By Samantha Spooner
1 July 2011
Mswati is bankrupting his kingdom in regal style
King Mswati III is sub-Saharan Africa’s last absolute monarch and certainly the only royal who can lay claim to bankrupting his nation in the modern age.
This bling-loving King is one of the reasons why Swaziland has recently had to ask South Africa for a financial bailout as it sinks into insolvency.
According to 2010 figures, Swaziland’s spendthrift King had a net worth, based on investments and land, of $100 million in a country where the GDP is $4.1 million.
This may seem like a lot, and it is in relation to the national GDP, but when you compare it to the $18 billion fortune of the King of Saudi Arabia, or the $15 billion net worth of the Emir of Abu Dhabi, it isn’t.
Because of this, it seems the Swazi King has an inferiority complex in the way he spends his ‘modest’ sum, splurging on unnecessary expenses.
The man loves fast cars, luxury palaces and extravagant parties. In 2008, he reportedly spent $2.5 million on joint celebrations for 40 years of Swaziland’s independence and his 40th birthday.
Mswati III also seeks to look prestigious by over-the-top national spending, such as the $90.86 million dished out on a new international airport.