The United States is to provide US$6.35m in drought relief. That is just US$1m short of the US$7.3m the Swazi Government is paying as a deposit this year for a private jet for King Mswati III.
Swaziland declared a national emergency in February 2016 and called for international aid to help feed 300,000 people affected by a prolonged drought.
In April 2016, the Swazi Government agreed to spend E96m (US$7.3m) on a deposit for an Airbus A340-300 that will eventually cost E200m to buy. There are also expected to be additional costs for upgrades to the interior.
King Mswati, who rules Swaziland as sub-Saharan Africa’s last absolute monarch, already has a private jet, but he considers it too small. The King is continually criticised outside of Swaziland for his lavish spending. He has at least 13 palaces, a fleet of top-of-the-range Mercedes and BMW cars and at least one Rolls Royce.
Meanwhile, this week it was reported by Swaziland Ministry of Sports, Culture and Youth Affairs that 756,000 out of 1.2 million Swazis currently live below the international poverty line of US$1 or E13 a day.
The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) will provide food, seeds, hay and potable water to more than 50,000 people across four regions in Swaziland.