The Kingdom of Swaziland is a small land- locked country covering 17,364 bordering South Africa and Mozambique. The country is divided into four administrative regions namely, Hhohho, Manzini, Shiselweni and Lubombo. The King is the head of State and appoints the Prime Minister as Chairperson of the Cabinet and the head of the Government. The country is divided further into 55 Local Authorities (Tinkhundla) and 365 Chiefdoms. Swaziland has a population of 1.1 million of which 53 per cent are women. It has a young and growing population with slightly over half (52 per cent) the population under the age of 20 with a median age that has grown from 17.3 years in 1997 to 19.21 years in 2007.
Swaziland is classified as a lower middle income country with a (GDP) per capita of about $3, 000 and GDP of $6.259 billion. The economy is predominantly agriculture-based with 77 per cent of the population residing in rural areas and deriving their livelihoods from subsistence agriculture. The Government’s National Development Strategy (NDS) provides the overarching national development framework for Swaziland. It focuses on improved standards of living particularly, poverty eradication, employment creation, gender equality and environmental protection.
The Government developed and adopted the Poverty Reduction Strategy and Action Programme (PRSAP, 2006-2015) to serve as a means and guide to realize the national vision and attain the MDGs. To strengthen the implementation of the PRSAP, a Sector Wide Approach (SWAp) was adopted and piloted in the planning and budgeting process in four priority sectors; agriculture; education; health; and water & sanitation (WASH?). The SWAp approach has added value in terms of improving coordination between development partners, reducing duplication of efforts, streamlining resources with good examples in Health, Education and WASH. In 2011, the country developed the Economic Recovery Strategy, aimed at addressing stagnant growth.
The Government Programme of Action 2013-2018 was also developed to guide the process of effectively responding to the adverse impacts of the global financial and economic crisis, to pursue poverty reduction and improve service delivery. The Programme of Action provided the overall policy direction on enhanced performance management for effective and efficient delivery of public services.
The Government of Swaziland has ratified and acceded to a wide range of international conventions and has created a legal and policy framework to realize its international commitments and to enable its citizens to fulfil their potential. Swaziland has made good progress on several of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and is on track to achieve MDG 2 (Universal primary education), MDG 3 (Promote gender equality and empower women), and MDG 6 (Combat HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases). However, other MDGs require acceleration including: MDG 1 (Eradicate extreme poverty), MDG 4 (Reduce child mortality) MDG 7 (Ensure environmental sustainability) and in particular MDG 5 (Improve maternal health) which is the goal towards which Swaziland has made the least progress.
Swaziland also participated in the dialogue on “The World We Want”, to shape the global post-2015 agenda through an inclusive national participation process. In the process of formulating “The Swaziland We Want,” it was agreed that the MDGs were still very critical to the long-term socio-economic development of Swaziland and had to be taken forward in the post-2015 era. After the global consultation, the Open Working Group established by the UN General Assembly proposed 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and targets, which are to be further elaborated with measurable outcomes and indicators. These SDGs build on the foundation laid by the MDGs and seek to complete the unfinished agenda, as well as respond to new challenges.