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Swaziland vs. South Africa

Economy

SwazilandSouth Africa
Economy - overview

A small, landlocked kingdom, Eswatini is bordered in the north, west and south by the Republic of South Africa and by Mozambique in the east. Eswatini depends on South Africa for a majority of its exports and imports. Eswatini's currency is pegged to the South African rand, effectively relinquishing Eswatini's monetary policy to South Africa. The government is dependent on customs duties from the Southern African Customs Union (SACU) for almost half of its revenue. Eswatini is a lower middle income country. As of 2017, more than one-quarter of the adult population was infected by HIV/AIDS; Eswatini has the world’s highest HIV prevalence rate, a financial strain and source of economic instability.

The manufacturing sector diversified in the 1980s and 1990s, but manufacturing has grown little in the last decade. Sugar and soft drink concentrate are the largest foreign exchange earners, although a drought in 2015-16 decreased sugar production and exports. Overgrazing, soil depletion, drought, and floods are persistent problems. Mining has declined in importance in recent years. Coal, gold, diamond, and quarry stone mines are small scale, and the only iron ore mine closed in 2014. With an estimated 28% unemployment rate, Eswatini's need to increase the number and size of small and medium enterprises and to attract foreign direct investment is acute.

Eswatini's national development strategy, which expires in 2022, prioritizes increases in infrastructure, agriculture production, and economic diversification, while aiming to reduce poverty and government spending. Eswatini's revenue from SACU receipts are likely to continue to decline as South Africa pushes for a new distribution scheme, making it harder for the government to maintain fiscal balance without introducing new sources of revenue.

South Africa is a middle-income emerging market with an abundant supply of natural resources; well-developed financial, legal, communications, energy, and transport sectors; and a stock exchange that is Africa’s largest and among the top 20 in the world.

Economic growth has decelerated in recent years, slowing to an estimated 0.7% in 2017. Unemployment, poverty, and inequality - among the highest in the world - remain a challenge. Official unemployment is roughly 27% of the workforce, and runs significantly higher among black youth. Even though the country's modern infrastructure supports a relatively efficient distribution of goods to major urban centers throughout the region, unstable electricity supplies retard growth. Eskom, the state-run power company, is building three new power stations and is installing new power demand management programs to improve power grid reliability but has been plagued with accusations of mismanagement and corruption and faces an increasingly high debt burden.

South Africa's economic policy has focused on controlling inflation while empowering a broader economic base; however, the country faces structural constraints that also limit economic growth, such as skills shortages, declining global competitiveness, and frequent work stoppages due to strike action. The government faces growing pressure from urban constituencies to improve the delivery of basic services to low-income areas, to increase job growth, and to provide university level-education at affordable prices. Political infighting among South Africa’s ruling party and the volatility of the rand risks economic growth. International investors are concerned about the country’s long-term economic stability; in late 2016, most major international credit ratings agencies downgraded South Africa’s international debt to junk bond status.

GDP (purchasing power parity)
$11.6 billion (2017 est.)
$11.41 billion (2016 est.)
$11.26 billion (2015 est.)

note: data are in 2017 dollars

$767.2 billion (2017 est.)
$757.2 billion (2016 est.)
$752.9 billion (2015 est.)

note: data are in 2017 dollars

GDP - real growth rate
1.6% (2017 est.)
1.4% (2016 est.)
0.4% (2015 est.)
1.3% (2017 est.)
0.6% (2016 est.)
1.3% (2015 est.)
GDP - per capita (PPP)
$10,100 (2017 est.)
$10,100 (2016 est.)
$10,100 (2015 est.)

note: data are in 2017 dollars

$13,600 (2017 est.)
$13,600 (2016 est.)
$13,800 (2015 est.)

note: data are in 2017 dollars

GDP - composition by sector
agriculture: 6.5% (2017 est.)
industry: 45% (2017 est.)
services: 48.6% (2017 est.)
agriculture: 2.8% (2017 est.)
industry: 29.7% (2017 est.)
services: 67.5% (2017 est.)
Population below poverty line
63% (2010 est.)
16.6% (2016 est.)
Household income or consumption by percentage share
lowest 10%: 1.7%
highest 10%: 40.1% (2010 est.)
lowest 10%: 1.2%
highest 10%: 51.3% (2011 est.)
Inflation rate (consumer prices)
6.2% (2017 est.)
7.8% (2016 est.)
5.3% (2017 est.)
6.3% (2016 est.)
Labor force
427,900 (2016 est.)
22.19 million (2017 est.)
Labor force - by occupation
agriculture: 10.7%
industry: 30.4%
services: 58.9% (2014 est.)
agriculture: 4.6%
industry: 23.5%
services: 71.9% (2014 est.)
Unemployment rate
28% (2014 est.)
28% (2013 est.)
27.5% (2017 est.)
26.7% (2016 est.)
Distribution of family income - Gini index
50.4 (2001)
62.5 (2013 est.)
63.4 (2011 est.)
Budget
revenues: 1.263 billion (2017 est.)
expenditures: 1.639 billion (2017 est.)
revenues: 92.86 billion (2017 est.)
expenditures: 108.3 billion (2017 est.)
Industries
soft drink concentrates, coal, forestry, sugar processing, textiles, and apparel
mining (world's largest producer of platinum, gold, chromium), automobile assembly, metalworking, machinery, textiles, iron and steel, chemicals, fertilizer, foodstuffs, commercial ship repair
Industrial production growth rate
5.6% (2017 est.)
1.2% (2017 est.)
Agriculture - products
sugarcane, corn, cotton, citrus, pineapples, cattle, goats
corn, wheat, sugarcane, fruits, vegetables; beef, poultry, mutton, wool, dairy products
Exports
$1.83 billion (2017 est.)
$1.577 billion (2016 est.)
$94.93 billion (2017 est.)
$75.16 billion (2016 est.)
Exports - commodities
soft drink concentrates, sugar, timber, cotton yarn, refrigerators, citrus, and canned fruit
gold, diamonds, platinum, other metals and minerals, machinery and equipment
Exports - partners
South Africa 94% (2017)
China 9.5%, US 7.7%, Germany 7.1%, Japan 4.7%, India 4.6%, Botswana 4.3%, Namibia 4.1% (2017)
Imports
$1.451 billion (2017 est.)
$1.266 billion (2016 est.)
$89.36 billion (2017 est.)
$79.57 billion (2016 est.)
Imports - commodities
motor vehicles, machinery, transport equipment, foodstuffs, petroleum products, chemicals
machinery and equipment, chemicals, petroleum products, scientific instruments, foodstuffs
Imports - partners
South Africa 81.6%, China 5.2% (2017)
China 18.3%, Germany 11.9%, US 6.6%, Saudi Arabia 4.7%, India 4.7% (2017)
Debt - external
$526.3 million (31 December 2017 est.)
$468.9 million (31 December 2016 est.)
$156.3 billion (31 December 2017 est.)
$144.6 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
Exchange rates
emalangeni per US dollar -
14.44 (2017 est.)
14.6924 (2016 est.)
14.6924 (2015 est.)
12.7581 (2014 est.)
10.8469 (2013 est.)
rand (ZAR) per US dollar -
13.67 (2017 est.)
14.6924 (2016 est.)
14.6924 (2015 est.)
12.7581 (2014 est.)
10.8469 (2013 est.)
Fiscal year
1 April - 31 March
1 April - 31 March
Public debt
28.4% of GDP (2017 est.)
25.5% of GDP (2016 est.)
53% of GDP (2017 est.)
51.6% of GDP (2016 est.)
Reserves of foreign exchange and gold
$563.1 million (31 December 2017 est.)
$564.4 million (31 December 2016 est.)
$50.72 billion (31 December 2017 est.)
$47.23 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
Current Account Balance
$604 million (2017 est.)
$642 million (2016 est.)
-$8.584 billion (2017 est.)
-$8.237 billion (2016 est.)
GDP (official exchange rate)
$4.417 billion (2017 est.)
$349.3 billion (2017 est.)
Stock of direct foreign investment - at home

NA

$156.8 billion (31 December 2017 est.)
$136.8 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
Stock of direct foreign investment - abroad

NA

$270.3 billion (31 December 2017 est.)
$172.8 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
Market value of publicly traded shares
$203.1 million (31 December 2007)
$199.9 million (31 December 2006)

NA

$735.9 billion (31 December 2015 est.)
$933.9 billion (31 December 2014 est.)
$942.8 billion (31 December 2013 est.)
Central bank discount rate
7.25% (31 December 2016)
6.5% (31 December 2015)
5.75% (31 December 2014)
7% (31 December 2009)
Commercial bank prime lending rate
10.75% (31 December 2017 est.)
10.25% (31 December 2016 est.)
10.38% (31 December 2017 est.)
10.46% (31 December 2016 est.)
Stock of domestic credit
$1.144 billion (31 December 2017 est.)
$891.3 million (31 December 2016 est.)
$295.9 billion (31 December 2017 est.)
$244.8 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
Stock of narrow money
$554.3 million (31 December 2017 est.)
$439 million (31 December 2016 est.)
$137.5 billion (31 December 2017 est.)
$117.3 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
Stock of broad money
$554.3 million (31 December 2017 est.)
$439 million (31 December 2016 est.)
$137.5 billion (31 December 2017 est.)
$117.3 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
Taxes and other revenues
28.6% (of GDP) (2017 est.)
26.6% (of GDP) (2017 est.)
Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-)
-8.5% (of GDP) (2017 est.)
-4.4% (of GDP) (2017 est.)
Unemployment, youth ages 15-24
total: 47.1%
male: 44.2%
female: 50.1% (2016)
total: 53.4%
male: 49.2%
female: 58.8% (2018 est.)
GDP - composition, by end use
household consumption: 64% (2017 est.)
government consumption: 21.3% (2017 est.)
investment in fixed capital: 13.4% (2017 est.)
investment in inventories: -0.1% (2017 est.)
exports of goods and services: 47.9% (2017 est.)
imports of goods and services: -46.3% (2017 est.)
household consumption: 59.4% (2017 est.)
government consumption: 20.9% (2017 est.)
investment in fixed capital: 18.7% (2017 est.)
investment in inventories: -0.1% (2017 est.)
exports of goods and services: 29.8% (2017 est.)
imports of goods and services: -28.4% (2017 est.)
Gross national saving
25.4% of GDP (2017 est.)
29.7% of GDP (2016 est.)
23.3% of GDP (2015 est.)
16.1% of GDP (2017 est.)
16.6% of GDP (2016 est.)
16.4% of GDP (2015 est.)

Source: CIA Factbook