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International Monetary Fund. African Dept.

Abstract

Sub-Saharan Africa is contending with an unprecedented health and economic crisis—one that, in just a few months, has jeopardized years of hard-won development gains and upended the lives and livelihoods of millions.

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

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

The Swazi economy has continued to register sluggish economic activity even as rising Southern African Customs Union revenue contributed to a large fiscal surplus and accumulation of international reserves. The unchecked growth of insufficiently regulated saving and credit cooperatives poses risks to the financial system. Fiscal policy should safeguard priority spending and fiscal sustainability. Executive Directors commend the government’s effort in rebuilding international reserves. Further efforts are needed to improve the quality and timeliness of data to better facilitate policy formulation and monitoring.

International Monetary Fund. African Dept.

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.

International Monetary Fund. African Dept.

2017 Article IV Consultation-Press Release; Staff Report; and Statement by the Executive Director for the Kingdom of Swaziland

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 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.