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.
This 2017 Article IV Consultation highlights that the macroeconomic conditions have recently deteriorated in Swaziland. In 2016, two shocks—a prolonged drought and a sharp decline in South African Customs Union (SACU) receipts—severely hit the economy, while an expansionary fiscal policy worsened fiscal and external balances. Growth in 2016 stagnated, as agricultural productions declined, and headline inflation increased sharply, mostly owing to rising food prices. Fiscal policy remains on an expansionary course, while the monetary stance has tightened. Despite a pickup in SACU revenue, the 2017 budget envisages a continuation of large fiscal deficits, and further increase in public debt.
This 2015 Article IV Consultation highlights that Swaziland’s growth has been recovering since the 2010–11 fiscal crisis, albeit at a slower pace recently. Growth recovery following the fiscal crisis was broadly supported by the manufacturing and service sectors. In 2015, however, growth is expected to slow, owing to adverse weather conditions and a slowdown in tourism and transport sectors. Swaziland’s growth outlook is projected to remain subdued over the medium term, while it is clouded with downside risks. Growth is expected to slow in 2016/17, followed by a modest recovery in the following years.
The current high Southern African Customs Unions revenues should be used to implement fiscal measures to secure fiscal sustainability and support economic growth. The government should formulate a financial sector strategy that addresses Swaziland’s twin challenges of enhancing financial development and ensuring financial stability. Compounding the threat to exports of sugar and textiles is the looming issue of remaining competitive in a quickly changing global environment. The statistics on export and import, gross domestic product, assets and liabilities, and other such data have also been provided.
This 2015 Article IV Consultation highlights that Swaziland's growth has been recovering since the 2010-11 fiscal crisis, albeit at a slower pace recently. Growth recovery following the fiscal crisis was broadly supported by the manufacturing and service sectors. In 2015, however, growth is expected to slow, owing to adverse weather conditions and a slowdown in tourism and transport sectors. Swaziland's growth outlook is projected to remain subdued over the medium term, while it is clouded with downside risks. Growth is expected to slow in 2016/17, followed by a modest recovery in the following years.
This paper reviews economic developments in Swaziland during 1990–96. During 1990–95, the shares of exports and imports of goods and services in GDP averaged 81 percent and 92 percent, respectively. The overall trend in economic growth continued in 1995/96. Real GDP expansion was limited to 2.5 percent, fueled by the manufacturing and services sectors. Although there was no new major investment, several established firms expanded or modernized their operations. In particular, this led to significant improvement in the performance of the wood pulp and sugar industries.