Swaziland is a small country almost completely surrounded by South Africa. Due in large part to its geographic position, Swaziland’s economy is heavily dependent upon trade with South Africa. The country has a relatively high per capita income, but nearly 70 percent of the population lives in poverty. Most high-level economic activity is conducted by non-Africans living in Swaziland. Primary education is widespread among boys and girls. The government’s transition from absolute to constitutional monarchy has been slow and remains incomplete. With the highest rate of HIV infection in the world – 26 percent of adults – Swaziland is facing a staggering pandemic. Tuberculosis is also at crisis levels. This health situation has brought overall life expectancy below 50 years, leaving an estimated 130,000 children without parents or adequate support.
The majority of USAID’s work in Swaziland is related to the President’s Emergency Plan for HIV/AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) program, which totals $30.7 million in FY 2011. PEPFAR Swaziland signed a Partnership Framework with the Government of the Kingdom of Swaziland in June 2009 which outlines five key areas of support: 1) sexual prevention of infection; 2) male circumcision; 3) human and institutional capacity development; 4) impact mitigation; and 5) decentralized care and treatment. The first four of these areas are overseen and managed by USAID staff and partners.
Other Swaziland programs managed out of the USAID/Southern Africa regional office in Pretoria include a democracy and governance activity focusing on judicial independence and human rights, and an economic growth activity that reduces obstacles to foreign investment to expand the textile and garment industry.
Last updated: January 16, 2014