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Swaziland: Doning business and staying in touch

Doing Business in Swaziland

Lightweight suits are generally expected for business. Appointments are necessary and business cards are exchanged. English is widely spoken in business circles.

Office Hours

Mon-Fri 0800-1300 and 1400-1645.

Economy

The economy is dominated by and closely linked with that of South Africa, and the country is a member of the Southern African Customs Union (through which the government receives around half its total revenue).

Agriculture is by far the largest part of the economy, employing over 75% of the working population. The industrial sector is mainly concerned with processing agricultural products, largely food and wood products including paper, and also the production of textiles and metal goods. The country's mining industry produces coal, of which there are extensive reserves, and diamonds.

Unemployment remains at an estimated 40% (2006); GDP growth rate is 1.6% (2007); and inflation is running at about 6% (2007).
The principal facilities are at the Royal Swazi Convention Centre in the Ezulwini Valley, which has seating for up to 600 people. Several hotels also have facilities for smaller numbers, with back-up services. The tourist office (see Contact Addresses) can supply information.

GDP

US$2.7 billion (2007).

Main exports

Soft drink concentrates, sugar, pulp, canned fruits and cotton yarn.

Main imports

Chemicals, clothing, food, machinery and motor vehicles.

Main trading partners

South Africa, EU and Japan.

Keeping in Touch in Swaziland

Telephone

Outgoing international calls must go through the international operator. Public telephones are available.

Mobile Phone

Roaming agreements exist with some international mobile phone operators. Coverage is mostly good, but can be patchy in rural areas.

Internet

Internet facilities are very scarce outside of Mbabane, Manzini, Ezulwini Valley and the Malkerns Valley.

Media

Swaziland is an absolute monarchy, and for this reason freedom of the press does not exist in the same way as in democratic societies. Any criticism of the king is regarded as disrespectful and is not tolerated within the media.

Post

Post offices are in all main centres. Airmail to Europe is unreliable and can take from two weeks to two months.

Post Office hours

Mon-Fri 0800-1300 and 1400-1600, Sat 0800-1100.