Endowed with rich cultural heritage, scenic beauty, rich soils and natural resources, Swaziland truly leaves up to the adage that “DYNAMITE COMES IN SMALL PACKAGES”. A strong financial services sectors backed by a sound regulatory and legal framework, excellent market access, an educated and vibrant labour pool and many other attributes are some of the attractions in the country. To this end the Government has identified certain key sectors encompassing a broad sector base each offering excellent growth potential.
The country boasts the availability of mineral deposits, giving huge prospects in mining activities being undertaken. The minerals include the following:
- Quarried stones
Swaziland is endowed with minerals of which some are of economic importance and hence they can be exploited for socio-economic development. Minerals of economic significance, which can readily be exploited, include coal, gold, diamond, kaolin, silica, ball clays, and barite. Minerals such as tin, manganese iron ore, arsenic, scheelite, copper, nickel, and manganese either occur in small deposits or the quality is so low such that it renders them uneconomic at prevailing economic rates. The minerals of little significance are not included in this minerals study.
In the eastern part of the country vast amounts of coal are found. The potential of this coalfield has been slightly taped by two mines, namely the EmaSwati Colliery (Mpaka Mine) and Maloma Anthracite Mine, and the Maloma mine is the only one still in operation. Potential for exploitation still exists in the dormant Mpaka mine and surrounding areas, Maloma, Mhlume, Lubhuku and St. Philips environs. With the expected electrical power shortage by 2007 in the SADC region, coal in Swaziland possesses a huge potential for investment.
Economic deposits of gold are known to occur in the north-western part of Swaziland in an area largely proclaimed as a nature reserve, the Malolotja Nature Reserve. These occurrences presently lie as dormant mines, which have been partially exploited. For local exploitation and beneficiation of minerals, a number of small deposits of industrial minerals that include talc, silica, kaolin and ball clays posses a huge potential for small-scale mining operations. However, exploitation of these deposits mainly hinge on the future setting up of a ceramic industry.
The landscape of Swaziland is mostly made up of granites, which are barren in economic minerals. However, this rock-type including the greenchert can be used as dimension and ornamental stones for interior and exterior decoration. Other rocks, such as greenchert can also be used for ornamental purposes. The market locally and internationally apparently is insatiable.
Any attempt to exploit the economic minerals is clearly dependent on availability of good infrastructure and Investor friendly policies. Most areas in Swaziland are serviced by a good infrastructure, which include tarred or well-maintained public or private road, reliable electricity, automatic exchange telephone lines with international dialling and a railway line. Swaziland Railway provides a gateway to Maputo Harbour in Mozambique, Richards Bay Harbour in the Republic of South Africa and its northern link line connects to most of the SADC region through Komatipoort. Swaziland is also endowed with clean water from perennial rivers draining mainly from west to east.
Overview and Performance
Tourism is second only to the motor industry in the global economy and forms a vital component of Swaziland economic performance. Following erratic performance for several years, there was a significant improvement during 1997/8 with an increase in regional and overseas tourists.
Although this growth was sustained during 1998/9 there remains keen competition from neighbouring countries. Of particular concern is South Africa's Gaming Act which has resulted in the opening of many new casinos to the detriment of Swaziland's own establishments.
On the positive side, however, Swaziland's peace, stability and low crime rate compared with South Africa's have a beneficial impact and negate many of adverse trends.
Another development which had a positive impact were the new passenger rail link connecting Swaziland with Mozambique and South Africa, and additional facilities in the Lubombo region as part of the Lubombo Spatial Initiative.
Room occupancy rose from 415,800 to 424,320 nights - a small increase of 2% - while receipts were up by just over 5% from E170 to E179 million.
Swaziland is a popular weekend and conference venue and her tourism industry is characterised by short stays of one or two nights. It relies heavily on South African visitors and to "spillover" from tourists to that country and the region as Swaziland is too small to stand alone as an international tourist destination.
Visa requirements and border procedures still need to be addressed in order to facilitate more convenient entering and leaving. Plans to extend the hours of two main border gates will relieve congestion and it is hoped that, in line with trends in other countries, visa requirements will be limited or waived. Swaziland has no jurisdiction over South Africa's border requirements which are sometimes daunting for holders of certain passports.
The industry is actively promoted through participation at overseas and regional exhibitions, and with informative publications. A Tourism Authority Bill, which is aimed at expanding the industry, was announced during the year and the EU and World Bank were both providing funding to stimulate the sector through various programmes.
The cultural village at Mantenga, where visitors can observe the day to day activities of a typical Swazi homestead lifestyle, has proved to be a tremendous success and plans are in hand to expand this.
Swaziland's attractions include several nature reserves where wild animals - including the "Big Five", birds and indigenous flora thrive in natural, protected environments. Walking and riding trails with camping facilities are widely available, as well as off-road trips in 4 x 4 vehicles. Swaziland's proximity to the world-famous Kruger National Park is also a point in her favour.
The diverse grades of hotels for leisure and business range from simple accommodation through to the middle group ideal for business people, up to the equivalent of five star hotels. Casino hotels are located at Piggs Peak, Nhlangano and in the Ezulwini Valley, the major tourist centre, where the Sun International Group also operates an international standard golf course.
Horse trails are growing in popularity and provide a wonderful means of seeing the scenic country. At time of writing, various tourism-oriented organisations had joined together to create a 12 day riding/camping tour covering different camps.
Other activities available to tourists include caving, potholing, white water rafting, hiking trails and fly fishing, as well as more conventional sports such as tennis and golf.
The continued devaluation of the Lilangeni against the major currencies provides overseas visitors with excellent value for money, irrespective of the type of holiday they choose.
Craft centres throughout the country are also an attraction for many tourists and in many cases they may watch the various items being created and purchase the finished products.
Other attractions are the colourful cultural ceremonies such as the Reed Dance in August or September and the Incwala in December or January, as well as the traditional Sibhaca dance.
Riding trails are becoming increasingly popular.
Swaziland is extensively promoted as a tourist venue within the Southern Africa region and abroad, using a distinctive red logo and the slogan "Swaziland, the Royal Experience". These readily identify the brochures and leaflets issued by the Department of Tourism, as well as other relevant publications.
The Hotel and Tourism Association is also an active promotional arm for the industry, while international and regional tourism fairs provide further exposure. Swaziland is a member of the Regional Tourism Organisation of Southern Africa (RETOSA).
Many tourism organisations within the handcraft and hotel sector have linked together in a common effort to promote the industry and look after each other's mutual interests. A successful example of this was the 1999 Getaway Show in South Africa, where the Swaziland stand won first prize.
Click here to view the STA website : www.welcometoswaziland.com
Highly Productive Labour Force
According to the latest Investment Climate survey by the World Bank, Swaziland ranks ahead of countries like China, Lesotho and Algeria in terms of labour productivity. Government has and continues to fund tertiary education , mostly in Sciences, Technical and Business skills. Working with rivate sector, our vocational institutes ensure that investor needs are addressed. Our labour costs compare favourably with international low cost destinations, like China, Vietnam, Cambodia and Mauritius. Over the years, a majority of Swazi’s have been taking influential positions in South frica, with major industries like Finance, ICT, Medicine & Engineering being headed by Swazi’s that are based in South Africa. Swaziland has also played host to many South African leaders who were educated in the country during the apartheid regime in SA. Swaziland is a member of ILO. Workers rights are overned by the Employment & Industrial Relations Act. Under the Millennium Development Goals, government is pushing towards free education for all, with government already funding all orphaned & vulnerable children.
MINIMUM WAGES - SAMPLE INDUSTRIES
SECTOR OCCUPATION Minimum Wage (US$)
Agriculture General Labourer US$ 1.80/ Day
Manufacturing & Processing General Labourer US$ 0.60/Hour
Motor Engineering General Labourer US$ 0.50/Hour
The main industrial hub of Swaziland in some 600km from the seaport of Durban
and 400km from Richards Bay. The seaport of Maputo in Mozambique is 200km away.
This comparatively easy and cost-effective access to the busiest entry ports in Southern Africa ensures smooth importation of machinery, equipment and raw
materials, whilst facilitating exports to market destinations abroad.
Swaziland has modern infrastructural facilities to facilitate ease in business operational activities. These include reasonably priced and reliable utilities; modern road infrastructure and railway networks;
reliable haulage and courier services; and sophisticated banking and insurance facilities Whilst Swaziland is a landlocked country, it is able to move imports and exports to Durban (South Africa) and Maputo (Mozambique)
within one day. In addition, Swaziland has an Inland Dry Port which allows customs clearing to be conducted at the Matsapha Industrial Estate in Swaziland. South African Ports of Durban &Richards Bay, Johannesburg & Zimbabwe via Komatipoort. Connection to Maputo, Mozambique Inland Dry Port. Economic routing from Durban to the North, i.e Zimbabwe, Zambia, Malawi & Democratic Republic of Congo.
Advance Factory Shells built by Government offered at subsidised rates Fully Serviced Sites available for industrial development in demarcated industrial
Fully Digital Communications Network
Optic Fibre Systems (cabling)
ROADS & AIR INFRASTRUCTURE
Highly sophisticated road transport services
Dual carriage-way on most major roads
Daily flights to South Africa & Mozambique
Second International Airport under construction
Swaziland's diverse agricultural sector covers sugar, citrus fruit, maize, cotton, forestry and livestock. This sector is a major export earner and a contributor to the GDP (12% in 2002/3). It is also a key supplier to many of the country's manufacturing industries, particularly operations which utilise local sugar and wood.
Self-sufficiency in basic foodstuff production continues to be a national objective and this is encouraged and pursued by government with due consideration to conservation and the development of water and soil resources.
Swaziland's agricultural sector, which may be divided into the formal and informal, or traditional sub-sectors, is the source of livelihood for the majority of people.