April 6, 2007

Economic decline as investors spurn kingdom

Lack of natural resources is a major factor responsible for Swaziland's continuing low economic performance, according to a United Nations Development Programme report. Ranking African nations on the basis of their economic growth, the study found oil-rich Mauritania the regional leader with 19.4 percent growth, followed by mineral-rich Angola performing at an enviable 17.6 percent.
Swaziland's growth of about 2 percent comes at a time when a once-thriving mining sector has dwindled to just two activities: a small, opencast quarry stone operation in the central Manzini region that is used to excavate gravel for local road construction, and a coal mine in the eastern Lubombo region. The coal, which is all shipped to South Africa, is the only mineral resource exported today from a country that once produced gold, tin, iron ore and until the 1990s diamonds.
Comoros, Ivory Coast and the Seychelles join Swaziland at the bottom of the economic performance study, while crisis-wracked Zimbabwe, once a haven of stability, is ranked as the worst performer. (IRIN)


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