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Swaziland Government Failed To Pay More Than $10M To Children Orphaned By AIDS, IMF Official Says

“Swaziland’s government has failed to pay more than $10 million … in grants to AIDS orphans because of its financial crisis, an IMF official has said” in a statement after visiting the country, BBC News reports. The IMF official, Joannes Mongardini, “told the BBC that the government had ‘owed’ $10 million in grants to orphans and $4 million to elderly people since September,” the news service writes. Swaziland, which “has the world’s highest HIV/AIDS rate, leaving some 69,000 orphans,” “has not yet accepted a $355 million bailout from neighboring South Africa after Pretoria set a series of conditions — including political and economic reforms,” according to the BBC.

“The government says its financial problems have been triggered by the global economic crisis and a sharp decline in the landlocked kingdom’s income from the Southern African Customs Union (Sacu), following a new tariff deal,” the news service writes. “Critics say lavish spending by King Mswati III and his 13 wives has worsened the crisis,” BBC writes, adding that Mongardini “said the IMF had asked the government to reduce its wage bill by five percent by slashing, among others, ‘generous allowances’ given to politicians and top civil servants” (11/16).