eSwatini facing "economic crisis" as investment slows, wage bill balloons -finmin

MBABANE, Feb 27 (Reuters) - eSwatini’s economy probably contracted in 2018 and is set to continue faltering as the southern African kingdom faces slowing rates of foreign investment and a fast-growing wage bill, Finance Minister Neal Rijkenberg said on Wednesday.

The tiny landlocked country, formerly known as Swaziland and with a population of 1.4 million people, is ruled by the increasingly powerful King Mswati III whose rule has faced growing resistance as state revenue and employment have slowed.

“eSwatini is facing an unprecedented economic crisis. Preliminary estimates suggest a contraction of 0.4 percent in our GDP for 2018 and the economic outlook remains subdued,” Rijkenberg said in a budget speech to lawmakers. (Reporting by Lunga Masuku: Editing by Catherine Evans)