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Eswatini Country Strategic Plan (2020-2025)

Operation ID: SZ02

CSP approved by the EB November 2019 session

Revision 01 approved by the RD in January 2020.

Revision 02 approved by the RD in October 2020.

Revision 03 approved by the EB in September 2021.

Eswatini is a land-locked lower-middle-income country with a population of 1.1 million. It ranks 144th of 189 countries on the 2017 Human Development Index and 141st of 160 countries with a Gender Inequality Index rating of 0.569.

With 26 percent of the adult population infected, Eswatini has the highest rate of HIV prevalence in the world. Women are disproportionately affected, with 35 percent living with HIV compared to 19 percent of men. Over 46 percent of the population is under the age of 20 and 58 percent of children under the age of 17 are orphaned and vulnerable due to AIDS.  

The proportion of people living in poverty remains very high, with poverty levels having decreased from 63 percent in 2010 to 58.9 percent in 2018. Notwithstanding a high gross domestic product per capita of USD 3,850, Eswatini, with a Gini coefficient of 51.5 has the tenth highest income inequality in the world. Seventy percent of the rural population lives below the national poverty line and 25 percent is considered extremely poor. Owing to structural inequalities, woman-headed households are more likely to be poor and have restricted access to productive assets, employment opportunities, education and health services.

The level of hunger is classified as “serious” in the 2018 Global Hunger Index, where Eswatini has a score of 22.5. In addition, annual vulnerability analyses indicate that an average of 35,451 very poor and poor households have experienced food insecurity in the past 10 years; a similar number of households (35,349) have been identified as “extremely poor” in a quantitative assessment of social assistance.

The national strategy for sustainable development and inclusive growth through 2030 and the strategic road map for 2019–2022, which guide the development and economic recovery of Eswatini, recognize the critical dimensions of human development, including poverty reduction, employment creation, gender equity and social integration. The key priority sectors include agriculture, agro-processing, social assistance and emergency preparedness and response.

The Eswatini zero hunger strategic review reveals that poverty is closely associated with hunger and gender inequality. Gaps in policy enforcement, legal frameworks and the allocation of resources limit the effectiveness of social protection programmes in addressing hunger, women’s empowerment and HIV. Insufficient capacities undermine the efficiency of programme design, implementation and knowledge management, while weak institutional coordination causes duplication of efforts and hinders the development of complementary policy implementation.

This country strategic plan is aligned with the Government’s priorities with regard to achieving food and nutrition security, with a focus on gender-transformative and HIV-sensitive actions. It is based on three pillars with the following outcomes:

➢ Strategic outcome 1: Vulnerable people in shock-affected areas are able to meet their basic food and nutrition needs during times of crisis;

➢ Strategic outcome 2: Smallholder farmers, particularly women, have enhanced capacities to supply structured markets with nutritious foods by 2024;

➢ Strategic outcome 3: By 2030 equitable, integrated and shock-responsive social protection systems are accessible to vulnerable populations, particularly women, children, adolescent girls and people living with HIV.

WFP will pursue its shift to providing technical assistance, services and coordination support for national food and nutrition security policies and programmes through gender-transformative approaches that enable progress on gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls. Nutrition-sensitive programming will guide the various interventions in the CSP portfolio. Safe, accessible and responsive feedback and complaint mechanisms will be mainstreamed throughout the CSP. The prominence of technical support and capacity strengthening reflects efforts to engage in evidence generation and a gradual transition to sustainable national ownership.