That estimated dollar amount reflects a 28.8% increase from $1.85 billion five years earlier during 2018.
Year over year, overall sales of Eswatini’s exports accelerated by 15.2% compared to $2.07 billion for 2021.
Eswatini (or Eswatini) is a landlocked nation in southern Africa surrounded by South Africa and Mozambique on its northeastern border.
Based on the average exchange rate for 2022, Eswatini’s official currency is the Swazi lilangeni. Eswatini’s currency shrank by -23.6% against the US dollar since 2018 and diluted by -10.7% from 2021 to 2022. Consequently, Eswatini’s weaker local currency makes its exports paid for in stronger US dollars relatively less expensive for international buyers.
Eswatini’s Major Trading Partners
The latest available country-specific data from 2021 shows that 93% of products exported from Eswatini were bought by importers in: South Africa (67.9% of Eswatini’s global total), Kenya (5.6%), Nigeria (3.9%), Mozambique (3.4%), Zimbabwe (2.4%), United Kingdom (1.94%), Tanzania (1.92%), Botswana (1.5%), Spain (1.4%), Namibia (1.1%), Zambia (1%) and Uganda (0.9%).
From a continental perspective, 92.9% of Eswatini’s exports by value was delivered to fellow African countries while 5.5% was sold to importers in Europe. Eswatini shipped another 0.9% worth of goods to North America.
Tinier percentages went to Asia (0.6%), Oceania’s Australia and New Zealand (0.01%) then Latin America (0.0003%) excluding Mexico but including the Caribbean.
Given Eswatini’s population of 1.151 million people, its total $2.38 billion in 2022 exports translates to roughly $2,050 for every resident in the southern African country. That dollar metric exceeds the average $1,800 per capita one year earlier during 2021.
Eswatini’s Top 10 Exports
The following export product groups represent the highest dollar value in Swazi global shipments during 2022. Also shown is the percentage share each export category represents in terms of overall exports from Eswatini.
- Perfumes, cosmetics: US$542.4 million (22.8% of total exports)
- Mineral fuels including oil: $494.9 million (20.8%)
- Sugar, sugar confectionery: $369.7 million (15.5%)
- Other chemical goods: $207.1 million (8.7%)
- Clothing, accessories (not knit or crochet): $156.9 million (6.6%)
- Wood: $137.8 million (5.8%)
- Knit or crochet clothing, accessories: $61.2 million (2.6%)
- Machinery including computers: $38.4 million (1.6%)
- Vegetable/fruit/nut preparations: $34.1 million (1.4%)
- Pharmaceuticals: $32.7 million (1.4%)
Eswatini’s top 10 exports accounted for 87.1% of the overall value of its global shipments.
Pharmaceuticals represent the fastest grower among the top 10 export categories, up by 7,238% from 2021 to 2022.
In second place for improving export sales was mineral fuels including oil via a 1,926% advance, led by refined petroleum oils and coal.
Eswatini’s shipments of machinery including computers posted the third-fastest gain in value, up by 44.3%.
The leading decliner among Eswatini’s top 10 export categories was miscellaneous chemical goods, pulled down by a -22.5% year-over-year drop.
At the more granular four-digit Harmonized Tariff System code level, Eswatini’s most valuable exported products in 2022 were scents used for beverage or industrial manufacturing (22.6%), processed petroleum oils (16.8%), sugar (12.8%), chemical industry products or residuals (8.5%), sawn wood (3.4%), unknitted and non-crocheted women’s clothing (2.7%), unknitted and non-crocheted men’s suits and trousers (also 2.7%), coal including solid fuels made from coal (2.4%), fuel wood or wood chips and sawdust (1.7%), then petroleum gases (1.5%).
Products Generating Eswatini’s Best Trade Surpluses
Overall Eswatini achieved an estimated US$361.4 million product trade surplus for 2022, reversing -$54.4 million in red ink one year earlier in 2021.
The following types of Swazi product shipments represent positive net exports or a trade balance surplus. Investopedia defines net exports as the value of a country’s total exports minus the value of its total imports.
In a nutshell, net exports represent the amount by which foreign spending on a home country’s goods or services exceeds or lags the home country’s spending on foreign goods or services.
- Perfumes, cosmetics: US$504 million (Down by -9.7% since 2021)
- Sugar, sugar confectionery: $350.4 million (Down by -22.5%)
- Mineral fuels including oil: $201.9 million (Reversing a -$339.1 million deficit)
- Other chemical goods: $176.5 million (Down by -22.4%)
- Clothing, accessories (not knit or crochet): $136.4 million (Up by 5.8%)
- Wood: $108.3 million (Down by -2.4%)
- Knit or crochet clothing, accessories: $39.2 million (Down by -23.4%)
- Vegetable/fruit/nut preparations: $15.4 million (Down by -12.8%)
- Miscellaneous textiles, worn clothing: $11.9 million (Up by 51.9%)
- Tin: $6.9 million (Reversing a -$2,000 deficit)
Eswatini has highly positive net exports in the international trade of perfumes and cosmetics. In turn, these cashflows indicate Eswatini’s strong competitive advantages under the perfumes and cosmetics product category.
Products Causing Eswatini’s Worst Trade Deficits
Below are exports from Eswatini that result in negative net exports or product trade balance deficits. These negative net exports reveal product categories where foreign spending on home country Eswatini’s goods trail Swazi importer spending on foreign products.
- Machinery including computers: -US$117.3 million (Up by 17.7% since 2021)
- Vehicles: -$99.9 million (Down by -7.4%)
- Cereals: -$84.7 million (Down by -0.9%)
- Plastics, plastic articles: -$79 million (Down by -7.5%)
- Electrical machinery, equipment: -$70 million (Down by -24.2%)
- Gems, precious metals: -$58 million (Up by 9613.1%)
- Articles of iron or steel: -$51.2 million (Down by -0.2%)
- Organic chemicals: -$49.5 million (Up by 186.7%)
- Fertilizers: -$38.1 million (Up by 17.9%)
- Iron, steel: -$33.7 million (Down by -6.1%)
Eswatini has highly negative net exports and therefore deep international trade deficits under the machinery including computers product category.
Examples of Eswatini’s Export Companies
Not one Swazi corporation ranks among Forbes Global 2000 for 2022.
Wikipedia lists companies from Eswatini that support or are related to international trade transactions and processes. Selected examples are shown below.
- Central Bank of Eswatini (state-owned bank)
- Eswatini Airlink (state-owned airliner)
- Swazi Rail (state-owned railroad)
- Tibiyo TakaNgwane (media/sugar/real estate conglomerate)
In macroeconomic terms, Eswatini’s total exported goods represent 16% of its overall Gross Domestic Product for 2022 ($12.9 billion valued in Purchasing Power Parity US dollars). That 16% for exports to overall GDP in PPP for 2022 compares to 15.9% for 2021. These percentages suggest a relatively increasing reliance on products sold on international markets for Eswatini’s total economic performance, albeit based on a short timeframe.
Another key indicator of economic performance is a country’s jobless rate. In 2022, Eswatini’s unemployment rate averaged 24.39% down from an average 24.56% for 2021.
Eswatini’s capital city is Mbabane.
See also South Africa’s Top 10 Exports, Mozambique’s Top 10 Exports and Kenya’s Top 10 Exports
Central Intelligence Agency, The World Factbook report on Africa: Eswatini. Accessed on October 19, 2023
Forbes Global 2000 rankings, The World’s Biggest Public Companies. Accessed on October 19, 2023
Foreign Trade , United States Census Bureau. Accessed on October 19, 2023
International Monetary Fund, World Economic Outlook Database (GDP based on Purchasing Power Parity). Accessed on October 19, 2023
International Trade Centre, Trade Map. Accessed on October 19, 2023
Investopedia, Net Exports Definition. Accessed on October 19, 2023
Wikimedia Commons, Flag of Eswatini. Accessed on October 19, 2023
Wikipedia, Eswatini. Accessed on October 19, 2023
Wikipedia, List of Companies of Eswatini. Accessed on October 19, 2023
World’s Capital Cities, Capital Facts for Mbabane, Eswatini. Accessed on October 19, 2023