled public spending, and lack of financing, the authorities continued to deplete central bank reserves and accumulate domestic arrears. The authorities have been able to finance only a minimal amount of expenditure, including wages, utilities, and essential transfers.

International Monetary Fund

Economic growth in Swaziland has weakened over the past decade. This 2005 Article IV Consultation highlights that real GDP growth decelerated to 2.1 percent in 2004 and an estimated 1.8 percent in 2005. A prolonged drought affected agricultural output, particularly maize, the main staple crop, and cotton. The authorities completed a “Poverty Reduction Strategy and Action Plan” in October 2004. The document spells out policies with the overall objective of halving the 1995 poverty rate by 2015. However, little progress has been made toward this and other Millennium Development Goals.

International Monetary Fund

This 2006 Article IV Consultation highlights that Swaziland’s economic performance has remained weak with growth averaging only 2 percent since 2000, owing to a substantial real appreciation of the lilangeni during 2002–04, erosion of trade preferences, recurrent drought, and stagnant investment. Over that same period, rising government expenditures, especially on the wage bill, undermined fiscal sustainability and reduced foreign reserves to critically low levels. Poverty has escalated in the face of high and rising unemployment, food shortages, and the world’s highest HIV/AIDS infection rate.