The United States and Swaziland have had good bilateral relations since Swaziland’s independence from the United Kingdom in 1968 as a constitutional monarchy. Five years after independence, Swaziland’s ruler, King Sobhuza II, repealed the constitution. Sobhuza II ruled by decree until 2006, when the country implemented its first constitution in over 30 years. U.S. policy seeks to maintain and strengthen bilateral relations, and stresses Swaziland’s continued political and economic reform.
U.S. Assistance to Swaziland
Swaziland ranks as a lower middle income country, but it is estimated that 69 percent of the population lives in poverty. Most of the high-level economic activity is in the hands of non-Africans, but ethnic Swazis are becoming more active. The U.S. supports health promotion and health systems strengthening, entrepreneurship, youth development and education, security sector capacity-building, and trade promotion in Swaziland.
Swaziland is struggling to mitigate the world’s highest prevalence rates of HIV and TB. Thirty-one percent of Swaziland’s adult population (aged 18-49) is infected with HIV. Peak prevalence among women stands at a staggering 54 percent in the 30-34 age group. In 2009, the U.S. and Swaziland signed the second-ever Partnership Framework Agreement under the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR). The agreement is a five-year joint program strategy to strengthen, scale up, and sustain key components of the HIV response and the overall health sector capacity. Through PEPFAR support, Swaziland’s Antiretroviral Therapy (ART) program now reaches approximately 75 percent of those in need of ART; 91 percent of HIV+ pregnant women are receiving antiretrovirals for their health or for prevention of mother-to-child transmission. The two countries also have finalized a memorandum of understanding expanding the Peace Corps mission’s HIV/AIDS-focused duties to include education capacity-building activities such as computer-skills training, life-skills support, and teacher training.
The U.S. Government brings about six Swazi professionals to the United States each year, from both the public and private sectors, primarily for master’s degrees, and about six others for 3-week to 4-week International Visitor programs. Through the security assistance program, the U.S. brings approximately 25 members of the Swazi security forces to the United States for education and training purposes. The United States also supports Swazi participation in regionally based training and capacity-building programs, such as at the International Law Enforcement Academy in Gaborone, Botswana.
Bilateral Economic Relations
In January 2015, Swaziland became ineligible for preferential trade benefits under the African Growth and Opportunity Act. 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. Swaziland also is a member of the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa, which has a Trade and Investment Framework Agreement with the United States.
Swaziland’s Membership in International Organizations
Swaziland 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. Swaziland maintains an embassy in the United States at 1712 New Hampshire Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20009; Tel: 202-234-5002.
Principal U.S. Officials
Deputy Chief of Mission—Michael Lombardo
Peace Corps Country Director—Glenda Green
The U.S. Embassy in Swaziland is situated at next to the Gables shopping center. Physical address is:
Corner of MR 103 and Cultural Center Drive, Ezulwini
- O. Box D202
Phone number: (+268) 2417-9000
Fax: (+268) 2416-3344