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Swaziland
Facts
Area: 17,364
Population: 1.1 million
Languages: Swazi, English
Religions: Christian, Indigenous beliefs
GNI per capita: US$2,520
Currency: 1 Lilangeni = 100 cents
 
The kingdom of Swaziland is one of the world's last remaining absolute monarchies. The government of Swaziland is not democratic. King Mswati III has ruled the country since 1986. Under his rule, political parties are banned, and he appoints the prime minister and a portion of Parliament. 
 
Swaziland is a small country surrounded by South Africa and Mozambique, just less than half of Taiwan. It has a generally mild climate.
 
Economically, it relies on South Africa, which receives almost half of Swazi exports and supplies most of its imports.
 
Most of people live in the countryside and follow traditional ways of life. Agriculture is at the heart of Swaziland’s economy. Many of farmers have only small plots of land and struggle to grow sufficient food for their families. They rarely have anything left to sell for income that can supply necessary items such as clothing and education for their children.
 
Many Swazi live in chronic poverty and food shortages are widespread. AIDS is taking a heavy toll with more than 40% of the population believed infected with HIV. The virus has killed many workers and farmers and has created thousands of orphans. Life expectancy has plummeted.  

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