Swaziland's King Mswati III and his spouse Siphelele Mashwama greet journalists after attending the inauguration of Indonesia's President Joko Widodo for the second term, at the House of Representatives in Jakarta, Indonesia, October 20, 2019. REUTERS/Willy Kurniawan/File Photo
Zenith Bank BetaLife
Zenith Bank BetaLife
Zenith Bank BetaLife
Zenith Bank BetaLife

The small mountain kingdom of eSwatini’s economy will likely contract by 6.7% this year due to the coronavirus crisis, its government said on Friday.

“The pandemic has forced us to divert and realign our budget so that we can address this coronavirus challenge,” said King Mswati III, Africa’s last absolute monarch, in a statement released on Friday.

The fiscal deficit is set to widen to 9.1% from 4.3%.

The landlocked southern African nation formerly known as Swaziland was among the last in the world to record a COVID-19 death in late April.

It has now documented 279 positive cases with 2 deaths.

Most of eSwatini’s 1.5 million people eke out a living as farmers or migrant labourers in neighbouring South Africa.

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