Lesotho

Last modified

Resources

PAGE LAST UPDATED ON NOVEMBER 10, 2011
Flag of Lesotho
(CONTAINS DESCRIPTION)
Location of Lesotho
CLICK FLAG OR MAP TO ENLARGE Opens in New Window
 
Map of Lesotho
CLICK MAP TO ENLARGE Opens in New Window
Photos of Lesotho
 
Navigation Arrow VIEW 2 PHOTOS Opens in New Window
OF LESOTHO
 

Introduction

Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
Basutoland was renamed the Kingdom of Lesotho upon independence from the UK in 1966. The Basuto National Party ruled for the first two decades. King MOSHOESHOE was exiled in 1990, but returned to Lesotho in 1992 and was reinstated in 1995 and subsequently succeeded by his son, King LETSIE III, in 1996. Constitutional government was restored in 1993 after seven years of military rule. In 1998, violent protests and a military mutiny following a contentious election prompted a brief but bloody intervention by South African and Botswana military forces under the aegis of the Southern African Development Community. Subsequent constitutional reforms restored relative political stability. Peaceful parliamentary elections were held in 2002, but the National Assembly elections of February 2007 were hotly contested and aggrieved parties continue to dispute how the electoral law was applied to award proportional seats in the Assembly.
 
Back to Top

Geography

Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
Southern Africa, an enclave of South Africa
 
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
29 30 S, 28 30 E
 
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
 
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
total: 30,355 sq km
country comparison to the world: 142
land: 30,355 sq km
water: 0 sq km
 
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
slightly smaller than Maryland
 
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
total: 909 km
border countries: South Africa 909 km
 
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
0 km (landlocked)
 
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
none (landlocked)
 
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
temperate; cool to cold, dry winters; hot, wet summers
 
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
mostly highland with plateaus, hills, and mountains
 
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
lowest point: junction of the Orange and Makhaleng Rivers 1,400 m
highest point: Thabana Ntlenyana 3,482 m
 
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
water, agricultural and grazing land, diamonds, sand, clay, building stone
 
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
arable land: 10.87%
permanent crops: 0.13%
other: 89% (2005)
 
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
30 sq km (2008)
 
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
5.2 cu km (1987)
 
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
total: 0.05 cu km/yr (40%/40%/20%)
per capita: 28 cu m/yr (2000)
 
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
periodic droughts
 
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
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
 
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Life Conservation, Ozone Layer Protection, Wetlands
signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements
 
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
landlocked, completely surrounded by South Africa; mountainous, more than 80% of the country is 1,800 m above sea level
 
Back to Top

People and Society

Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
noun: Mosotho (singular), Basotho (plural)
adjective: Basotho
 
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
Sotho 99.7%, Europeans, Asians, and other 0.3%,
 
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
Sesotho (official) (southern Sotho), English (official), Zulu, Xhosa
 
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
Christian 80%, indigenous beliefs 20%
 
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
1,924,886 (July 2011 est.)
country comparison to the world: 147
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, higher death rates, lower population growth rates, and changes in the distribution of population by age and sex than would otherwise be expected
 
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
0-14 years: 33.5% (male 323,934/female 321,727)
15-64 years: 61.1% (male 573,773/female 602,443)
65 years and over: 5.4% (male 50,956/female 52,053) (2011 est.)
 
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
total: 22.9 years
male: 22.8 years
female: 22.9 years (2011 est.)
 
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
0.332% (2011 est.)
country comparison to the world: 166
 
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
26.93 births/1,000 population (2011 est.)
country comparison to the world: 49
 
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
15.19 deaths/1,000 population (July 2011 est.)
country comparison to the world: 9
 
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
-8.42 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2011 est.)
country comparison to the world: 207
 
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
urban population: 27% of total population (2010)
rate of urbanization: 3.4% annual rate of change (2010-15 est.)
 
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
MASERU (capital) 220,000 (2009)
 
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
at birth: 1.03 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.01 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 0.95 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.96 male(s)/female
total population: 0.97 male(s)/female (2011 est.)
 
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
530 deaths/100,000 live births (2008)
country comparison to the world: 25
 
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
total: 55.04 deaths/1,000 live births
country comparison to the world: 40
male: 59.28 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 50.67 deaths/1,000 live births (2011 est.)
 
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
total population: 51.63 years
country comparison to the world: 212
male: 51.51 years
female: 51.76 years (2011 est.)
 
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
2.94 children born/woman (2011 est.)
country comparison to the world: 67
 
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
13.2% of GDP (2009)
country comparison to the world: 5
 
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
0.05 physicians/1,000 population (2003)
country comparison to the world: 177
 
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
1.33 beds/1,000 population (2006)
country comparison to the world: 129
 
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
improved:
urban: 97% of population
rural: 81% of population
total: 85% of population
unimproved:
urban: 3% of population
rural: 19% of population
total: 15% of population (2008)
 
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
improved:
urban: 40% of population
rural: 25% of population
total: 29% of population
unimproved:
urban: 60% of population
rural: 75% of population
total: 71% of population (2008)
 
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
23.6% (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 3
 
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
290,000 (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 20
 
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
14,000 (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 20
 
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
16.6% (2005)
country comparison to the world: 49
 
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
12.4% of GDP (2008)
country comparison to the world: 3
 
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 84.8%
male: 74.5%
female: 94.5% (2003 est.)
 
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
total: 10 years
male: 10 years
female: 10 years (2008)
 
Back to Top

Government

Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
conventional long form: Kingdom of Lesotho
conventional short form: Lesotho
local long form: Kingdom of Lesotho
local short form: Lesotho
former: Basutoland
 
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
parliamentary constitutional monarchy
 
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
name: Maseru
geographic coordinates: 29 19 S, 27 29 E
time difference: UTC+2 (7 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)
 
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
10 districts; Berea, Butha-Buthe, Leribe, Mafeteng, Maseru, Mohale's Hoek, Mokhotlong, Qacha's Nek, Quthing, Thaba-Tseka
 
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
4 October 1966 (from the UK)
 
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
Independence Day, 4 October (1966)
 
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
2 April 1993
 
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
mixed legal system of English common law and Roman-Dutch law; judicial review of legislative acts in High Court and Court of Appeal
 
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
accepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction with reservations; accepts ICCt jurisdiction
 
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
18 years of age; universal
 
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
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
(For more information visit the World Leaders website Opens in New Window)
elections: according to the constitution, the leader of the majority party in the Assembly automatically becomes prime minister; the monarchy is hereditary, but, under the terms of the constitution that 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 depose the monarch, determine who is next in the line of succession, or who shall serve as regent in the event that the successor is not of mature age
 
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
bicameral Parliament consists of the Senate (33 members - 22 principal chiefs and 11 other members appointed by the ruling party) and the Assembly (120 seats, 80 by popular vote and 40 by proportional vote; members elected by popular vote to serve five-year terms)
elections: last held on 17 February 2007 (next to be held in 2012)
election results: percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - LCD 61, NIP 21, ABC 17, LWP 10, ACP 4, BNP 3, other 4
 
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
High Court (chief justice appointed by the monarch acting on the advice of the prime minister); Court of Appeal; Magistrate Courts; customary or traditional courts
 
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
Alliance of Congress Parties or ACP (including the Lesotho People's Congress or LCP [Kelebone MAOPE], the Basotholand African Congress or BAC [Khauhelo RALITAPOLE], and a faction of the Basotho Congress Party or BCP [Ntsukunyane MPHANYA]); All Basotho Convention or ABC [Thomas THABANE]; Basotho Batho Democratic Party or BBDP; Basotho Congress Party or BCP; Basotho Democratic National Party or BDNP [Thabang NYEOE]; Basotho National Party or BNP [vacant]; Basotholand African National Congress or BANC; Christian Democratic Party or CDP [Enerst RAMOKOENA]; Lesotho Congress for Democracy or LCD [Pakalitha MOSISILI] (the governing party); Lesotho Workers Party or LWP [Macaefa BILLY]; National Independent Party or NIP [Anthony MANYELI]
 
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
Media Institute of Southern Africa, Lesotho chapter [Thabang MATJAMA] (pushes for media freedom)
 
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
ACP, AfDB, AU, C, FAO, G-77, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICRM, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, Interpol, IOC, IOM, IPU, ISO (correspondent), ITU, MIGA, NAM, OPCW, SACU, SADC, UN, UNAMID, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNHCR, UNIDO, UNWTO, UPU, WCO, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO
 
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
chief of mission: Ambassador (vacant); Charge d'Affaires Molefi Christopher NYAKA
chancery: 2511 Massachusetts Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20008
telephone: [1] (202) 797-5533
FAX: [1] (202) 234-6815
 
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
chief of mission: Ambassador Michele T. BOND
embassy: 254 Kingsway, Maseru West (Consular Section)
mailing address: P. O. Box 333, Maseru 100, Lesotho
telephone: [266] 22 312666
FAX: [266] 22 310116
 
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
three horizontal stripes of blue (top), white, and green in the proportions of 3:4:3; the colors represent rain, peace, and prosperity respectively; centered in the white stripe is a black Basotho hat representing the indigenous people; the flag was unfurled in October 2006 to celebrate 40 years of independence
 
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
Basotho hat
 
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
name: "Lesotho fatse la bo ntat'a rona" (Lesotho, Land of Our Fathers)
lyrics/music: Francois COILLARD/Ferdinand-Samuel LAUR
note: adopted 1967; the anthem's music derives from an 1823 Swiss songbook
 
Back to Top

Economy

Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
Small, landlocked, and mountainous, Lesotho relies on remittances from Basotho employed in South Africa, customs duties from the Southern Africa Customs Union (SACU), and export revenue for the majority of government revenue. However, the government has recently strengthened its tax system to reduce dependency on customs duties. Completion of a major hydropower facility in January 1998 permitted the sale of water to South Africa and generated royalties for Lesotho. Lesotho produces about 90% of its own electrical power needs. As the number of mineworkers has declined steadily over the past several years, a small manufacturing base has developed based on farm products that support the milling, canning, leather, and jute industries, as well as an apparel-assembly sector. Despite Lesotho's market-based economy being heavily tied to its neighbor South Africa, the US is an important trade partner because of the export sector's heavy dependence on apparel exports. Exports have grown significantly because of the trade benefits contained in the Africa Growth and Opportunity Act. Most of the labor force is engaged in subsistence agriculture, especially livestock herding, although drought has decreased agricultural activity. The extreme inequality in the distribution of income remains a major drawback. Lesotho has signed an Interim Poverty Reduction and Growth Facility with the IMF. In July 2007, Lesotho signed a Millennium Challenge Account Compact with the US worth $362.5 million. Economic growth dropped in 2009, due mainly to the effects of the global economic crisis as demand for the country's exports declined and SACU revenue fell precipitously when South Africa - the primary contributor to the SACU revenue pool - went into recession, but growth returned to 3.5% in 2010.
 
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
$3.303 billion (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 173
$3.223 billion (2009 est.)
$3.129 billion (2008 est.)
note: data are in 2010 US dollars
 
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
$2.127 billion (2010 est.)
 
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
2.4% (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 139
3% (2009 est.)
4.7% (2008 est.)
 
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
$1,700 (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 196
$1,700 (2009 est.)
$1,600 (2008 est.)
note: data are in 2010 US dollars
 
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
agriculture: 8.4%
industry: 33.9%
services: 57.7% (2010 est.)
 
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
854,600 (2007 est.)
country comparison to the world: 145
 
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
agriculture: 86% of resident population engaged in subsistence agriculture; roughly 35% of the active male wage earners work in South Africa
industry and services: 14% (2002 est.)
 
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
45% (2002)
country comparison to the world: 190
 
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
49% (1999)
 
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
lowest 10%: 1%
highest 10%: 39.4% (2003)
 
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
63.2 (1995)
country comparison to the world: 4
56 (1986-87)
 
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
29.3% of GDP (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 33
 
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
revenues: $1.176 billion
expenditures: $1.367 billion (2010 est.)
 
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
55.3% of GDP (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 15
 
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
-9% of GDP (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 193
 
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
3.6% (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 121
7.2% (2009 est.)
 
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
10% (31 December 2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 27
10.66% (31 December 2009 est.)
 
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
11.2% (31 December 2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 76
13% (31 December 2009 est.)
 
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
$588.6 million (31 December 2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 157
$467.2 million (31 December 2009 est.)
 
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
$1.057 billion (31 December 2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 165
$876 million (31 December 2009 est.)
 
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
$60.61 million (31 December 2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 186
$54.2 million (31 December 2009 est.)
 
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
corn, wheat, pulses, sorghum, barley; livestock
 
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
food, beverages, textiles, apparel assembly, handicrafts, construction, tourism
 
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
3% (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 115
 
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
200 million kWh
country comparison to the world: 180
note: electricity supplied by South Africa (2008 est.)
 
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
236 million kWh (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 178
 
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
0 kWh (2009 est.)
 
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
107 million kWh; note - electricity supplied by South Africa (2009 est.)
 
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
0 bbl/day (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 170
 
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
2,000 bbl/day (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 189
 
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
0 bbl/day (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 188
 
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
1,690 bbl/day (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 186
 
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
0 bbl (1 January 2011 est.)
country comparison to the world: 156
 
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
0 cu m (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 155
 
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
0 cu m (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 199
 
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
0 cu m (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 134
 
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
0 cu m (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 89
 
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
0 cu m (1 January 2011 est.)
country comparison to the world: 159
 
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
-$334.4 million (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 97
-$32 million (2009 est.)
 
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
$823.2 million (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 160
$715.9 million (2009 est.)
 
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
manufactures 75% (clothing, footwear, road vehicles), wool and mohair, food and live animals
 
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
US 58.4%, Belgium 34%, Canada 3.7% (2010)
 
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
$1.885 billion (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 156
$1.668 billion (2009 est.)
 
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
food; building materials, vehicles, machinery, medicines, petroleum products
 
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
South Korea 26.9%, China 23.1%, Taiwan 22.1%, Hong Kong 6.6%, US 4.4% (2010)
 
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
$918.6 million (31 December 2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 137
$962 million (31 December 2009 est.)
 
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
$666.2 million (31 December 2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 159
$671.3 million (31 December 2009 est.)
 
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
maloti (LSL) per US dollar -
7.9 (2010)
8.47 (2009)
7.75 (2008)
7.25 (2007)
6.85 (2006)
 
Back to Top

Communications

Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
38,800 (2010)
country comparison to the world: 173
 
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
698,800 (2010)
country comparison to the world: 157
 
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
general assessment: rudimentary system consisting of a modest number of landlines, a small microwave radio relay system, and a small radiotelephone communication system; mobile-cellular telephone system is expanding
domestic: privatized in 2001, Telecom Lesotho was tasked with providing an additional 50,000 fixed-line connections within five years, a target not met; mobile-cellular service dominates the market and is expanding with a subscribership exceeding 30 per 100 persons in 2009; rural services are scant
international: country code - 266; satellite earth station - 1 Intelsat (Atlantic Ocean) (2009)
 
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
1 state-owned TV station and 2 state-owned radio stations; government controls most private broadcast media; satellite TV subscription service is available; transmissions of multiple international broadcasters are obtainable (2008)
 
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
.ls
 
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
632 (2010)
country comparison to the world: 175
 
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
76,800 (2009)
country comparison to the world: 168
 
Back to Top

Transportation

Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
26 (2010)
country comparison to the world: 128
 
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
total: 3
over 3,047 m: 1
914 to 1,523 m: 1
under 914 m: 1 (2010)
 
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
total: 23
914 to 1,523 m: 5
under 914 m: 18 (2010)
 
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
total: 7,091 km
country comparison to the world: 147
paved: 1,404 km
unpaved: 5,687 km (2003)
 
Back to Top

Military

Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
Lesotho Defense Force (LDF): Army (includes Air Wing) (2010)
 
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
18-24 years of age for voluntary military service; no conscription; women serve as commissioned officers (2009)
 
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
males age 16-49: 472,456
females age 16-49: 508,953 (2010 est.)
 
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
males age 16-49: 270,184
females age 16-49: 275,734 (2010 est.)
 
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
male: 19,110
female: 20,037 (2010 est.)
 
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
2.6% of GDP (2006)
country comparison to the world: 57
 
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
Lesotho's declared policy is maintenance of its independent sovereignty and preservation of internal security; in practice, external security is guaranteed by South Africa; restructuring of the Lesotho Defense Force (LDF) and Ministry of Defense and Public Service over the past five years has focused on subordinating the defense apparatus to civilian control and restoring the LDF's cohesion; the restructuring has considerably improved capabilities and professionalism, but the LDF is disproportionately large for a small, poor country; the government has outlined a reduction to a planned 1,500-man strength, but these plans have met with vociferous resistance from the political opposition and from inside the LDF (2008)
 
Back to Top

Transnational Issues

Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
none
Page statistics
581 view(s) and 3 edit(s)
Social share
Share this page?

Tags

This page has no custom tags.
This page has no classifications.

Comments

You must to post a comment.

Attachments