This paper examines the extent to which garment industry in Swaziland has contributed to the economic empowerment of the Swazi people through creation of new jobs and improvement in their overall welfare. In Swaziland as elsewhere in many African countries, unemployment has been and is still a major constraint to the country’s sluggish economic growth. In response to the unemployment situation in the country, Swaziland Investment Promotion Authority (SIPA) was established in 1977 under the Ministry of Enterprise and Employment with the main aim of attracting, encouraging, promoting, and facilitating both local Foreign Direct Investments (FDIs) in the country. Among the efforts to entice foreign investors into the country was the construction of several factory shells to be used by would be investors. This initiative led to the influx of garment firms into the country primarily driven by the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA). This analysis is based on a survey data of 235 employees randomly selected from five garment firms in the country. Understanding the actual contribution made by the garment industry towards the country’s economy is important for the government for it to reassess its economic policies regarding unemployment and poverty alleviation strategies. The empirical results show that the industry created employment for 64% of the sample, most of them females. It also enhanced the general welfare of the people by improving family expenditures on education, health and ensuring food security. Consequently, it can be concluded that the industry has the potential to contribute significantly to the economic empowerment of the Swazi people.


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