Eswatini: A Jewel of Southern Africa

Geography and Climate

Nestled in Southern Africa, between Mozambique and South Africa, the Kingdom of Eswatini spans an area of approximately 17,364 square kilometers. This landlocked nation boasts a terrain characterized by mountains and hills, alongside moderately sloping plains, making it a scenic masterpiece. Despite its lack of a coastline, Eswatini compensates with its breathtaking landscapes. The country’s climate varies considerably, ranging from tropical in the lowlands to near temperate in the higher regions, accommodating a diverse range of flora and fauna.

Natural Resources and Land Use

Eswatini is blessed with abundant natural resources including asbestos, coal, clay, cassiterite, hydropower, and forests. Notably, it also harbors small gold and diamond deposits, quarry stone, and talc. Agricultural land accounts for 68.30% of the total land area, while forests cover 31.70%, reflecting the nation’s rich biodiversity and agricultural potential. The Great Usutu River and Emlembe, the lowest and highest elevation points in the country, highlight the geographic diversity that underpins its natural beauty and resources.

Population and Society

As of July 2020, Eswatini’s population was estimated at 1,104,479. The distribution of this population is uneven, primarily concentrated in valleys and plains due to the mountainous terrain. Urbanization is relatively low, with only about 24.20% of the population residing in urban areas, including Mbabane, the capital city, which houses approximately 68,000 residents. The country’s official languages are English and siSwati, reflecting its colonial history and cultural heritage. The people of Eswatini are known as liSwati (singular) or emaSwati (plural), though the term Swazi remains widely used among English speakers.


The economy of Eswatini is diverse, with agriculture playing a significant role alongside industries such as soft drink concentrates production, coal mining, forestry, sugar processing, textiles, and apparel. Sugarcane, corn, cotton, citrus, pineapples, cattle, and goats are among the primary agricultural products, supporting both local consumption and export.

Trade and Industry

On the trading front, Eswatini maintains a robust relationship with South Africa, its primary export and import partner, showcasing the intertwined economic dynamics between the two countries. In 2017, South Africa accounted for 94% of Eswatini’s exports, including soft drink concentrates, sugar, timber, cotton yarn, refrigerators, citrus, and canned fruit. Conversely, Eswatini imported mainly motor vehicles, machinery, transport equipment, foodstuffs, petroleum products, and chemicals from South Africa, highlighting the dependency on its neighbor for essential goods and services. Additionally, China emerged as a significant import partner, accounting for 5.2% of imports in 2017, signifying the kingdom’s attempts to diversify its trade relations.

Infrastructure and Development Challenges

Despite its rich natural resources and economic activities, Eswatini faces challenges in ensuring inclusive growth and development. One of the critical issues is the electrification, with approximately 900,000 people lacking access to electricity as of 2017. This presents significant hurdles in achieving sustainable development goals, particularly in rural areas where the majority of the non-electrified population resides.

Agriculture and Irrigation

Agriculture remains a backbone of Eswatini’s economy, yet it relies heavily on the estimated 500 square kilometers of irrigated land, as of 2012, to ensure productivity and food security. This dependence underscores the importance of sustainable water management practices amid growing concerns over climate change and environmental degradation.


Eswatini, a country of stunning natural beauty and cultural richness, stands at a crossroads between preserving its traditions and embracing modern development. With its strategic location in Southern Africa, diverse economy, and potential for growth, Eswatini can overcome its challenges through sustainable development strategies, enhanced regional integration, and focusing on renewable energy sources to power its future. As the world moves towards a more interconnected and environmentally conscious era, Eswatini’s journey represents a unique blend of heritage and innovation, holding valuable lessons for sustainable development and cultural preservation.

Country data

Country Code WZ
Region Africa
Surface 17364 sq km
Land Surface 17204 sq km
Water Surface 160 sq km
Agricultural Surface 68.30%
Forest Surface 31.70%
Lowest Elevation Point Great Usutu River 21 m
Highest Elevation Point Emlembe 1,862 m
GDP / capita $10,100 (2017 est.)