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 United States and Eswatini have enjoyed good bilateral relations since Eswatini’s independence from the United Kingdom in 1968 and its initial 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 Five years after independence, the country’s ruler, King Sobhuza II, repealed the constitution and began to rule by decree.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 2005, under Sobhuza’s son, King Mswati III, the country implemented a new constitution and Eswatini emerged as an absolute monarchy. King Mswati III and Queen Mother Ntombi, the king’s mother, rule as co-monarchs and exercise ultimate authority over the cabinet, legislature, and judiciary. Political power remains largely vested with the king and traditional structures. Governmental structures include a cabinet led by a prime minister (who is appointed by the king), a bicameral parliament consisting of the Senate and House of Assembly, and a dualistic judicial system, with both constitutional and traditional courts. 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, with U.S. support through the PEPFAR program, has made notable progress in controlling the HIV epidemic in a country with the world’s highest HIV prevalence at an estimated 27 percent among people 15 years and older. The recently completed 2021 Eswatini Population-based HIV Impact Assessment survey, locally known as “SHIMS3”, demonstrated sustained progress towards the ambitious UNAIDS Fast Track 95-95-95 targets set for 2025. SHIMS3 revealed that in Eswatini, 94 percent of adults aged 15 years and older living with HIV are aware of their status, 97 percent of those aware of their status are on antiretroviral therapy (ART), and 96 percent of those on ART have achieved viral suppression. This is compared to the SHIMS2 (2016-2017) results of 87-89-91, reflecting laudable progress despite the threats presented by the COVID-19 pandemic. Work remains to close coverage gaps among adolescents and young adults and children, 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.
After closing the program in 1996, Peace Corps returned to Eswatini in 2003 at the request of the Eswatini government to assist in addressing the HIV/AIDS epidemic. Peace Corps Volunteers, Response Volunteers, and Virtual Service Program Participants are working towards an HIV free generation in their communities, clinics, and schools. Since 1969, more than 1700 volunteers have served in Eswatini in the education, agriculture, community health, and youth development. The majority of Volunteers serve for two years under the Community Health (CHAMP) and Youth Development (Y-Deep) Frameworks. Response Volunteers and those completing Virtual Service are expanding program reach into new development areas, working in conjunction with local experts on community-identified issues such as information technology, communications, and the environment.
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.
Bilateral Economic Relations
Eswatini is a member of the Southern African Customs Union, which 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 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. The country also benefits from preferential trade treatment under the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA), as well from its quota of sugar that may be imported to the U.S. at the preferential in-quota tariff. Several U.S. companies operate in Eswatini, including Coca-Cola, Kellogg’s, and Mondelez.
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: