The small African nation of Swaziland will receive a financial bailout from neighbouring South Africa. The South African government agreed to a loan of 2.4 billion rand ($350 million) after several organisations including the International Monetary Fund (IMF) rejected King Mswati III’s request for a bailout.
King Mswati III released a statement about the bailout saying, “We are thankful and also appreciate the assistance we have received from South Africa. This shows that they are good neighbours.” He added “But it must be stressed that this is not a gift but a loan, which naturally should be repaid. This is why every Swazi must play his or her role by working hard wherever he is to ensure that the country gets back to its feet the soonest.”
The King has been criticized for living with 13 wives in luxury while the majority of his country lives in poverty.
Despite the South African government’s agreement, the bailout has been met with some concern. The opposition in South Africa said that the government should reject the loan as Swaziland is an “undemocratic state”. However, the government has said that the bailout would bring stability to the state and surrounding region.
The loan is expected to help Swaziland, which is going through a financial crisis. The nation has reportedly been unable to pay some of its civil servants and could not afford antiretroviral drugs to treat HIV. Swaziland has the highest rate of HIV infection in the world. Earlier this year, the country saw a wave of protests and demonstrations related to the economic situation.