eSwatini Drought Preparedness

Context and Objectives
The ability of the Kingdom of eSwatini to develop sustainably is challenged by its vulnerability to climate-related shocks, including droughts, wild fires, and floods. These stresses negatively impact health, food security and productive economic activity, while disproportionately affecting the rural poor. 

In 2015/16 eSwatini experienced a severe El Niño-induced drought, leading to a 30-40 percent drop in production of maize (the staple food crop), extremely low water levels in the main Hawane dam serving the capital, drying up of rural boreholes, and forcing the closure of many schools (affecting nearly 200,000 students and teachers, in rural and urban areas).

Based on this, the government has requested technical and financial support to build the necessary capacity for a more substantive and sustained drought preparedness program.

Main Activities

  • Component 1: Drought monitor and early warning system. Activities will foster the development of a composite drought monitor and early warning system.
  • Component 2: Drought vulnerability profiles and costing the impacts. An analysis will be undertaken to quantify drought risk in key sectors of eSwatini, such as agriculture, water, health, and/or education.
  • Component 3:  Pilot drought contingency plans. The initial analytical and engagement work needed to develop several pilot drought contingency plans will be supported.
  • Component 4:  Risk financing/insurance mechanisms. Analytical work will be undertaken to identify the most appropriate risk financing and insurance mechanisms for mitigating the impacts of droughts.
  • Component 5: Communication, knowledge sharing, and dissemination. Activities will foster knowledge sharing and exchange through workshops/forums and publication and dissemination of knowledge/analytical products.


This project has already facilitated the exchange of best practices between clients and partners by supporting two workshops. As a result of these workshops, the capacities of project stakeholders have increased through hands-on training on drought monitoring and disaster risk finance. These events also benefited from public exposure, as they received coverage on national television. 

The assessments, workshops, and study tours that represent the full suite of outcomes and outputs supported by the World Bank are expected to be completed by August 2020.

Partnerships and Coordination
The World Bank is implementing this project in close collaboration with the National Disaster Management Agency.

  • Africa
Window of Action
  • Window 2
Amount approved
  • $200,000
  • 07/2019 - 07/2020