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Annex 9




















1:42 PM 4/5/2007

Population growth is closely related to development. It can be both a cause and an effect of development. It is this relationship which this paper seeks to analyse. Specifically, the intention is to bring out the implications of population growth for development in Swaziland. These implications include not only the logical consequences of population growth, but also the appropriate policy measures to ameliorate the undesirable consequences.

This intention will be achieved by first presenting the conceptual framework within which the analysis will be conducted. This will help focus attention on the critical issues. This will be done in Section II of this paper. It will be followed by an analysis of the nature of population growth in Swaziland. It is this nature that determines the kind of impact to be expected on development. This will be done in Section III.

Next will be a discussion of th- consequences of the observed population growth. It is in this discussion that the undesirable effects of Swaziland's population growth will emerge. This will be done in Section IV. Section V wi11 then present the kind of policy measures which are appropriate to ameliorate the undesirable effects of population growth. Some of these measures are already being implemented; others are not. Hence, in the case of the former, this paper will be endorsing the measures, whereas in the case of the latter, it will be drawing attention to neglected areas. Finally, Section VI will summarize the major conclusions of the paper.


In this section, we present the framework within which the discussion in subsequent sections will be conducted. This will be done in two stages. At the first stage, we outline the debate that surrounds the issue of population growth. The idea is to ascertain whether a consensus exists on the population issue. This is important because a consensus (or lack of it) has implications for the population measures to be adopted in the context of development. At the second stage, we focus on the concept of development. The idea is to pinpoint the areas that can be used as criteria for assessing the impact of population growth.

Let us begin with the population debate. This debate revolves around the seriousness of population growth as an issue requiring direct attention. On the one hand, there is a school of thought which argues that population growth is not a real problem. On the other hand, there is another school of thought which argues that population growth is a real problem. We shall refer to the former as the first school; and the latter as the second school.

The first school bases its position on three major grounds. The first is that there are other areas, besides population growth, which are more problematic. Once these other problem areas are solved, the population issue will resolve itself automatically. These other areas include underdevelopment, population distribution, and global resources.

In the case of underdevelopment, the large family is virtually the only form of social security. Because present incomes are low, parents will typically use their children as a source of future income or support. The higher the number of children, the more secure will be the future of the parents. Furthermore, because of high infant mortality, parents will typically bear a larger number of children tc ensure that a minimum number survives to adulthood. All of this represents pressures for high population growth which emanate from the state of underdevelopment. . Thus, by focusing on the strategies that promote development, the root cause of high population growth will be solved. Put differently, government should take care of the economy, and population will take care of itself.

In the case of population distribution, it is maintained that many regions within countries are in fact underpopulated in terms of available or. potential resources. People tend to gravitate to certain regions and, thereby bring about congestion. Under these circumstances, the problem is not the total population per se, but the distribution of the population among the different regions of the country. Thus, government should embark on policies that move people away from congested regions to underpopulated regions. There is no need to focus on population growth.

In the case of global resources, it is maintained that there is uneven distribution. For instance, the average consumer in the more developed world uses (both directly and indirectly) almost sixteen times as much of the world's food, energy and material resources as his counterpart in the less developed world .1

1. Todaro, M.P.; Economic Development in the Third World, Longman, New York, 1985, p. 194.

This is seen to be inequitable and wasteful. The solution lies in attempting to bring about a more equitable distribution of global resources, rather than in controlling population growth.

The second ground on which the first school bases its position is that the more developed world cunningly seeks to maintain the status quo in international relations. The latter are characterized by dominance and dependency. The more developed countries are in a dominance position whereas the less developed countries are in a dependency position. Since the former have lower population grow rates than the latter, they will gradually lose their dominance position as the population distribution shifts against them. In order to avoid this possibility, more developed countries then embark on a campaign to limit population growth in less developed countries. This school maintains, therefore, that the control of population growth in the developing world is a contrived issue by the developed world to retain the present international order which favours them.

The third ground on which the first school bases its position is the desirability of fast population growth. Five cases can be cited to illustrate this point. First, high population growth results in more people who represent a bigger potential market for goods and services. The bigger the market, the higher will be economies of scale in production; and the faster will be economic growth. Second, a number of arable regions in the developing world (particularly in Sub-Saharan Africa) are underpopulated. An increase in the man-land ratio would enable higher agricultural productivity. Third, a large population provides a big source of military personnel. This is an important consideration in those regions subject to conflicts. Fourth, high population growth results in a youthful population that will generally have new ideas and high energy - all of which are expected to be conducive to development. Finally, high population growth results in a large number of children to be supported. These children can provide an incentive for the parents to work harder. This raises productivity.

Let us now turn to the arguments of the second school of thought. We begin with how the arguments of the first school can be countered. Whilst it is true that the process of development would eventually bring about a reduction in population growth, it is also true that rising population growth slows down the pace of development quite considerably. This cause and effect relationship demands that population growth be focused upon even in the short run.

Whilst it is true that the skewed spatial distribution of population is a problem it is also true that population growth exarcebates it. A correction of the population distribution will not necessarily reduce population growth. Furthermore, in the absence of forcible removal (which is itself undesirable) it would take considerable incentives and time for the spatial distribution to correct itself. In the meantime, high population growth would continue worsening spatial distribution as people migrate from areas of low expected returns to areas of high expected returns. Thus, population growth is, or should be, an issue deserving direct attention.

Whilst it is true that the uneven distribution of global resources is associated with a high degree of overconsumption and waste in the more developed countries, it is also true that this is a result of a long historical process. Consumers in the more developed world feel they are entitled to the consumption they are currently enjoying. They regard it as fruits of their labour. Accordingly, it is unrealistic and foolhardy to expect that they would willingly reduce their standards of living just to accommodate the less developed world. This is particularly the case since the latter often spend huge resources on items that do not raise the standard of living for the masses (such as sophisticated weaponry, expensive state cars, mansions for political leaders, expensive commemorative statues, and lavish entertainment). Moreover, some of the resources transferred from the more developed world end up in the private pockets of a few wealthy and corrupt individuals within the less developed world. Given the reality of the situation, it is appropriate to focus on population growth as a means of improving the lot of the masses.

On the question of the present international order, it seems childish to suggest that it could be changed by a shift in the world population distribution. Numbers of people in themselves do not represent an effective means of changing the status quo - particularly if the people in question are poor. What is required for purposes of changing the international order is a multi-faceted approach that includes, among other strategies, individual self-reliance of less developed countries, regional Cooperation among less developed countries, and changed attitudes in more developed countries. The issue of population growth becomes important in this connection.

On the question of the desirability of high population, growth, the arguments are incomplete. For instance, whilst it is true that a large population size represents a potentially large market, it requires purchasing power to translate the potential into actuality. Numbers alone without money will not bring about the expected higher production and employment. In the case of agricultural productivity, increases in man-land ratios are not the only route to travel. In view of available technology and the high population concentrations in urban areas, it is myopic and inappropriate to suggest raising man-land ratios via high population growth.

The case of military personnel is not of general applicability. Hence it should not be over-emphasized. In the case of a youthful population, the key is capability. The youthful population will only be conducive to development if it is adequately prepared in terms of appropriate education, health and all those things which go to make a complete person. But these things will not be easily forthcoming under a high population growth. For instance, in a large family a few will get educated. Even then, they may not go beyond secondary school. Such a person is not likely to be a vibrant source of development ideas. Finally, the case of children providing an incentive for parents to work hard is weakened by the maximum capability of human beings. Moreover, an over-worked parent may actually be less productive than would have been the case otherwise.

In summary then, we could say that each of the arguments of the first school is either questionable in its validity or incomplete. We have demonstrated that each one can either be turned around or extended such that population growth does become a real problem to be focused upon.

In addition to the counter-arguments, the second school of thought maintains that high population growth does retard the process of development. For instance, it raises the amount of consumption expenditure (both private and public) at the expense of investment expenditure. With low domestic resources available for investment, it becomes necessary to attract foreign resources. But this introduces its own problems in the context of the unequal international relations already alluded to above. Hence population growth has a cumulative detrimental impact. It is, therefore, important to focus on it as an important issue.

There now seems to be a general consensus on the issue of population growth. This consensus recognizes the interrelationship between population growth and development. In particular, it recognizes the need to focus attention on population growth even in the short run. Furthermore, it recognizes the need to give adequate emphasis to those other factors that have implications for social welfare - such as employment, income distribution, spatial distribution of population, distribution of world resources, and restructuring of international economic relations. It is in the context of this consensus that the ensuing discussion will be conducted.

Let us now turn to the second stage of the conceptual framework - namely, definition of development. In its broadest and most general form, development can be construed as a process towards a higher state of social well-being or social welfare or social happiness. This state has three components. The first is the availability of basic life-sustaining commodities (such as food, shelter, clothing, health and education) to as large a proportion of the community as possible. We can refer to this as the basic needs (or non-discretionary) component.

The second component is the availability of commodities over and above the basic needs level. This allows society to reach higher levels of utility or satisfaction from discretionary material consumption. We can refer to this as the discretionary consumption component.

The third component comprises all those non-material factors which enhance the self-esteem of individuals and society (alternately labelled dignity, identity, respect, honour, recognition or authenticity). These include not only spiritual, cultural and humanistic values, but also freedom of choice. Individuals and society at large must be able to choose freely their most preferred positions or modes of behaviour without coercion (whether from inside or outside the country). We can Refer to this as the self- esteem component.

The three components of development delineated above differ from those in Todaro in two respects.2

2. Todaro, op.cit., pp. 85,- 91.

First, a distinction is made here between basic needs (or non-discretionary) consumption and discretionary consumption. There is no such distinction in Todaro. We feel that this distinction is useful for purposes of quantitatively measuring development. For instance, other things being equal, an increase in the proportion of the population satisfying basic needs means attaining a higher state of development. Second, non-material factors here are lumped together? whereas in Todaro there is a distinction between self-esteem and freedom of choice. We feel that the latter two are so inter-twined that a separation is not really meaningful for purposes of ascertaining whether or not a higher level of social welfare is being attained.

It is pertinent to point out that the widely used definition of development tends to emphasize the economic or material aspects. For instance, the reduction of unemployment, poverty and income-inequalities is typically emphasized3 . This is reasonable to the extent that a satisfaction of material wants often has a favourable impact on the non-material components of development. In this paper, whilst the emphasis will be on the material aspect of development (as incorporated in the first and second components outlined above), the non-material aspect (as incorporated in the third component) will be implicitly accommodated.

We can summarize the discussion in this section in terms of two statements. First, population growth is an important issue to focus upon. both directly (through measures aimed at family size) and indirectly (through measures that impact on production, employment, poverty and income-distribution). Second, the process of development provides a useful framework for analyzing population growth. If population growth has a negative impact on any of the components of development, then it needs to be checked.

3. See, for example, Seers, D., "The Meaning of Development" in Bastor, N. (ed.); Measuring Development Frank Cass, London, 1972.


In this section we analyse the nature of Swaziland's population growth, together with the factors giving rise to it. This analysis will be conducted in terms of four areas - namely, current population growth population trend, district population, and sectoral population.

Let us begin with the first area. Preliminary results from the 1986 Population Census indicate that Swaziland's population has been growing at an average annual rate of 3,2% over the 1976-86 (i.e., over the last inter-censal decade).4 In the absence of information to indicate the contrary, this also becomes the current population growth rate. This rate is not only higher than the average for the developing world as a whole (which stands at 2,1%), but is also higher than-the average for Africa as a whole (which stands at 3,0%).5

4. Obtained from the Central Statistical Office, Mbabane.

5. See Todaro, op.cit., p. 187.

We now turn to the second area - namely, population trend. Swaziland's population growth has accelerated from an annual average of 2,8% over the period 1966- 76 to 3,2% over the period 1976- 86.6 In absolute numbers, Swaziland's population has risen from 374 571 in 1966 to 699 315 today.7 Thus the population has almost doubled in twenty-one years. Swaziland, however, is not unique in this connection. Other countries at a similar stage of development are also experiencing an acceleration in their population growth rates.8

The determinants of rising population growth can be found primarily in the relationship between the birth and death rates. The birth rate has been traditionally or historically high in developing countries for two ma reasons. One of these is the set of social values which equate large family size with abundant blessings from some benevolent supernatural force. The other is low level of current incomes out of which very little savings can be made. In the absence of a comprehensive social security system, parents typically use their children as a source of future income and support. The larger the family size, the larger the expected future support.

6. The 2,8% has been computed from Swaziland's Report on the 1976 Population Census, Central Statistical Office, Mbabane, Vol. I, p. 36.

7. Figure for 1966 comes from same source as in Footnote 6. Figure for 1987 obtained by applying the 3,2% already mentioned above.

8. See, for example, Todaro op.cit., pp. 181 - 192.

The large family size is further promoted by the tendency to have more children in order to ensure the survival of a minimum number into adulthood. This tendency stems from historically high infant mortality. Since social habits take a long time to change, this tendency has persisted even in the face of declining infant mortality.

The death rate on the other hand has tended to decline in the wake of advances in medical technology, improved nutrition, and better hygenic standards. A declining death rate in the face of a constant birth rate means not only increasing population growth, but also rising life expectancy. In the case of Swaziland, life expentancy at birth rose from an average of 44 years in 1966 to 46,5 years in 1976.9

It is pertinent to point out that an increasing or high population growth rate has a built-in momentum. This means that it would take a very long time for future population to stabilize (i.e., remain constant under a zero growth rate). The situation is analogous to an attempt to bring to a halt a car which had been moving at a high speed. It would take longer for a fast car to stop than for a slower car, given the same amount of pressure applied to brakes. Swaziland's population growth is in this kind of situation.

9. Swaziland's Report on the 1976 Population Census, op. cit., Vol. I, p. 89.

Let us now turn to the third area - namely, district population. We make use of Tables I - III to analyze the situation. It can be observed from Table I that the highest proportion of the population resides in Manzini; followed closely by Hhohho. Shiselweni is third on the list; whilst Lubombo is last. This is an interesting pattern since the combined size of Lubombo and Shiselweni (amounting to 9 726,5 square kilometres) exceeds the combined size of Hhohho and Manzini (amounting to 7 637,8 square kilometres).10 It can also be observed from Table I that the population has shifted away from Lubombo and Shiselweni into Manzini and Hhohho.

It can be observed from Table II that Manzini and Hhohho have grown not only faster than Lubombo and Shiselweni, but also faster than the country as a whole. Furthermore, even though there is an acceleration in the four districts, the growth rates for Hhohho and Manzini have always been higher than for Lubombo and Shiselweni. This picture is consistent with that pot rayed by Table I. Indeed, Tables I and II are essentially two angles of viewing the same phenomenon.

It can be observed from Table III that, even though all districts have experienced increases in population density, Hhohho and Manzini have grown faster than Lubombo; and Shiselweni. Furthermore, Hhohho and Manzini have higher current population densities than Lubombo and Shiselweni; with Manzini having overtaken Shiselweni. Again, the picture portrayed by Table III is consistent with that portrayed by Tables I and II.

10. Swaziland's Report on the 1976 Population Census, op.cit., Vol. I, p. 37.


1966 25,3 26,8 21,9 26,0 100,0
1976 26,6 28,1 21,2 24,1 100,0
1986 27,8 29,4 20,6 22,2 100,0
NOTE: (a)

Computed from Swaziland's Report on the 1976 Population Census, Central Statistical Office, Mbabane, Vol. I, p. 36; Vol. III, p. 7.

(b) TOT = Total.


1966-86 3,6 3,6 2,8 2,3 3,1
1966-76 3,4 3,4 2,6 2,1 2,8
1976-86 3,8 3,8 3,0 2,5 3,2.
NOTES: (a) Same sources as for Table I.
(b) p.a. = Per Annum.


Hhohho 26,8 37,4 39,6
Manzini 24,9 34,3 37,8
Lubombo 13,8 17,5 26,8
Shiselweni 25,3 31,0 22,5
Total 21,6 28,5 31,9
NOTES: (a) Computed from Swaziland's Report on the 1976 Population Census, op. cit., Vol. I, p. 37.
(b) SQ. KM = Square Kilometre.

Indeed, the three Tables are just three ways of revealing the same phenomenon - namely, a shift in the population distribution away from Lubombo and Shiselweni into Hhohho and Manzini.

In the literature, regional shifts in population are largely explained on differentials in expected incomes.11 Those region with high expected incomes will, other things being equal, attract households from regions with low expected incomes. Manzini and Hhohho have experienced the highest rates of economic growth in comparison to the other two districts in the post-1966 era. Currently, they are the most industrialized, have the highest concentrations of a varied range of economic activities, and have higher average incomes. Furthermore, in 1984 it was found that Hhohho and Manzini have lower rates of open urban unemployment. These were 17,7% for Hhohho and 16,5% for Manzini as against 22,2% for Lubombo and 23,2% for Shiselweni. 12 All of this suggests that they have higher expected incomes than the other two districts. Therefore, it is not surprising that the population distribution has shifted away from Lubombo and Shiselweni into Manzini and Hhohho. Put differently, there has been a net emigration in the case of the former two districts, and a net immigration in the case of the latter two.

11. Seminal work in this area can be found in Harris, J.R. & Todaro, M.P.; "Migration, Unemployment and Development: A Two-Sector Analysis", American Economic Review, 1970 Vol. 60, pp. 126 - 142.

We now turn to the fourth area - namely, sectoral distribution of population. We make use of Tables IV and V. There are two observations we would like to highlight from Table IV. First, the highest proportion of Swaziland's population resides on Swazi Nation Land (i.e., the communally-owned component of agriculture). Only a small proportion of the population is urbanized. Second, there has been a shift in the population distribution away from the rural sector (i.e., Swazi National Land and Individual Tenure Farms) into the urban sector. This shift is consistent with the fact that the population in the urban sector has grown much faster than the population in the rural sector.

It can be observed from Table V that even though all the sectors have experienced increases in population density, the urban sector has grown by far the fastest. This is just another way of revealing the shift in population distribution away from the rural sector into the urban sector. Thus, Tables IV and V are complementary.

12. Matsebula, M.S.; "Characteristics of Swaziland's Urban Informal Sector: Sector Size, Proprietors' Profiles, and Production Environment", Project Paper No. 6, Department of Economics, University of Swaziland, 1986, p. 6.


GROWTH OVER 19 6 6-7 6
% p.a.
SNL 67,6 65,9 2,6
ITFs 19,6 18,9 2,4
URBAN 12,8 15,2 4,6
TOTAL 100,0 100,0 2,8
NOTES: (a) computed from same source as for table III
(b) Abbreviations are defined as follows:

SNL = Swazi National Land

ITFs = Individual Tenure Farms

TOT = Total

p.a. = Per Annum.



1976 OVER 1966

S N L 28,0 36,6 30,7
IT Fs 9,0 11,5 27,8
UR B A N 252,2 396,6 57,3
TOTAL 21,6 28,5 31,9
NOTES: (a) Computed from same source as for Table III.

Abbreviations are defined as follows:

SNL = Swazi National Land

ITFs = Individual Tenure Farms

SQ.KM = Square kilometre.

One of the population features highlighted well by Table V is the relatively high degree of overcrowding in the urban sector. It is likely to increase over time as a result of both population growth and shifts in sectoral population distribution.

The explanation for the shift in sectoral population distribution (or net migration out of the rural into the urban sector) is similar to that already presented in connection with the distribution of population by district. In the present context, the urban sector has higher expected incomes. Hence its net gain of population.

We can summarize the analysis in this section in terms of two observations. First, Swaziland's population growth rate has not only been accelerating, but is also quite high. This is attributable to a historically and traditionally high birth rate combined with a declining death rate. Second, the population distribution has not only shifted away from Lubombo and Shiselweni into Hhohho and Manzini, but also away from the rural sector into the urban sector. These movements are complementary to the extent that Hhohho and Manzini are the most urbanized of the four districts. The migration pattern can be explained on the differentials in expected incomes.


In this section, we discuss the consequences of Swaziland's population growth. This will be done in terms of four areas namely, age structure, dependency burden, labour force growth, and per capita income. Each of these areas is closely linked to one or all of the three components of development outlined in Section II.

We begin with age structure. The situation is summarized in Table VI. We can make two observations here. First, the population is currently heavily skewed in favour of the young. For instance, almost 50% of the population is below 15 years of age. This 14-year span is much narrower than the 50-year span of the 15-64 age-bracket. Yet the latter contains a smaller proportion than the former. Second, the population is gradually shifting away from older age-brackets into younger age-brackets.

One immediate implication of these two observations is that there will be a considerable increase in the demand for those commodities consumed predominantly by the young. A satisfaction of this demand will normally be achieved at the expense of capital formation. This in turn, means that the productive capacity of the economy (and, therefore, future consumption) will be lower than would have been the case otherwise. In short, the process of development will be slowed down significantly.

To appreciate this result, we can distinguish between the demand for public and private goods. The former are provided through the public sector whereas the latter are provided through the private sector. Examples of the public goods whose demand will rise in response to the shift in the population distribution towards the young are education and health care. These can be referred to as social services. An attempt to accommodate this increased demand will result in smaller amounts spent on the provision of economic services (such as improved roads, telecommunications and agricultural extension) . This will obviously impair the economy's ability to expand its productive capacity.






14 years and under

46,9 48,2 49,6
15 - 64 years 50,1 49,4 48,1
65+ years 3,0 2,4 2,3
TOTAL 100,0 100,0 100,0
NOTES: (a)

Computed from Swaziland's Report on the 1966 Population Census, Central Statistical Office, Mbabane, p. 95; and Swaziland's Report on the 1976 Population Census, op. cit., Vol. Ill, pp. 12- 13, 22 - 23.

(b) TOT = Total.

Furthermore, given limited public revenues, not all of the increased demand for social services will be met. It is common knowledge that a high number of kids are not able to get places in pre-schools, primary schools, and secondary schools; that not all suitably qualified candidates are able to get places at vocational institutions and the University; that children's wards in government hospitals are over-crowded; and that queues in public mother-and-child health-care centres are long. All of :his reflects the inability of the public sector to satisfy all of the increased demand for those social services utilized predominantly by the young.

This is occuring inspite of the fact that the education and health sectors are already absorbing a sizeable share of the public budget. For instance, in the fiscal year 1987/88, 29,4% f the overall budget is earmarked for education and health. Out f the total estimates on education and health, 13,6% will be provided from external sources because of inadequate internal public resources. 13 Clearly, the age structure of the population is already exerting significant pressures on the public budget. If population growth goes unchecked, the numbers who will have to go without even some minimum amount of education and health care will rise. This has obvious negative implications for development.

In the case of private goods, again there will be pressures exerted on household budgets. The result will be an increase in private consumption expenditures (to cater for food, clothing, toys, etc.) at the expenses of private domestic savings. A reduction in potential savings means a reduction in the potential rate of capital formation. This has adverse consequences for the economy's productive capacity and, therefore, future consumption. Again, this has obvious negative implications for development.

Even where reduced private domestic savings are supplemented by private foreign investment inflows, there are problems. One of these is in the form of an increase in the dominance-dependency relationships. The host country will not only be dependent on the country from which the foreign investment ema­nates, but will also be dominated when it comes to international exchanges as a result of unequal bargaining strengths. Another problem is the outflow of investible surplus from the host country. Because of unequal bargaining strengths, unequal resources, and corruption in some local individuals, the foreign investor is typically able to move out of the host country virtually any amount of investible surplus he so desires. This obviously slows down the process of development. The root cause of all these problems is low private domestic savings which are, in turn, a consequence of high population growth.

13. Swaziland's Budget Estimates for 1987/88, Ministry of Finance, Mbabane.

Let us now turn to the second area - namely, dependency burden. We make use of Table VII. This Table shows two aspects or dimensions of the dependency burden. One of these is the ratio of the under-15 years of age to the potential labour force (i.e., 15-64 years of age) . The other is the ratio of the sum of the under-15 years of age and the over-64 years of age to the potential labour force. It can be appreciated that in both cases the dependency burden is not only high, but is on an upward trend.

Actually, the figures in Table VII under-estimate the effective dependency burden for at least two reasons. First, a significant proportion of the 15-64 age group is itself dependent to the extent that it is economically inactive. Examples are housewives, students, mentally incapacitated, and physically handicapped. In 1966, this proportion was estimated at 34,1%.14 Second, a very high proportion of the labour that is able and willing to work is openly unemployed and, therefore, dependent. For instance, in 1984 the open unemployment rate was 15 estimated at 18,0%.15 These two factors suggest that the effective dependency burden is higher than that implied by Table VII.


1966 93,6 99,4
1976 97,9 102,7
1986 103,0 108,0

NOTES: (a)

1966 figures computed from Swaziland's Report on the 1966 Population Census, op.cit., p. 95.


1976 and 1966 figures computed from Swaziland's Report on the 1976 Population Census, op.cit. , pp. 12 - 13.

In addition to the reduced private savings already alluded to above, a high dependency burden is debilitating on the supporting member of the household. He has very little time to replenish his physical and mental energies through leisure and relaxation. This will adversely affect his productivity at work. This, in turn, is bad for development.

We now turn to the third area - namely, labour force growth. The labour force is mostly part of the potential labour (i.e.,15-64 age bracket). Hence growth in the latter will influence growth in the former. The second column of Table VIII shows this growth.16 It can be observed that the growth rate is accelerating. Thus, we can appreciate that accelerating population growth results in accelerating labour force growth.

14. Swaziland's Report on the 1966 Population Census, op.cit., p. 137.

15. See Matsebula, op.cit., p. 10

16. The periods are selected such that they coincide with Swaziland's plan periods, given available data.



% p.a.

% p.a.
1970-85 2, 9 3, 6
1970-72 2, 9 11, 1

3, 0

4, 0


3,1 2, 9
1983-85 3,1 - 1,1


Column 2 computed from following sources:


For 1970-75, Swaziland's Report on the 1966 Population Census, op. cit., pp. 631 - 638.


For 1976-85, Swaziland's Report on the 1976 Population Census, op. cit., Vol III, pp. 12 - 31.

(b) Column 3 computed from Swaziland's Employment and Wages 1972-75, 1978-80, 1982, 1984, 1985, Central Statistical Office, Mbabane; and Swaziland's Annual Statistical Bulletin 1984, Central Statistical Office, Mbabane (for 1984 figure).

Labour force represents the supply side of the labour market. The demand side is represented by employment opportunities. The last column of Table VIII presents the growth of employment. It can be observed that this growth is decelerating. Given the accelerating trend in labour supply, it means that unemployment will tend to increase. Indeed, as has already been alluded to above, unemployment is becoming more visible by the day. This has its own evils - such as increases in crime, hooliganism and probability of social disorder. This is clearly undesirable from the viewpoint of development.

Let us now turn to the last area - namely, per capita income. Inspite of its conceptual and practical problems, per capita income is still one of the best indices of development. Other things being equal, an increase in per capita income can be interpreted as development. Growth in per capita income is essentially the difference between growth in national income and growth in population. If the latter is accelerating, then growth in per capita income will be lower than would have been the case otherwise. Table IX shows a situation where growth in national production has been decelerating on the one hand, and growth in population has been accelerating on the other hand. The result has been a deceleration in the growth of per capita income. In the most recent period shown in the Table, there was actually a decrease in per capita income. The negative implications for development are obvious.

We can summarize the discussion in this section in terms of four statements. First, the population has become more youthful, with the result that the productive capacity of the economy is lower than would have been the case otherwise. Second, the dependency burden has been rising; and this has a debilitating effect on the few who are fortunate to get a job. Third, unemployment has been rising simply because the availability of jobs has not risen in step with the supply of labour. Finally, per capita income has been declining in response to falling growth in national income, coupled with rising growth in population. All of these consequences have negative implications for development.


% p.a.
% p.a.
% p.a.
1968-84 5, 8 2,8 2,7

11, 2

2,8 8,2
1973-77 8, 9 2,8 0,7
1978-82 4, 9 3,2 1,7
1983-84 2, 5 3,2 -0,8
NOTES: (a)

Coulmn 2 computed from Swaziland's National Accounts 1973, 1976-82,, 1977-83, 1978-84, Central Statistical Office, Mbabane; and, in the case of the Implicit GDP Deflator for 1968-70, Matsebula, M.S.; Fiscal Policy Effects on Growth and Structural Change in a Dualistic Economy: Simulations for Swaziland PH.D. Thesis, Queen's University, Ontario, Canada, 1981, p. 281.

(b) Gross Domestic Product (GDP) converted from current prices at factor cost into 1980 constant prices using the Implicit GDP Deflator.
(c) Population growth for 1968-76 computed from Swaziland's Report on the 1976 Population Census, op.cit., Vol. I, p. 37.
(d) Population grow for 1977 - 1984 based on preliminary results of 1986 Population Census.
(e) Last column computed by first dividing population size into GDP; and then deriving the associated annual growth rates.


It was concluded in the last section that the consequences of high population growth have negative implications for Swaziland's development. It, therefore, becomes important to look at the policy measures which could ameliorate the situation. We shall focus on these measures in this section.

In terms of our discussion in Section II, appropriate measures should include not only those which have a direct impact on population growth, but also those which have an indirect impact. It is only in this way that society can truly develop -i.e., move onto higher levels of wellbeing through increased proportions of the population being able to satisfy basic needs, raise discretionary consumption, and enjoy self-esteem.

There is a wide array of direct population measures. At one extreme there is the set of measures which rely heavily or. educating people about the net benefits of proper child-spacing so that each child gets the proper care and attention necessary for long-term good health. In addition to education, contraceptive devices are made available free of charge to those, who want them. Even though the choice of family size is left to the individuals concerned, this strategy does have a reduction effect on family size and, therefore, population growth. At the other extreme there is a set of measures which coerce individuals in one form or another into limiting their family sizes. Examples are compulsory sterilization; discriminatory tax laws; restricted access to social services; and prohibitive laws. These measures definitely have a direct reduction effect on family size and , therefore, population growth.

Swaziland has adopted population measures which lie somewhere within these two extremes. The idea is to educate and persuade individuals, without penalizing those who choose to have big family sizes. The tax laws and public spending policies, for example, do not discriminate against individuals with large family sizes. Given the socio-cultural make-up of the population and the economic potential, this approach is quite sound.

What could perhaps be suggested is that the emphasis of the educative and informative campaign should not only be on proper child-spacing, but also directly on the net benefits of small family sizes. In other words, individuals should be conscientized into thinking small families. The net benefits should be explained clearly and fully form both the social and private perspectives. The reasonableness of this suggestion stems from the fact that many couples would certainly choose smaller family sizes if all the relevant costs and benefits were clearly explained to them.

The availability of contraceptives free of charge should be continued. However, it would seem from casual observation that some of the contraceptives either have serious side-effects or have low reliability. This can have a discouraging effect on potential users; with the result that there will be unintended pregnancies. Perhaps only the most up-to-date and effective contraceptives should be distributed. Furthermore, the dispensers have to be adequately trained.

In addition, counselling centres should be established in strategic locations to service the whole population. These centres should focus on, among other things, teenage problems and spouse-related problems. The former would include education and information directed at teenagers to avoid unwanted pregnancies 17, together with helping teenagers to cope physically and psychologically with pregnancies that have already occurred. A well advised pregnant teenager will be better prepared (both physically and emotionally) to avoid similar pregnancies in future. Spouse-related problems would include sexual abuses, unfair domineering by one spouse over another, and squables over legal rights and responsibilities.

Let us now turn to those measures which impact indirectly on population growth via development.

17. The Family Life Association of Swaziland is already doing a commendable job in this connection through regular programmes broadcast over Radio Swaziland.

We would like to highlight just four here - namely, increased formal employment opportunities, increased access for women to land and credit facilities, assistance to the urban informal sector, and assistance to the rural sector. We shall briefly explain each of these in turn.

The rationale for suggesting increased formal employment opportunities stems from the expectation that employment yields income which can then be used to provide a source of future support through savings (including contributions to the Swaziland National Provident Fund). This can then lessen the need to use children as a source of future support. The trend in employment growth in the post-independence era is very disturbing in terms of its implications for population growth and development. Government needs to adopt better strategies than hitherto. In particular, emphasis should be given to assisting indegenous entrepreneurs. Up to now, there has been a lot of emphasis on foreign investors and very little emphasis on indegenous entrepreneurs.

The rationale for increased access by women to land and credit facilities stems from the fact that they have the interest, ability and energy to engage in directly productive activities. They have demonstrated this in agriculture and the urban informal sector with very little assistance from the state. In some areas they are actually more productive than men. Giving them access to land and credit facilities would not only enable them to generate higher incomes (and thereby raise their living standards), but will also indirectly lead them to have fewer children since they will have less time for raising them.

The rationale for assistance to the urban informal sector stems from the fact that even under the best strategies, not all urban labour will be employed in the formal sector. The urban informal sector will have to accommodate increasing numbers of the urban labour force. Assistance to this sector will enable the generation of higher incomes which will raise consumption and savings (thus reducing need to use children as a source of future support) .

The rationale for increased assistance to the rural sector stems from the fact that the majority of the population resides there. Hence rural development assistance will benefit the majority of the population. To the extent that rural incomes are presently very low, such assistance will have a desirable effect on development. Moreover, it will help reduce rural-urban migration and, thereby, slowdown the process of urban congestion observed earlier.

All of the measures outlined above will have a reduction effect not only on poverty, unemployment and income, but also on population growth. The result will be development - i.e., society moving onto a higher state of well-being.


This paper set out to analyze the implications of population growth for development in Swaziland. This was achieved within a framework that recognizes the need to focus on population growth because of its negative impact on development.

The impact of population growth depends on its nature. It was observed that population growth has not only been accelerating, but is also quite high. Furthermore, it was observed that the population distribution has not only shifted away from Lubombo and Shiselweni into Hhohho and Manzini, but has also shifted from the rural into the urban sector. These movements are complimentary to the extent that Hhohho and Manzini are the most urbanized of the four districts. Furthermore, these movements have been induced by differentials in expected incomes.

There are four major consequences of the observed population growth. These are increasing youthfulness of population structure; rising dependency burden; rising unemployment; and falling per capita income. All of these consequences have a negative impact on development. This can be alleviated by adopting measures that impinge both directly and indirectly on population growth. The former set includes measures to educate and persuade parents to have small family sizes; counselling for spouses and teenagers; and provision of safe, reliable contraceptives. The latter set includes increased employment opportunities in the formal sector; increased access for women to land and credit facilities; assistance to the urban informal sector; and increased assistance to the rural sector.

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