Kingdom of Swaziland
CAPITAL : Mbabane (administrative and judicial); Lobamba (royal and parliamentary)
FLAG : Blue, yellow, crimson, yellow, and blue stripes with the shield and spears of the Emasotsha regiment superimposed on the crimson stripe.
ANTHEM : National Anthem, beginning "O God, bestower of the blessings of the Swazi."
MONETARY UNIT : The lilangeni (pl. emalangeni; E ) of 100 cents is a paper currency equal in value to the South African rand, which also is legal tender. There are coins of 1, 2, 5, 10, 20, and 50 cents, 1 lilangeni, and notes of 2, 5, 10, 20, and 50 emalangeni. E 1 = $0.1329 (or $1 = E 7.52) as of May 2003.
WEIGHTS AND MEASURES : The metric system replaced imperial weights and measures in September 1969.
HOLIDAYS : New Year's Day, 1 January; Commonwealth Day, 2nd Monday in March; National Flag Day, 25 April; Birthday of King Sobhuza II, 22 July; Umhlanga (Reed Dance) Day, last Monday in August; Somhlolo (Independence) Day, 6 September; UN Day, 24 October; Christmas Day, 25 December; Boxing Day, 26 December. Movable religious holidays include Good Friday, Holy Saturday, Easter Monday, Ascension, and the Incwala Ceremony.
TIME : 2 PM = noon GMT.
The indigenous African population in Swaziland constitutes 97% of the total populace and comprises more than 70 clans, of which the Nkosi Dlamini, the royal clan, is dominant. Europeans make up the remaining 3%.
English and Siswati, which is spoken by almost all Swazi, are the official languages. Government business is conducted in English.
The Umbutfo Swaziland Defense Force has fewer than 3,000 personnel and functions as a border patrol and an internal security force. A royal guard battalion was formed in 1982. Military expenditures for 2001–02 were $20 million or 4.8% of GDP.
Swaziland joined the UN on 24 September 1968 and participates in ECA and all the nonregional specialized agencies except IAEA, IMO, WIPO, and UNIDO. The country also belongs to the African Development Bank, Commonwealth of Nations, G-77, and OAU. Swaziland is a signatory to the Lomé Convention and the Law of the Sea and is a member of the WTO.
By 1982, several commercial fish farms had been established and some Rural Development Areas had fish ponds. Annual production was estimated at 70 tons in 2000.
The Swaziland Royal Insurance Corp., 41% state owned, began operating in 1974. It is majority-owned by South African insurance and reinsurance companies. The Swaziland National Provident Fund is a mandatory savings institution for employees.
Swaziland belongs to the Southern African Customs Union (SACU) with South Africa, Lesotho, Botswana, and Namibia. South Africa levies and collects most of the customs, sales, and excise duties for the five member states, paying a share of the revenues to the other four. Local import duties are applied to wines, spirits, and beer. Swaziland also signed a double taxation agreement with the United States in 2000.
Sobhuza II (1899–1982) was king, or ngwenyama, of the Swazi nation from 1921 until his death. Mswati III (b.1968) became king in 1986.
Swaziland has no territories or colonies.
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