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Trade and Regional Integration in eSwatini: FY2019/20
Exports from eSwatini have been growing slower than imports during the period from 2015 to 2018. This has not led to any significant deterioration of gross official foreign exchange reserves in spite of the appreciation of the SZL. The growth in imports has led to a slight deterioration of eSwatini’s current account balance. eSwatini is still dependent on agriculture-based exports which are also its top traded goods with its neighbours in the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) and the Southern African Development Community (SADC). However, eSwatini is highly integrated with both regions especially SADC. eSwatini might want to rebalance its trade by increasing intraregional trade in COMESA or rationalise its membership in the regions given the much greater regional benefits received from SADC. This suggests that there is significant room to rebalance eSwatini’s trade with COMESA and SADC but this may be restrained by structural factors like geographic proximity.