More information about Eswatini is available on the Eswatini Page and from other Department of State publications and other sources listed at the end of this fact sheet.
The official name of the Kingdom of Swaziland was changed to the Kingdom of Eswatini, or Eswatini, in April 2018. The United States and Eswatini have had good bilateral relations since Eswatini’s independence from the United Kingdom in 1968 and establishment as a constitutional monarchy. Five years after independence, the country’s ruler, King Sobhuza II, repealed the constitution and began to rule by decree. In 2006, under Sobhuza’s son, King Mswati III, the country implemented a new constitution, and Eswatini emerged as a monarchy with limited democratic checks on the king’s power. Governmental structures include a cabinet led by a prime minister, a bicameral parliament consisting of the Senate and House of Assembly, and a dualistic judicial system, with both constitutional and traditional courts. The king appoints the prime minister, and political power remains largely vested with the king and traditional structures. U.S. policy seeks to maintain and strengthen bilateral relations, and stresses Eswatini’s need for continued political and economic reform. Eswatini is the last country in Africa to maintain diplomatic relations with Taiwan.
U.S. Assistance to Eswatini
Eswatini ranks as a lower-middle income country, but the World Bank estimates that 58.9% of the population lives below the national poverty line. The U.S. Government supports: health promotion and health systems; strengthening accountable governance; rule of law; economic inclusion and empowerment; entrepreneurship; youth development and education; security sector capacity-building; and trade promotion in Eswatini.
Eswatini, still has the world’s highest HIV prevalence rate (approximately 27% of adults aged 15-49), but it is now at the cusp of epidemic control, in part due to PEPFAR’s contributions over the past 16 years to help stem the crisis. Eswatini was one of the first two countries in the world to reach the UNAIDS “95-95-95” benchmark, meaning that 95% of people living with HIV know their status, 95% of that group are on antiretroviral treatment (ART), and 95% of the population on ART are virally suppressed to an extent that they will not infect others easily. Still, more work must be done to close coverage gaps for vulnerable populations, improve treatment retention, and ensure the country has the resources and health system necessary to sustain progress.
The U.S. Government brings an average of three emaSwati students or professionals to the United States each year through the Fulbright Foreign Student Program, from both the public and private sectors, to pursue their master’s degrees, and another three to five people each year for three–to four-week International Visitor Leadership programs. Each year, the Mandela Washington Fellowship supports up to 10 emaSwatis to attend six-week leadership and professional development programs at U.S. universities. The Pan African Youth Leadership Program sends three emaSwati high school students and one mentor/teacher to the United States for leadership training, community service exchanges, and host-family stays.
Through the security assistance program, the U.S. brings approximately six members of Eswatini’s security forces to the United States each year for education and training purposes. The United States also supports training for emaSwati law enforcement entities in regionally based training and capacity building programs, such as at the International Law Enforcement Academy (ILEA) in Gaborone, Botswana. The ILEA hosts approximately 15 emaSwati officers each year for training on specialized skills such as investigating public corruption and combatting human trafficking.
Bilateral Economic Relations
In January 2018, Eswatini regained eligibility for preferential trade benefits under the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) after enacting legislation and reforms related to freedom of assembly, association, and expression, as well as internationally accepted workers’ rights. The country belongs to the Southern African Customs Union, which has signed a Trade, Investment, and Development Cooperative Agreement (TIDCA) with the United States. The TIDCA establishes a forum for consultative discussions, cooperative work, and possible agreements on a wide range of trade issues, with a special focus on customs and trade facilitation, technical barriers to trade, sanitary and phytosanitary measures, and trade and investment promotion. Eswatini also is a member of the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA), which has a Trade and Investment Framework Agreement with the United States.
Eswatini’s Membership in International Organizations
Eswatini and the United States belong to a number of the same international organizations, including the United Nations, International Monetary Fund, World Bank, and World Trade Organization.
Eswatini maintains an embassy in the United States at 1712 New Hampshire Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20009; tel: 202-234-5002.
More information about Eswatini is available from the Department of State and other sources, some of which are listed here: