Eswatini’s debt-to-GDP ratio the lowest in CMA

By Phiwa Sikhondze

Eswatini has distinguished itself within the Common Monetary Area (CMA) by maintaining significantly lower public debt levels compared to its regional counterparts.

This is according to the Central Bank of Eswatini’s (CBE) Governor’s Annual Monetary Policy Statement, which was delivered by Dr. Phil Mnisi the, CBE Governor yesterday at The Royal Villas.

The event was attended by various captains of industry and government officials.

As of March 2024, Eswatini’s total public debt stood at E34.4 billion, equivalent to 37.1% of the country’s GDP. This figure represents a modest 4.2% increase from the previous year’s E33 billion.

By comparison, other CMA countries have much higher debt-to-GDP ratios, often exceeding 60%. At the end of April 2024, the country’s total public debt stood at 33.3 billion, an equivalent of 36% of GDP.

Mnisi noted in his address that by maintaining a public debt-to-GDP ratio well below the 40% mark, the country has set a standard for other countries within the Common Monetary Area (CMA).

“I think we are the only one that is below 40%, others are sitting at 63%, 73%, and other countries in Africa are even over 100% of GDP. So this becomes a concern in terms of managing and implementing monetary policy when the fiscus is out of control,” the Governor noted.

According to, Namibia’s debt-to-GDP ratio currently stands at over 67%, while South Africa’s debt-to-GDP ratio sits at an alarming 70.7%. Lesotho, another country that forms part of the CMA had its debt to GDP ratio standing at 59% in 2022.

This fiscal achievement comes at a time when many economies are grappling with high debt levels, making Eswatini’s accomplishment particularly noteworthy. Eswatini’s fiscal prudence has been attributed to several factors, including the government’s effective debt management strategies and collaborative initiatives with the CBE.

Notably, the establishment of the SACU Revenue Stabilization Fund, which currently holds E1.28 billion, serves as a financial buffer against volatile Southern African Customs Union (SACU) receipts.

“Government has committed to adding a total of E1.5 billion in the current financial year 2024-2025 budget cycle,” the Governor announced.

Despite regional economic challenges, including South Africa’s ongoing power shortages and economic constraints, Eswatini has managed to sustain a balanced approach to monetary policy. The Central Bank’s efforts have resulted in a favorable economic outlook, with expectations of continued growth and stability in the coming years.

Eswatini’s disciplined fiscal management and strategic economic policies have set it apart within the CMA, fostering a stable environment conducive to growth and development. As the country continues to navigate global and regional economic dynamics, its prudent approach to public debt control remains a cornerstone of its financial strategy.

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