Country Reports

Swaziland Country Report

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Risk Level

Very High


Executive Summary

Pressure for political reform and socio-economic grievances continue to fuel sporadic protests, with the second round of parliamentary elections on 21 September 2018 having been preceded by three days of union-led nationwide demonstrations. Banned political party Pudemo urged an electoral boycott and barely over a quarter of registered voters took part in voting for candidates who must stand as ‘independent’, despite the government’s continued insistence that Swaziland’s “non-party” elections suit the country.Growing criticism from banned political parties and civil society groups focuses on King Mswati III’s alleged abuse of a near-absolute monarchy. Accusations that he has been siphoning money out of the national pension fund are likely to prompt further protests specifically directed at the power, unaccountability, and cost of the monarchy as economic conditions deteriorate. However, these are unlikely to result in regime change in the three- to five-year outlook.Swaziland’s economy faces continued headwinds, with GDP growth hovering around 2%, given the weak, albeit recovering, prospects in South Africa and the wider region, and over-reliance on declining Southern African Customs Union (SACU) revenues. The restoration of trade benefits under the US African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) should provide a welcome lift to economic activity, but the manufacturing, transportation, and tourism sectors will remain vulnerable to external demand conditions.Public finances have deteriorated with lower SACU receipts and will remain at risk given the uncertainty surrounding future revenue-sharing in the SACU pool. Fiscal consolidation will be needed to narrow the budget deficit over the medium term given the revenue strains, while reforms to improve the business and investment environment will be critical to boost foreign investment levels and help meet developmental challenges.© 2018, IHS Markit Inc. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part without permission is prohibited.
Last update: December 7, 2018

Operational Outlook

Strike action has been increasing in frequency despite attempts to refuse permits for labour protests, and is likely to rise if attempts are made to impose further austerity measures due to revenue shortfalls. King Mswati III called at the opening of Parliament in February 2019 for severe public spending cuts, even though wage freezes had previously been announced in March 2018 for employees of parastatals, after similar measures for civil servants. Major demonstrations took place in September 2018, called by the Trade Union Congress, to protest over pay, working conditions, and various socio-economic grievances. Government corruption occurs at all levels but is not endemic, though the Anti-Corruption Commission is ineffective.

Last update: May 23, 2019



The 2008 Suppression of Terrorism Act was amended in August 2017 when Swaziland introduced the Public Order Act, allowing for greater recognition of freedom of association, assembly, and speech. Critics of the terrorism legislation, including human rights bodies such as Amnesty International, claimed it was used to suppress those freedoms in order to blunt calls for political reform. The new legislation was sufficient to persuade the US to reinstate Swaziland’s AGOA status in December 2017, three years after it was rescinded. However, five poachers were charged with terrorism offences in September 2017 under the terrorism law, suggesting it will still be widely interpreted when deemed convenient.

Last update: October 16, 2018


Although Eswatini's crime rate is substantially lower than that of most other Southern African Development Community (SADC) countries, vehicle hijackings, burglaries, and street robberies are not uncommon. Other established crimes include cross-border smuggling (including of cars), wildlife poaching and cattle rustling, all of which have continued to capitalise on porous borders with Mozambique and South Africa. There are patrols along the border, but capacity is limited.

Last update: May 23, 2019

War Risks

Eswatini’s bilateral relations are generally cordial with neighbours Mozambique and South Africa. There has been some previous diplomatic sparring over issues such as shared resources (for example, water from the Nkomati River with Mozambique) and borders with South Africa, but none of the disputes with either neighbouring country is remotely likely to result in war. Domestically, a failure to address growing calls for democratisation will risk further civil unrest at times of recurring economic hardship, and potentially more militant action, but civil war is highly unlikely.

Last update: May 23, 2019

Social Stability


Risks of intermittent strikes and protests, particularly in Mbabane and Manzini, remain elevated amid ongoing socio-economic hardships and lack of political reform, with Eswatini maintaining near-absolute monarchical power. Calls by King Mswati III in February 2019 to make severe public spending cuts are likely to provoke demonstrations in the low four figures if the government introduces further austerity measures to a civil service already experiencing wage freezes. Protests are likely to increasingly focus on the king's spending, after he bought a second private jet in 2018 and was also accused by civil society activists of having been complicit in the government's alleged removal of USD150 million from the national pension fund.

Last update: May 23, 2019

Health Risk


Vaccinations required to enter the country

Proof of vaccination against yellow fever is required for all individuals traveling from a country with risk of yellow fever transmission.

Routine Vaccinations

Hepatitis A: A vaccine is available for anyone over one year of age. The vaccine may not be effective for certain people, e.g. those born before 1945 and who lived as a child in a developing country and/or have a past history of jaundice (icterus). These people can instead get a shot of immune globulin (IG) to boost their immunity against the disease.

Hepatitis B: A vaccine is available for children at least two months old.

Diphtheria-Tetanus-Polio: A booster shot should be administered if necessary (once every ten years).

Other Vaccinations

Typhoid Fever: If your travels take you to regions with poor sanitary conditions (for children two years old and up).

Rabies: For prolonged stays in an isolated region (for children from when they can walk).

Malaria: Recommended preventive medication - mefloquine (sometimes marketed as Lariam) or doxycycline (sometimes marketed as Vibramycin).

For Children: All standard childhood immunizations should be up-to-date. In the case of a long stay, the BCG vaccine is recommended for children over one month and the MMR (measles-mumps-rubella) vaccine for children over nine months.

Last update: April 5, 2019

Practical Information


Swaziland's climate is subtropical and dry. The dry season begins in mid-April and lasts until mid-October. Days are hot and sunny while nights are cool, even cold between May and August. The rainy season lasts from late October until late March. Rainfall is very heavy in the Highveld (west of the country).

Useful Numbers

Country Code: +268

There are no emergency services in Swaziland.


Voltage: 230 V ~ 50 Hz


Last update: April 5, 2019