n Journal for Contemporary History - The political economy and historical trajectory of the Swaziland fiscal crisis, 2010-2011

Volume 39, Issue 2
  • ISSN : 0258-2422
  • E-ISSN: 2415-0509



Swaziland is facing a serious fiscal crisis that is threatening to reduce the country into a failed state. The country has a huge budget deficit that has left government operations paralyzed and the threat of government failure to pay monthly salaries for civil servants is ever looming larger. In an attempt to address the situation, the Swaziland government partnered with the IMF to produce fiscal adjustment strategies to stabilize the country's economy through short-term policies. The partnership is crucial to enable the country to get a letter of comfort that would make it possible to receive loans from international financial institutions. The article focuses on an analysis of the explanations for the origins of the crisis. It acknowledges the factual aspects of dominant explanations, but argues that these explanations fail to provide a comprehensive explanation for proper planning of future development of the Swazi economy. The article argues that a more meaningful and long-term effective explanation of the crisis should interrogate the country's governance structure, especially the extent to which it has contributed to the poor performance of the country's economy, how it has contributed to fiscal indiscipline, and how it has nurtured wasteful spending and contributed to increasing levels of corruption.

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