The Mission was established in 1968 after the gaining of independence. The establishment of the Mission was through the facilitation by an office which was under the Prime Minister’s office. Since its inception, the Mission’s main mandate has been centered around maintaining and strengthening the good bilateral relations between Swaziland and the U.S.A.
The Kingdom of Swaziland seeks to maintain and strengthen the bilateral relations that have existed since the country became independent in 1968.
The Embassy in general serves as diplomatic liaisons between the Kingdom of Swaziland and the host countries. The diplomatic staff of the Embassy in Washington DC include the Ambassador who heads the Embassy, the Counselor/Deputy chief of mission which position is currently vacant, who handles daily operations, and commercial, economic, agricultural, political and administrative staff, the two First Secretaries – Administration and Trade and Investment, the Third Secretary/Accountant who handles financial matters for the Embassy and the Administrative Attaché who is the Ambassador’s Secretary.
Apart from the USA, the Mission also covers the following countries of accreditation;
• Republic of Brazil
• Republic of Chile
• Argentine Republic and,
• Republic of Venezuela
• Representing the Kingdom of Swaziland and maintaining diplomatic relations with the United States and countries of accreditation;
• Protecting in the receiving State the interest of the Kingdom of Swaziland and of its nationals, within the limits permitted by international law;
• Negotiating with the Government of the United States on behalf the Kingdom of Swaziland on different issues;
• Ascertaining by all lawful means conditions and development in the United States and countries of accreditation, and reporting thereon to the Government of the Kingdom of Swaziland;
• Promoting friendly relations between the Kingdom of Swaziland and the United States and countries of accreditation, and developing economic, cultural and scientific relations;
• The Embassy deals with administration, protocol and conference coordination, foreign trade, international relations, consular affairs, information and communications. The Embassy issues visas to people who want to travel to Swaziland and also facilitate in the process of issuing passports to Swazi nationals who reside in the USA and neighbouring countries , provide travel information and help if a Swazi citizen is arrested or dies in the United States or in the countries of accreditation.
• The Embassy is engaged in ‘direct- dial diplomacy’ with government ministries both for the sending and the receiving states trade, tourism, finance, defense, health, education, natural resources, labor, SIPA, transport, central bank and etc.
• The Embassy facilitate in the interpretation/communicating of the annual reports issued by the State Department which serves as the primary diplomatic tool through which the U.S. Government encourages partnership and increased determination in the fight against forced labor, sexual exploitation, and modern-day slavery which are the 21ST century challenges.
The Swaziland Embassy in the United States is composed of various sections that work to improve political, economic, and cultural relations between United States and Swaziland. It also interacts with the US government, the private sector, and other stakeholders on bilateral and multilateral finance, investment, trade, economic growth, good governance, environmental and social issues and developing commercial ties between Swaziland and U. S. businesses.
COUNTRY'S BENEFITS ON MISSION'S PRESENCE
The Embassy remains an excellent means by which to support if not lead in the execution of key diplomatic functions. However, it is also exceptionally versatile, and enjoys a strong legal regime in the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations. Furthermore, the communications revolution has made it both more responsive and more able to make inputs into policy-making in Swaziland for instance, the recent birth of the Anti-Trafficking Bill.
Under the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations, two States may enter into bilateral or reciprocal agreements and enjoy privileges and Swaziland has benefited from this bilateral relation in a number of ways and with the Embassy being resident in the United States, tangible and intangible benefits have been achieved and below are some of which the Embassy has played a pivotal role:
• The Embassy being resident in the United States help to aggressively promote tourism in an efficient and effective manner and in a larger scale since it is the only Embassy in North America and also covers South America thus the issuance of visas and travel information make it easy for tourist to travel to Swaziland.
• The government of the United States has always assisted Swaziland with various programs such as sending Swazi nationals abroad every year to further their studies especially at Masters and PHD level mainly through the Fulbright and Humphrey scholarships. It also provides the country with technical expertise in the field of education under the USAID development and the exchange programs.
• Swaziland is exporting sugar which is our ‘Swazi gold’ and citrus fruits to the United States under the Generalized System of Preference (GSP) program.
• The Coca-Cola plant which is the largest in Africa is the benefit of commercial diplomacy to the balance of payments.
• The Embassy being resident in Washington DC has benefited Swaziland from the multilateral diplomacy in that the government of the Kingdom of Swaziland receives technical and financial support from the World Bank/IMF. By and large, the USA is the major shareholder for the African Development Bank (ADB) and towards this background, in this economic crisis in Swaziland, and in recognition of the cordial relations that subsist between the two countries and under the auspices of our Foreign Policy, the country stands to benefit from such.
• The Embassy had joined other Embassies in DC some years back to negotiate a trade preference program known as the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) which was finally launched by President Bill Clinton in 2000 and thus Swaziland was and still is amongst the beneficiaries of this program. Again, it should be noted that AGOA is solely negotiated by Ambassadors in DC which again requires a resident embassy. All AGOA beneficiary countries are those who have resident in the United States and in Swaziland, AGOA draws a workforce of about 15000.00 of which mostly are women which in turn promotes their empowerment.
• The Embassy, with the Embassy of Lesotho and Malawi in Washington negotiated the U.S. President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) in 2008 – which saw Swaziland receiving an increase in funding. This negotiation is the American tool that helps the government to fight against AIDS.
• The Embassy played a pivotal role in 2009 when the country was ranked Tier3 under the Trafficking in Persons. It was ‘Public Diplomacy’ at its best when the Embassy became the chief negotiator and the country was moved from Tier 3 to Tier2 and not under ‘watch list’ and thus benefited from being sanctioned.
• In 2010 the Embassy was tasked with a new mandate to shift from political diplomacy to economic diplomacy. Of note, the mission would like to state clearly that due to economic status and the financial quagmire that buffeted the country it rendered the embassy ineffective in properly fulfilling its goals and objectives. This is due to fact most of the potential investors are outside of Washington DC, as is known fact that Washington DC is inundated with lobbyists. However, in spite of all these militating factors, the mission is trying every possible means to get investors to go invest in Swaziland.
SUMMARY OF BENEFITS
With the Embassy being resident in the United States which is established under the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations and the cordial relations that subsist between the two countries, tangible results have always been realized and the United States assists Swaziland with a number of HIV/AIDS initiatives and programs implemented through the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), Centers for Disease Control (CDC), Peace Corps, African Development Foundation, the Department of Labour and the Department of Defense. In addition, the U.S. supports small enterprise development, education, military training, institutional and human resources development, agricultural development, and trade capacity building. The U.S. is also the largest bilateral donor to the Global Fund, Swaziland’s principal HIV/AIDS funding source.