There is no compulsory schooling in
Swaziland: yet just over four out of five children are
expected to start the seven-year primary school, which
starts at the age of six.
A small number of students drop out of elementary
school early, often because they are needed at home for
the family's livelihood. Fees for, for example, school
supplies are already charged in primary school, which
can be too expensive for poor families.
Country facts of Swaziland, including geography profile, population statistics, and business data.
Approximately one third of each year of study goes on
to the extension phase, which lasts a maximum of five
years. Girls attend elementary school to the same extent
as boys, but at the post-secondary stage the proportion
of girls decreases.
There is a university and about ten colleges. In
addition, some young Swazis study abroad, mainly in
Literacy is relatively high among both men and women.
The state has invested quite a lot of resources in the
education system, but the AIDS epidemic has created a
shortage of educated teachers.
The government tightens the lashing strap
In an effort to gain control of state spending, the country's new head of
government bans all government officials, including ministers, from flying first
class. Ambrose Dlamini announces that for the same purpose, he will inherit his
predecessor's car instead of buying a new one. Reduced government spending and
high spending have resulted in a high budget deficit. In its forecast, the World
Bank forecasts that the country's GDP will shrink by just over half a percent in
Change of head of government
King Mswati III appoints businessman Mandvulo Ambrose Dlamimi as new head of
government after Sibusiso Barnabas Dlamini who passed away in September. Dlamimi
lacks political experience but, on the other hand, the scope for a government
head is very limited in Swaziland where the king has all power.
The opposition calls for election boycotts
Swaziland holds parliamentary elections. Since parties are not allowed to
participate (see Political system), the choice is between a number of individual
candidates who are loyal to King Mswati III. 59 members are elected and 10 are
directly appointed by the king. The opposition calls the election a farce and
calls for boycott, while the authorities and others who support the system
describe it as a unique blend of tradition and politics according to the AFP
news agency. Before the election, thousands of public servants express their
displeasure with the regime by participating in union-led protest marches
demanding higher salaries.
Premiere for Pride Parade
A Pride parade is being held for the first time in Swaziland where male
homosexuality is prohibited. The historical manifestation in the capital Mbabane
attracts around 500 participants.
Eswatini country's new name
King Mswati III announces that the country is renaming Eswatini which in the
local language means "Swazi place" or "Swazi country" Unlike some other African
countries, Swaziland retained its colonial name in 1968, which has been a source
of controversy. A change of name has been discussed on several occasions. The
King makes his announcement in front of a packed sports arena in connection with
the celebration of 50 years of independence. "Swaziland now retrieves its
original name" announces the King and states that "from now on it is the
official name of the Kingdom of Eswatini".
Protests against expensive national day celebrations
For the sake of unusualness, a demonstration is being held in the capital
Mbabane. Participants protest against deteriorating living conditions and the
ways of celebrating the 50th anniversary of Britain's liberation. The ceremony,
which takes place on April 19, coincides with King Mswatis III's birthday and is
expected to be a lavish story. According to the union that organizes the
protests, funds for the party have been set aside from the country's pension
fund. Police are deployed to disperse demonstrators who burn tires, block
streets and try to get into the head of government.
Free Trade Agreement in Africa
Swaziland is one of 44 countries to sign a Free Trade Agreement at the
African Union Summit in Rwanda. The agreement must be ratified at the national
level before the AFCFTA free trade area can become a reality, but it is seen as
a historically important step towards increased trade exchange within Africa.