flag Eswatini Eswatini: Investing

FDI in Figures

Eswatini has struggled to attract new foreign investors, who prefer to invest in South Africa. According to the UNCTAD's 2021 World Investment Report, the flow of FDI decreased significantly from USD 130 million in 2019 to USD 41 million in 2020, due to the global economic health crisis triggered by the Covid-19 pandemic. The total stock of FDI was estimated at USD 877 million. In 2021, global FDI flows rebounded strongly, but FDI flows to African countries (excluding South Africa) rose only moderately (UNCTAD’ Investment Trends Monitor). The government is trying to improve the judiciary system, rules and practices that govern property rights and security. Furthermore, adoption of the new Constitution will probably also add considerable weight to the case for declaring Eswatini a preferred destination for international venture capital (Embassy of the Kingdom of Eswatini). The main sectors that attract FDI are sugar, paper pulp, and non-alcoholic beverage concentrates. The main investing countries are South Africa, the United Kingdom, Denmark, and the Netherlands.

Eswatini benefits from good road infrastructure, electric energy (mainly imported from South Africa), and telecommunications. The country also offers several incentives to foreign investors (tax, commercial, etc.). However foreign investment is screened by the government, and foreign investment in land is restricted. In addition, state-owned enterprises distort the economy. The Constitution provides for an independent judiciary power, but the king’s power to appoint judges limits judicial independence (The Heritage Foundation). Corruption is also a major issue. The country ranks 122nd out of 180 countries in Transparency International's 2021 Corruption Perception Index, down 5 places compared to 2020. The latest available World Bank's Doing Business report ranks Eswatini 121st out of 190 countries, a drop of 4 places compared to the previous year.


Country Comparison For the Protection of Investors

  Eswatini Sub-Saharan Africa United States Germany
Index of Transaction Transparency* 2.0 5.5 7.0 5.0
Index of Manager’s Responsibility** 5.0 3.5 9.0 5.0
Index of Shareholders’ Power*** 6.0 5.5 9.0 5.0

Source: Doing Business - Latest available data.

Note: *The Greater the Index, the More Transparent the Conditions of Transactions. **The Greater the Index, the More the Manager is Personally Responsible. *** The Greater the Index, the Easier it Will Be For Shareholders to Take Legal Action.

Foreign Direct Investment 201920202021
FDI Inward Flow (million USD) 13041126
FDI Stock (million USD) 975.41,200.41,102.7
Number of Greenfield Investments*
Value of Greenfield Investments (million USD) 4810115

Source: UNCTAD - Latest available data

Note: * Greenfield Investments are a form of Foreign Direct Investment where a parent company starts a new venture in a foreign country by constructing new operational facilities from the ground up.


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Tax Rates

Value-added tax (VAT)
15% (standard rate).
Zero-rated items include: goods or services exported; international transportation of goods or passengers or connected goods or services; maize meal, maize, beans, milk, brown bread, samp, rice, fresh fruit and vegetables and fresh eggs, vegetable oil (except olive oil), paraffin and animal feeds; farming input such as fertilizers, seeds (excluding flower seeds) and pesticides; prescription drugs and medicines; school textbooks; petrol, diesel and liquid gas.
The following items are exempt: financial and insurance services (both long and short term); postage stamps; land and buildings not used for commercial and industrial purposes; lease or letting of residential immovable property; education, burial, cremation, medical, dental, nursing and social welfare services.
Company Tax
Withholding Taxes
Dividends: 10% (residents; South Africa-registered companies under certain conditions)/12.5%(for companies registered in Botswana, Lesotho, and the Republic of South Africa)/15% (non-residents); Interests: 10%; Royalties: 15%.
Bilateral Agreement
Swaziland and Mauritius concluded a Double Taxation Agreement.
Social Security Contributions Paid By Employers
There are no social security contributions in Eswatini.
Other Domestic Resources
Swaziland Revenue Authority (Siyakwemukela)
Consult Doing Business Website, to obtain a summary of the taxes and mandatory contributions.

Individual Taxes

Personal income tax Progressive rates from 0 to 33%
SZL 0 – 100, 000 20% (a rebate of SZL 8,200 is applied to the yearly tax due)
SZL 100,001 – 150,000 SZL 20,000 plus 25% of taxable income in excess of SZL 100,000
SZL 150,001 – 200,000 SZL 32,500 plus 30% of taxable income in excess of SZL 150,000
SZL 200,001 and above SZL 47,500 plus 33% of taxable income in excess of SZL 200,000
A rebate of SZL 8,200 (increased to SZL 10,900 for people over 60 years of age) per annum is applied to the annualized tax calculated.

Country Comparison For Corporate Taxation

  Eswatini Sub-Saharan Africa United States Germany
Number of Payments of Taxes per Year 33.0 36.6 10.6 9.0
Time Taken For Administrative Formalities (Hours) 122.0 284.8 175.0 218.0
Total Share of Taxes (% of Profit) 35.8 47.3 36.6 48.8

Source: Doing Business - Latest available data.

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Investment Opportunities

Tenders, Projects and Public Procurement
Fontier Market Network, Tenders in Africa
African Tenders
DgMarket, Tenders Worldwide
Setting Up a Company
Consult Doing Business Website, to know about procedures to start a Business in Swaziland.
Useful Resources
Swaziland Investment Promotion Authority
Economic Developments and Prospects in Swaziland - African Economic Outlook
Business Portal for Africa

Business Setup Procedures

Setting Up a Company Eswatini Sub-Saharan Africa
Procedures (number) 12.00 7.51
Time (days) 21.50 21.30

Source: Doing Business.


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Latest Update: February 2023