Statistical information Lesotho 1996Lesotho

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 1996
top of page

Background: Basutoland was renamed the Kingdom of Lesotho upon independence from the UK in 1966. Constitutional government was restored in 1993 after 23 years of military rule.

Lesotho - Geography 1996
top of page

Location: Southern Africa, an enclave of South Africa

Geographic coordinates

Map reference

Total: 30,350 km²
Land: 30,350 km²
Comparative: slightly larger than Maryland

Land boundaries: Total 909 km, South Africa 909 km

Coastline: 0 km (landlocked)

Maritime claims: None; landlocked

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

Terrain: Mostly highland with plateaus, hills, and mountains

Extremes lowest point: junction of the Orange and Makhaleng Rivers 1,400 m
Extremes highest point: Mount Thabana Ntlenyana 3,482 m

Natural resources:
Agricultural and grazing land
Some diamonds and other minerals

Land use

Land use
Arable land: 10%
Permanent crops: 0%
Permanent pastures: 66%
Forests and woodland: 0%
Other: 24%

Irrigated land: NA

Major rivers

Major watersheds area km²

Total water withdrawal

Total renewable water resources

Natural hazards


Lesotho - People 1996
top of page

1,970,781 (July 1996 est.)
1,992,960 (July 1995 est.)

Growth rate:
1.9% (1996 est.)
2.44% (1995 est.)

Noun: Mosotho (singular), Basotho (plural)
Adjective: Basotho

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

Languages: Sesotho (southern Sotho), English (official), Zulu, Xhosa

Christian 80%
Rest indigenous beliefs

Demographic profile
Age structure

Age structure
0-14 years:
41% (male 404,733; female 402,813) (July 1996 est.)
41% (male 416,709; female 407,213) (July 1995 est.)

15-64 years:
54% (male 519,493; female 553,618) (July 1996 est.)
54% (male 520,961; female 558,106) (July 1995 est.)

65 years and over:
5% (male 37,237; female 52,887) (July 1996 est.)
5% (male 38,162; female 51,809) (July 1995 est.)

Dependency ratios

Median age

Population growth rate:
1.9% (1996 est.)
2.44% (1995 est.)

Birth rate:
32.7 births/1000 population (1996 est.)
33.39 births/1000 population (1995 est.)

Death rate:
13.74 deaths/1000 population (1996 est.)
8.96 deaths/1000 population (1995 est.)

Net migration rate:
0 migrant(s)/1000 population (1996 est.)
0 migrant(s)/1000 population (1995 est.)

Population distribution


Major urban areas

Current issues: population pressure forcing settlement in marginal areas results in overgrazing, severe soil erosion, soil exhaustion; desertification; Highlands Water Project will control, store, and redirect water to South Africa
Current issues Natural hazards: periodic droughts
International agreements: party to_Biodiversity, Marine Life Conservation, Ozone Layer Protection, Wetlands; signed, but not ratified_Climate Change, Desertification, Endangered Species, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping
International agreements note: Landlocked; surrounded by South Africa

Air pollutants

Sex ratio
At birth: 1.03 male(s)/female
Under 15 years: 1 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 0.94 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.7 male(s)/female
All ages:
0.95 male(s)/female (1996 est.) Infant Mortality Rate:81.6 deaths/1000 live births (1996 est.)
67.4 deaths/1000 live births (1995 est.)

Mothers mean age at first birth

Maternal mortality ratio

Infant mortality rate

Life expectancy at birth
Total population: 52.08 years (1996 est.), 62.56 years (1995 est.)
Male: 50.08 years (1996 est.), 60.74 years (1995 est.)
Female: 54.14 years (1996 est.), 64.43 years (1995 est.)

Total fertility rate:
4.32 children born/woman (1996 est.)
4.41 children born/woman (1995 est.)

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

Definition: age 15 and over that can read and write (1995 est.)
Total population: 71.3%
Male: 81.1%
Female: 62.3%

School life expectancy primary to tertiary education

Youth unemployment

Lesotho - Government 1996
top of page

Country name
Conventional long form: Kingdom of Lesotho
Conventional short form: Lesotho
Former: Basutoland

Government type: Constitutional monarchy

Capital: Maseru

Administrative divisions: 10 districts; Berea, Butha-Buthe, Leribe, Mafeteng, Maseru, Mohale's Hoek, Mokhotlong, Qacha's Nek, Quthing, Thaba-Tseka

Dependent areas

Independence: 4 October 1966 (from U.K.)

National holiday: Independence Day, 4 October (1966)

Constitution: 2 April 1993

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: 21 years of age; universal

Executive branch: chief of state:King LETSIE III (since 7 February 1996); the king is the former Crown Prince David Monato BERENG Seeiso and succeeded his father King MOSHOESHOE II, who died in an automobile accident on 16 January 1996; King LETSIE III formerly occupied the throne (November 1990 to February 1995) while his father was in exile
Note: the king is a hereditary monarch, but, under the terms of the constitution which came into effect after the March 1993 election, he has no executive or legislative powers; moreover, under traditional law the king can be elected or deposed by a majority vote of the College of Chiefs
Head of government: Prime Minister Ntsu MOKHEHLE (since 2 April 1993)
Cabinet: Cabinet

Legislative branch: Bicameral Parliament Senate:Consists of 33 members (the 22 principal chiefs and 11 other members appointed by the ruling party) Assembly:Members elected by popular vote; election last held NA March 1993 (next to be held NA; results_percent of vote by party NA; seats (65 total) BCP 65

Judicial branch: High Court, Court of Appeal, Magistrate's Court, customary or traditional court

Political parties and leaders

International organization participation: ACP, AfDB, C, CCC, ECA, FAO, G-77, IBRD, ICAO, ICFTU, ICRM, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, Intelsat (nonsignatory user), Interpol, IOC, ITU, NAM, OAU, SACU, SADC, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNHCR, UNIDO, UPU, WCL, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WToO, WTrO

Diplomatic representation

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 1996
top of page

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 (these remittances supplement domestic income by as much as 45%). The great majority of households gain their livelihoods from subsistence farming and migrant labor; a large portion of the adult male work force is employed in South African mines. Manufacturing depends largely on farm products which support the milling, canning, leather, and jute industries. Although drought has decreased agricultural activity over the past few years, improvement of a major hydropower facility will permit the sale of water to South Africa and will support the economy's continued expansion.

Real gdp purchasing power parity

Real gdp growth rate: 13.5% (1994 est.)

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: Accounts for 10.4% of GDP (1993 est.), exceedingly primitive, mostly subsistence farming and livestock; principal crops corn, wheat, pulses, sorghum, barley


Industrial production growth rate: Growth rate 12.5% (1994 est.), 10%; accounts for 48.8% of GDP (1993 est.) Power supplied by South Africa

Labor force: 689,000 economically active
By occupation: 86.2% of resident population engaged in subsistence agriculture; roughly 60% of the active male wage earners work in South Africa
Labor force

Unemployment rate: Substantial unemployment and underemployment

Youth unemployment

Population below poverty line

Gini index

Household income or consumption by percentage share

Distribution of family income gini index

Revenues: $445 million (FY94/95), $438 million (FY93/94)
Expenditures: $400 million, including capital expenditures of $128 million (FY94/95 est.), $430 million, including capital expenditures of $155 million (FY93/94 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

total value. $142 million (f.o.b., 1994 est.)
$109 million (f.o.b., 1992)


South Africa 39%
EU 22%
North and South America 33% (1993)

Total value:
$1 billion (c.i.f., 1994 est.)
$964 million (c.i.f., 1992)

Mainly corn
Building materials

South Africa 83%
Asia 12%
EU 3% (1993)

Reserves of foreign exchange and gold

Debt external: $512 million (1993)

Stock of direct foreign investment at home

Stock of direct foreign investment abroad

Exchange rates: Maloti (M) per US$1_3.6417 (January 1996), 3.6266 (1995), 3.5490 (1994), 3.2636 (1993), 2.8497 (1992), 2.7563 (1991), 2.5863 (1990; note_the Basotho loti is at par with the South African rand

Lesotho - Energy 1996
top of page

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 1996
top of page

Telephones fixed lines

Telephones mobile cellular

Telephone system: 12,000 telephones (1991 est.); rudimentary system
Local: NA
Intercity: consists of a few land lines, a small microwave radio relay system, and a minor radio communication system
International: 1 INTELSAT (Atlantic Ocean) earth station

Broadcast media

Internet country code

Internet users

Broadband fixed subscriptions

Lesotho - Military 1996
top of page

Military expenditures
Dollar figure: $25 million, NA of GDP (1994)

Military and security forces

Military service age and obligation

Terrorist groups

Lesotho - Transportation 1996
top of page

National air transport system

Civil aircraft registration country code prefix

Airports: 29
With paved runways over 3047 m: 1
With paved runways 914 to 1523 m: 4
With paved runways under 914 m: 23

Airports with paved runways
Over 3047 m: 1
914 to 1523 m: 4
Under 914 m: 23

Airports with unpaved runways






Merchant marine

Ports and terminals

Lesotho - Transnational issues 1996
top of page

Disputes international

Refugees and internally displaced persons

Illicit drugs

Undercover Tourist

You found a piece of the puzzle

Please click here to complete it