Since 2000, Swaziland’s overall export performance has been robust in general. Trade has virtually doubled over this period, in value terms. Over the years, Swaziland’s economy’s openness has clearly increased dramatically, and so too as a result has its susceptibility to external shocks. The growth of the country’s economy is highly dependent on the performance of the world economy, particularly of world prices, as well as the exchange rates and the potential for growth in Swaziland’s major trade markets, particularly South Africa. This has been reflected in the down-turn in export activity that has been evident since 2003.
The export sector suffered due to volatility in the world market and a loss in competitiveness as China and Taiwan were able to acquire a greater share in the global textile industry, and the South African Rand strengthened. That resulted in the closure of some of Swaziland’s textile firms and a loss of jobs in the sector.
Considering these developments, it is, therefore, imperative for the Swazi government to analyse trends in international and regional economic development so that it can foster growth in its economy precisely because it is wholly dependent on outside markets.