The critical environmental and sustainability issues of Eswatini (Swaziland) :
Eswatini has a population of just above a million at 1,093,238. Despite its classification as a lower-middle-income nation, 63 percent of the Kingdom of Swaziland’s population still lives below the poverty line. Poverty is most pronounced in rural areas at 70.2% than in urban areas at 19.6% (2017) and in males at 67% than in females at 59.4%. Poverty is highest in the Shiselweni and Lubombo regions at 71.5% and 67.3% respectively (2017). In 2015, Swaziland was ranked 150 out of 188 countries in the Human Development Index (HDI).
Swaziland is a lower middle-income country with a population of about 1.2 million people. Most citizens are ethnic Swazis. About half of Swazis live in poverty. Forty percent of Swazis are unemployed and 70 percent of the workforce is employed in sustenance farming.
A tertiary education is a rare thing in Swaziland. Just 5 percent of students go on to attend university. In 2000, 76 percent of grade six students read below the grade six level. Ninety-six percent were below grade six level in math. This has improved significantly in recent years. In 2007, the 76 percent in reading decreased to 62, while the 96 percent of struggling math students dropped slightly, to 94 percent. These are projected to continue dropping.
Swaziland has a score of 22.5 out of 50 on the Global Hunger Index (GHI), indicating that the level of hunger in the country is serious. Around 25.5 percent of Swazi children under the age of 5 show signs of growth stunting or being irreversibly short for their age. In real numbers, this is around 43,000 children. Child undernutrition has significant economic ramifications for Swaziland. According to the World Food Programme (WFP), approximately $92 million or 3.1 percent of the country’s GDP was lost in 2009 as a direct result of child undernutrition.
- Health Care
Between 2000 and 2002, life expectancy at birth stood at 46.5 years but rose to 48.7 years from 2009 to 2016. This is still far below the World Health Organization’s estimated global average of 72 years in 2016. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) states that the top five causes of death in Swaziland are HIV (31 percent), lower respiratory infections (8 percent), tuberculosis (7 percent), diarrheal diseases (5 percent), and strokes (4 percent). Out of these five, HIV and tuberculosis are the most common diseases in Swaziland and especially harmful to the Swazi population. HIV affects 26 percent of the population between the ages of 15 and 49. People who have HIV in Swaziland are up to 37 times more likely to develop tuberculosis. In fact, 80 percent of tuberculosis patients in Swaziland also have HIV. Out of 100,000 people, 1,380 Swazis develop tuberculosis annually.