Statistical information Lesotho 2001Lesotho

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

Lesotho in the World
Lesotho in the World

World Nomads

Lesotho - Introduction 2001
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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 2001
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Location: Southern Africa an enclave of South Africa

Geographic coordinates: 29 30 S 28 30 E

Map referenceAfrica

Total: 30,355 km²
Land: 30,355 km²
Water: 0 km²
Comparative: slightly smaller than Maryland

Land boundaries
Total: 909 km
Border countries: (1) 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: Thabana Ntlenyana 3,482 m

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

Land use
Arable land: 11%
Permanent crops: 0%
Permanent pastures: 66%
Forests and woodland: 0%
Other: 23% (1993 est.)

Irrigated land: 30 km² (1993 est.)

Major rivers

Major watersheds area km²

Total water withdrawal

Total renewable water resources

Natural hazards: periodic droughts

Note: landlocked; surrounded by South Africa

Lesotho - People 2001
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Note: estimates for this country explicitly take into account the effects of excess mortality due to AIDS; this can result in lower life expectancy, higher infant mortality and death rates, lower population and growth rates, and changes in the distribution of population by age and sex than would otherwise be expected (July 2001 est.)
Growth rate: 1.49% (2001 est.)
Below poverty line: 49.2% (1999 est.)

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

Ethnic groups: Sotho 99.7% Europeans Asians and other 0.3%

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

Religions: Christian 80% indigenous beliefs 20%

Demographic profile
Age structure

Age structure
0-14 years: 39.28% (male 430,147; female 424,994)
15-64 years: 56.03% (male 588,440; female 631,404)
65 years and over: 4.69% (male 43,033; female 59,044) (2001 est.)

Dependency ratios

Median age

Population growth rate: 1.49% (2001 est.)

Birth rate: 31.24 births/1000 population (2001 est.)

Death rate: 15.7 deaths/1000 population (2001 est.)

Net migration rate: -0.63 migrant(s)/1000 population (2001 est.)

Population distribution


Major urban areas

Current issues: population pressure forcing settlement in marginal areas results in overgrazing severe soil erosion and soil exhaustion; desertification; Highlands Water Project controls stores and redirects water to South Africa
International agreements party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Hazardous Wastes, Marine Life Conservation, Ozone Layer Protection
International agreements signed but not ratified: Endangered Species, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping

Air pollutants

Sex ratio
At birth: 1.03 male/female
Under 15 years: 1.01 male/female
15-64 years: 0.93 male/female
65 years and over: 0.73 male/female
Total population: 0.95 male/female (2001 est.)

Mothers mean age at first birth

Maternal mortality ratio

Infant mortality rate: 82.77 deaths/1000 live births (2001 est.)

Life expectancy at birth
Total population: 48.84 years
Male: 47.97 years
Female: 49.74 years (2001 est.)

Total fertility rate: 4.08 children born/woman (2001 est.)

Contraceptive prevalence rate

Drinking water source

Current health expenditure

Physicians density

Hospital bed density

Sanitation facility access

Adult prevalence rate: 23.57% (1999 est.)
People living with hivaids: 240,000 (1999 est.)
Deaths: 16,000 (1999 est.)

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 can read and write
Total population: 83%
Male: 72%
Female: 93% (1999 est.)

School life expectancy primary to tertiary education

Youth unemployment

Lesotho - Government 2001
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Country name
Conventional long form: Kingdom of Lesotho
Conventional short form: Lesotho
Former: Basutoland

Government type: parliamentary constitutional monarchy

Capital: Maseru

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

Dependent areas

Independence: 4 October 1966 (from UK)

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: 18 years of age; universal

Executive branch
Chief of state: King LETSIE III (since 7 February 1996); note - King LETSIE III formerly occupied the throne from November 1990 to February 1995, while his father was in exile
Head of government: Prime Minister Pakalitha MOSISILI (since 23 May 1998)
Cabinet: Cabinet
Elections: none; according to the constitution, the leader of the majority party in the assembly automatically becomes prime minister; the monarch is hereditary, but, under the terms of the constitution which came into effect after the March 1993 election, the monarch is a 'living symbol of national unity' with no executive or legislative powers; under traditional law the college of chiefs has the power to determine who is next in the line of succession, who shall serve as regent in the event that the successor is not of mature age, and may even depose the monarch

Legislative branch
Elections: last held 23 May 1998 (next to be held NA March 2001)
Election results: percent of vote by party - LCD 60.7%, BNP 24.5%, other 14.8%; seats by party - LCD 79, BNP 1
Note: results contested; opposition parties claimed the election was fraudulent and staged a coup; Southern African Development Community (SADC) forces intervened in September 1998 and restored order; the Interim Political Authority (IPA) was set up in December 1998 to create a new electoral system and conduct new elections.

Judicial branch: High Court (chief justice appointed by the monarch); Court of Appeal; Magistrate's Court; customary or traditional court

Political parties and leaders: Basotho Congress Party or BCP [Tseliso MAKHAKHE]; Basotho National Party or BNP [Maj. Gen. Justine Metsing LEKHANYA]; Lesotho Congress for Democracy or LCD [Phebe MOTEBANO chairwoman; Dr. Pakalitha MOSISILI leader] - the governing party; United Democratic Party or UDP [Charles MOFELI]; Marematlou Freedom Party or MFP and Setlamo Alliance [Vincent MALEBO]; Progressive National Party or PNP [Chief Peete Nkoebe PEETE]; Sefate Democratic Party or SDP [Bofihla NKUEBE]

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

Diplomatic representation
In the us chief of mission: Ambassador Lebohang Kenneth MOLEKO
In the us chancery: 2,511 Massachusetts Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20,008
In the us telephone: [1] (202) 797-5,533 through 5,536
In the us fax: [1] (202) 234-6,815
From the us chief of mission: Ambassador Katherine H. PETERSON
From the us embassy: 254 Kingsway, Maseru West (Consular Section)
From the us mailing address: P. O. Box 333, Maseru 100, Lesotho
From the us telephone: [266] 312,666
From the us fax: [266] 310,116

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 2001
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Economy overview: Small landlocked and mountainous Lesotho's primary natural resource is water. Its economy is based on subsistence agriculture livestock and remittances from miners employed in South Africa. The number of such mineworkers has declined steadily over the past several years. A small manufacturing base depends largely on farm products that support the milling canning leather and jute industries. Agricultural products are exported primarily to South Africa. Proceeds from membership in a common customs union with South Africa form the majority of government revenue. Although drought has decreased agricultural activity over the past few years completion of a major hydropower facility in January 1998 now permits the sale of water to South Africa generating royalties for Lesotho. The pace of substantial privatization has increased in recent years. In December 1999 the government embarked on a nine-month IMF staff-monitored program aimed at structural adjustment and stabilization of macroeconomic fundamentals. The government is in the process of applying for a three-year successor program with the IMF under its Poverty Reduction and Growth Facility.

Real gdp purchasing power parity

Real gdp growth rate: 2.5% (2000 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: 18%
Industry: 38%
Services: 44% (1999)

Agriculture products: corn wheat pulses sorghum barley; livestock

Industries: food beverages textiles handicrafts; construction; tourism

Industrial production growth rate: 15.5% (1999 est.)

Labor force: 700,000 economically active
By occupation: 86% of resident population engaged in subsistence agriculture; roughly 35% of the active male wage earners work in South Africa
Labor force

Unemployment rate: 45% (2000 est.)

Youth unemployment

Population below poverty line: 49.2% (1999 est.)

Gini index

Household income or consumption by percentage share
Lowest 10: 0.9%
Highest 10: 43.4% (1986-87)

Distribution of family income gini index

Revenues: $76 million
Expenditures: $80 million, including capital expenditures of $15 million (FY99/00 est.)

Public debt

Taxes and other revenues


Fiscal year: 1 April - 31 March

Current account balance

Inflation rate consumer prices: 6% (2000 est.)

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: $175 million (f.o.b. 2000 est.)
Commodities: manufactures 75% (clothing footwear road vehicles) wool and mohair food and live animals (1998)
Partners: South African Customs Union 65% North America 34% (1998)

Imports: $700 million (f.o.b. 2000 est.)
Commodities: food; building materials vehicles machinery medicines petroleum products (1995)
Partners: South African Customs Union 90% Asia 7% (1998)

Reserves of foreign exchange and gold

Debt external: $720 million (2000 est.)

Stock of direct foreign investment at home

Stock of direct foreign investment abroad

Exchange rates: maloti per US dollar - 7.78307 (January 2001) 6.93983 (2000) 6.10948 (1999) 5.52828 (1998) 4.60796 (1997) 4.29935 (1996); note - the Lesotho loti is at par with the South African rand which is also legal tender; maloti is the plural form of loti

Lesotho - Energy 2001
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Electricity access

Electricity production: 0 kWh; note - electricity supplied by South Africa (1999)
By source fossil fuel: 0%
By source hydro: 0%
By source nuclear: 0%
By source other: 0% (1999)

Electricity consumption: 55 million kWh (1999)

Electricity exports: 0 kWh (1999)

Electricity imports
Note: electricity supplied by South Africa (1999)

Electricity installed generating capacity

Electricity transmission distribution losses

Electricity generation sources


Refined petroleum

Natural gas

Carbon dioxide emissions

Energy consumption per capita

Lesotho - Communication 2001
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Telephones fixed lines

Telephones mobile cellular: 1262 (1996)

Telephone system
General assessment: rudimentary system
Domestic: consists of a few landlines, a small microwave radio relay system, and a minor radiotelephone communication system
International: satellite earth station - 1 Intelsat (Atlantic Ocean)

Broadcast media

Internet country code: .ls

Internet users: 1000 (2000)

Broadband fixed subscriptions

Lesotho - Military 2001
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Military expenditures
Dollar figure: $34 million (1999)
Percent of gdp: NA%

Military and security forces

Military service age and obligation

Terrorist groups

Lesotho - Transportation 2001
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National air transport system

Civil aircraft registration country code prefix

Airports: 29 (2000 est.)
With paved runways total: 4
With paved runways over 3047 m: 1
With paved runways 914 to 1523 m: 1
With paved runways under 914 m: 2 (2000 est.)
With unpaved runways total: 25
With unpaved runways 914 to 1523 m: 4
With unpaved runways under 914 m: 21 (2000 est.)

Airports with paved runways
Total: 4
Over 3047 m: 1
914 to 1523 m: 1
Under 914 m: 2 (2000 est.)

Airports with unpaved runways
Total: 25
914 to 1523 m: 4
Under 914 m: 21 (2000 est.)



Total: 2.6 km; note - owned by, operated by, and included in the statistics of South Africa
Narrow gauge: 2.6 km 1.067-m gauge (1995)


Waterways: none

Merchant marine

Ports and terminals

Lesotho - Transnational issues 2001
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Disputes international

Refugees and internally displaced persons

Illicit drugs


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