The Kingdom of Eswatini (formerly named Kingdom of Swaziland) is a small country located between South Africa and Mozambique.
Considered a middle income country, Eswatini’s economy is fairly diversified but was severely hit by two shocks in 2016, with the textile sector being hit the hardest. It is also very dependent on its neighbour, South Africa, from which more than 90% of imports are sourced and to which approximately 60% of the country’s exports are destined.
To support Eswatini’s efforts towards an inclusive and sustainable growth, our cooperation focuses on 2 key areas:
- Agriculture is crucial to eradicate food insecurity and has considerable potential to contribute to the country’s economic development.
- We help the country develop a comprehensive social protection system, to fight poverty and make sure no one is left behind.
Focusing on these 2 sectors is also in line with our general priorities for Africa, namely to combat the root causes of migration, reduce poverty, create jobs, and address inequalities of all sorts.
Our main way of cooperation with Eswatini is bilateral. Our national indicative programme (NIP) under the 11th European Development Fund (EDF) for the period 2014-2020 for Eswatini is in line wit the country’s poverty reduction strategy and action programme.
As Eswatini is not eligible for budget support, our bilateral cooperation is mainly implemented through a programme approach.
Our agricultural programmes focus on production, innovation, renewable energy, irrigation, and entrepreneurship, with the overall goal to boost employment and contribute to lasting food security, while better adapting to climate change and respecting the environment.
Since Eswatini is both part of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) and the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA), it benefits from the EU regional indicative programme for Eastern Africa, Southern Africa, and the Indian Ocean (EA-SA-IO), both as concerns the envelopes dedicated to SADC and COMESA (2014-2020).
Eswatini is also part of the EU-SADC economic partnership agreement (EPA) since 2016.
These regional cooperation schemes promote capacity building, peacebuilding and democracy, industrialisation and investment, cross-border trade, private sector engagement, market access, and overall regional integration.
The EU’s accompanying measures for sugar protocol countries (AMSP) have helped increase the industry’s competitiveness and alleviate poverty in participating countries. As part of these measures, in Eswatini, the ‘Smallholder irrigation project’ (2009-2013) successfully helped enhance the profitability, sustainability, and competitiveness of smallholder farms producing irrigated sugarcane.
We also support civil society organisations (CSOs) in Eswatini, via our Development Cooperation Instrument (DCI) and the European Instrument for Democracy and Human Rights (EIDHR). These contracts are directly managed by the EU delegation on the ground.