Statistical information Lesotho 1990Lesotho

Map of Lesotho | Geography | People | Government | Economy | Energy | Communication
Military | Transportation | Transnational Issues | Year:  | More stats

Lesotho in the World
Lesotho in the World


Lesotho - Introduction 1990
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Background: Basutoland was renamed the Kingdom of Lesotho upon independence from the UK in 1966. The country has been ruled by the military since 1970.

Lesotho - Geography 1990
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Geographic coordinates

Map reference


Land boundaries: 909 km with South Africa

Coastline: none--landlocked

Maritime claims: none--landlocked

Climate: temperate; cool to cold, dry winters; hot, wet summers

Terrain: mostly highland with some plateaus, hills, and mountains


Natural resources: some diamonds and other minerals, water, agricultural and grazing land
Land use

Land use: 10% arable land; 0% permanent crops; 66% meadows and pastures; 0% forest and woodland; 24% other

Irrigated land

Major rivers

Major watersheds area km²

Total water withdrawal

Total renewable water resources

Natural hazards

Note: surrounded by South Africa; Highlands Water Project will control, store, and redirect water to South Africa

Lesotho - People 1990
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Population: 1,754,664 (July 1990), growth rate 2.6% (1990)

Nationality: noun--Mosotho (sing.), Basotho (pl.; adjective--Basotho

Ethnic groups: 99.7% Sotho; 1,600 Europeans, 800 Asians

Languages: Sesotho (southern Sotho) and English (official; also Zulu and Xhosa

Religions: 80% Christian, rest indigenous beliefs

Demographic profile
Age structure

Age structure

Dependency ratios

Median age

Population growth rate

Birth rate: 37 births/1000 population (1990)

Death rate: 10 deaths/1000 population (1990)

Net migration rate: 0 migrants/1000 population (1990)

Population distribution


Major urban areas

Current issues: population pressure forcing settlement in marginal areas results in overgrazing, severe soil erosion, soil exhaustion; desertification

Air pollutants

Sex ratio

Mothers mean age at first birth

Maternal mortality ratio

Infant mortality rate: 80 deaths/1000 live births (1990)

Life expectancy at birth: 59 years male, 62 years female (1990)

Total fertility rate: 4.9 children born/woman (1990)

Contraceptive prevalence rate

Drinking water source

Current health expenditure

Physicians density

Hospital bed density

Sanitation facility access


Major infectious diseases

Obesity adult prevalence rate

Alcohol consumption

Tobacco use

Children under the age of 5 years underweight

Education expenditures

Literacy: 59% (1989)

School life expectancy primary to tertiary education

Youth unemployment

Lesotho - Government 1990
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Country name: conventional long form: Kingdom of Lesotho

Government type: constitutional monarchy

Capital: Maseru

Administrative divisions: 10 districts; Berea, Butha-Buthe, Leribe, Mafeteng, Maseru, Mohales Hoek, Mokhotlong, Qachas Nek, Quthing, Thaba-Tseka

Dependent areas

Independence: 4 October 1966 (from UK; formerly Basutoland)

National holiday: Independence Day, 4 October (1966)

Constitution: 4 October 1966, suspended January 1970

Legal system: based on English common law and Roman-Dutch law; judicial review of legislative acts in High Court and Court of Appeal; has not accepted compulsory ICJ jurisdiction

International law organization participation


Suffrage: universal at age 21

Executive branch: Chief of State--King MOSHOESHOE II (Paramount Chief from 1960 until independence on 4 October 1966, when he became King; Heir Apparent Letsie David SEEISO (son of the King; Head of Government--Chairman of the Military Council Maj. Gen. Justin Metsing LEKHANYA (since 24 January 1986)

Legislative branch: Army, Air Wing, Police Department

Judicial branch: High Court, Court of Appeal

Political parties and leaders

International organization participation: ACP, AfDB, CCC, Commonwealth, FAO, G-77, GATT (de facto), IBRD, ICAO, IDA, IFAD, IFC, ILO, IMF, INTERPOL, ITU, NAM, OAU, Southern African Customs Union, SADCC, UN, UNESCO, UPU, WHO, WMO

Diplomatic representation
In the us: Ambassador W. T. VAN TONDER; Chancery at 2,511 Massachusetts Avenue NW, Washington DC 20,008; telephone (202) 797-5 534; US--Ambassador (vacant; Deputy Chief of Mission Howard F. JETER; Embassy at address NA, Maseru (mailing address is P. O. Box 333, Maseru 100; telephone p266o 312,666

Flag descriptionflag of Lesotho: divided diagonally from the lower hoist side corner; the upper half is white bearing the brown silhouette of a large shield with crossed spear and club; the lower half is a diagonal blue band with a green triangle in the corner

National symbols

National anthem

National heritage

Lesotho - Economy 1990
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Economy overview: Small, landlocked, and mountainous, Lesotho has no important natural resources other than water. Its economy is based on agriculture, light manufacturing, and remittances from laborers employed in South Africa. Subsistence farming is the principal occupation for about 86% of the domestic labor force and accounts for about 20% of GDP. Manufacturing depends largely on farm products to support the milling, canning, leather, and jute industries; other industries include textile, clothing, and light engineering. Industry's share of total GDP rose from 6% in 1982 to 10.5% in 1987. During the period 1985-87 real GDP growth averaged 2.9% per year, only slightly above the population growth rate. In FY89 per capita GDP was only $245 and nearly 25% of the labor force was unemployed.

Real gdp purchasing power parity

Real gdp growth rate

Real gdp per capita ppp

Gross national saving
Gdp composition by sector of origin

Gdp composition by end use

Gdp composition by sector of origin

Agriculture products: exceedingly primitive, mostly subsistence farming and livestock; principal crops are corn, wheat, pulses, sorghum, barley

Industries: tourism

Industrial production growth rate: 10.3% (1988 est.)

Labor force: 689,000 economically active; 86.2% of resident population engaged in subsistence agriculture; roughly 60% of active male labor force works in South Africa
Labor force

Unemployment rate: 23% (1988)

Youth unemployment

Population below poverty line

Gini index

Household income or consumption by percentage share

Distribution of family income gini index

Budget: revenues $159 million; expenditures $224 million, including capital expenditures of $68 million (FY89 est.)

Public debt

Taxes and other revenues


Fiscal year: 1 April-31 March

Current account balance

Inflation rate consumer prices

Central bank discount rate

Commercial bank prime lending rate

Stock of narrow money

Stock of broad money

Stock of domestic credit

Market value of publicly traded shares

Current account balance

Exports: $55 million (f.o.b., FY89 est.)
Commodities: wool, mohair, wheat, cattle, peas, beans, corn, hides, skins, baskets
Partners: South Africa 87%, EC 10%, (1985)

Imports: $526 million (f.o.b., FY89 est.)
Commodities: mainly corn, building materials, clothing, vehicles, machinery, medicines, petroleum, oil, and lubricants
Partners: South Africa 95%, EC 2% (1985)

Reserves of foreign exchange and gold

Debt external: $235 million (December 1988)

Stock of direct foreign investment at home

Stock of direct foreign investment abroad

Exchange rates: maloti (M) per US$1--2.5555 (January 1990), 2.6166 (1989), 2.2611 (1988), 2.0350 (1987), 2.2685 (1986), 2.1911 (1985; note--the Basotho loti is at par with the South African rand

Lesotho - Energy 1990
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Electricity access

Electricity production

Electricity consumption

Electricity exports

Electricity imports

Electricity installed generating capacity

Electricity transmission distribution losses

Electricity generation sources


Refined petroleum

Natural gas

Carbon dioxide emissions

Energy consumption per capita

Lesotho - Communication 1990
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Telephones fixed lines

Telephones mobile cellular

Telephone system

Broadcast media

Internet country code

Internet users

Broadband fixed subscriptions

Lesotho - Military 1990
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Military expenditures
Percent of gdp: 8.6% of GDP, or $35 million (1989 est.)

Military and security forces

Military service age and obligation

Terrorist groups

Lesotho - Transportation 1990
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National air transport system

Civil aircraft registration country code prefix

Airports: 28 total, 28 usable; 2 with permanent surface runways; none with runways over 3,659 m; 1 with runways 2,440-3,659 m; 2 with runways 1,220-2,439 m

Airports with paved runways

Airports with unpaved runways






Merchant marine

Ports and terminals

Lesotho - Transnational issues 1990
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Disputes international

Refugees and internally displaced persons

Illicit drugs

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