The Kingdom of eSwatini is classified as a middle income country – GDP – per capita $4,500 (2010 est.) but income is distributed unequally – the richest 10% of the population control almost 40% of the total income, while the poorest 40% control only 14%. It is estimated that 55% of the rural population live below the poverty line.
The Swazi population is predominantly rural, with only 32% of the population being urbanised. The contribution of agriculture to GDP, however, has steadily declined from 21% in 1985 to 9% in 2003. 56% of the land area is referred to as Swazi Nation Land (SNL), which is vested in the King, in trust for the nation; 44% is privately owned Title Deed Land (TDL).
There is a modern commercial sector, mainly on TDL (main products being sugar cane, pineapple and citrus), and a smallholder traditional sector, on SNL. Most SNL land area is used for communal grazing. Crop production on family smallholdings covers only about 10% of the area. The SNL is overgrazed with soil erosion and land degradation undermining the sustainability of farming systems. Access to capital is also a severe constraint for most SNL farmers.
The currency in eSwatini is the Lilangeni (plural Emalangeni). It is linked to and of equal value to the South African Rand. The 2017 exchange was approximately £1:E16.