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Africa :: LESOTHO
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LESOTHO
  • Introduction :: LESOTHO

  • Basutoland was renamed the Kingdom of Lesotho upon independence from the UK in 1966. The Basuto National Party ruled the country during its 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 Batswana 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 disputed how the electoral law was applied to award proportional seats in the Assembly. In May 2012, competitive elections involving 18 parties saw Prime Minister Motsoahae Thomas THABANE form a coalition government - the first in the country's history - that ousted the 14-year incumbent, Pakalitha MOSISILI, who peacefully transferred power the following month. MOSISILI returned to power in snap elections in February 2015 after the collapse of THABANE’s coalition government and an alleged attempted military coup.
  • Geography :: LESOTHO

  • Southern Africa, an enclave of South Africa
    29 30 S, 28 30 E
    Africa
    total: 30,355 sq km
    land: 30,355 sq km
    water: 0 sq km
    country comparison to the world: 142
    slightly smaller than Maryland
    total: 1,106 km
    border countries (1): South Africa 1,106 km
    0 km (landlocked)
    none (landlocked)
    temperate; cool to cold, dry winters; hot, wet summers
    mostly highland with plateaus, hills, and mountains
    mean elevation: 2,161 m
    elevation extremes: lowest point: junction of the Orange and Makhaleng Rivers 1,400 m
    highest point: Thabana Ntlenyana 3,482 m
    water, agricultural and grazing land, diamonds, sand, clay, building stone
    agricultural land: 76.1%
    arable land 10.1%; permanent crops 0.1%; permanent pasture 65.9%
    forest: 1.5%
    other: 22.4% (2011 est.)
    30 sq km (2012)
    3.02 cu km (2011)
    total: 0.04 cu km/yr (46%/46%/9%)
    per capita: 21.79 cu m/yr (2000)
    periodic droughts
    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
    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
    landlocked, completely surrounded by South Africa; mountainous, more than 80% of the country is 1,800 m above sea level
  • People and Society :: LESOTHO

  • 1,953,070
    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 (July 2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 150
    noun: Mosotho (singular), Basotho (plural)
    adjective: Basotho
    Sotho 99.7%, Europeans, Asians, and other 0.3%
    Sesotho (official) (southern Sotho), English (official), Zulu, Xhosa
    Christian 80%, indigenous beliefs 20%
    0-14 years: 32.4% (male 317,933/female 314,849)
    15-24 years: 19.56% (male 181,907/female 200,113)
    25-54 years: 37.58% (male 358,643/female 375,313)
    55-64 years: 5% (male 52,016/female 45,549)
    65 years and over: 5.47% (male 54,466/female 52,281) (2016 est.)
    population pyramid:
    total dependency ratio: 67.3%
    youth dependency ratio: 60.3%
    elderly dependency ratio: 6.9%
    potential support ratio: 14.4% (2015 est.)
    total: 24 years
    male: 24 years
    female: 24 years (2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 162
    0.3% (2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 172
    25.1 births/1,000 population (2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 49
    14.9 deaths/1,000 population (2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 1
    -7.1 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 205
    urban population: 27.3% of total population (2015)
    rate of urbanization: 3.05% annual rate of change (2010-15 est.)
    MASERU (capital) 267,000 (2014)
    at birth: 1.03 male(s)/female
    0-14 years: 1.01 male(s)/female
    15-24 years: 0.91 male(s)/female
    25-54 years: 0.96 male(s)/female
    55-64 years: 1.14 male(s)/female
    65 years and over: 1.03 male(s)/female
    total population: 1.04 male(s)/female (2016 est.)
    21.2
    note: median age at first birth among women 25-29 (2009 est.)
    487 deaths/100,000 live births (2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 12
    total: 47.6 deaths/1,000 live births
    male: 51.2 deaths/1,000 live births
    female: 43.8 deaths/1,000 live births (2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 37
    total population: 53 years
    male: 52.9 years
    female: 53.1 years (2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 215
    2.68 children born/woman (2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 69
    47% (2009/10)
    10.6% of GDP (2014)
    country comparison to the world: 10
    1.3 beds/1,000 population (2006)
    improved:
    urban: 94.6% of population
    rural: 77% of population
    total: 81.8% of population
    unimproved:
    urban: 5.4% of population
    rural: 23% of population
    total: 18.2% of population (2015 est.)
    improved:
    urban: 37.3% of population
    rural: 27.6% of population
    total: 30.3% of population
    unimproved:
    urban: 62.7% of population
    rural: 72.4% of population
    total: 69.7% of population (2015 est.)
    22.73% (2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 3
    308,100 (2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 20
    9,900 (2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 25
    11.9% (2014)
    country comparison to the world: 120
    10.3% (2014)
    country comparison to the world: 54
    13% of GDP (2008)
    country comparison to the world: 1
    definition: age 15 and over can read and write
    total population: 79.4%
    male: 70.1%
    female: 88.3% (2015 est.)
    total: 11 years
    male: 10 years
    female: 11 years (2014)
    total: 34.4%
    male: 29%
    female: 41.9% (2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 18
  • Government :: LESOTHO

  • conventional long form: Kingdom of Lesotho
    conventional short form: Lesotho
    local long form: Kingdom of Lesotho
    local short form: Lesotho
    former: Basutoland
    etymology: the name translates as "Land of the Sesotho speakers"
    parliamentary constitutional monarchy
    name: Maseru
    geographic coordinates: 29 19 S, 27 29 E
    time difference: UTC+2 (7 hours ahead of Washington, DC, during Standard Time)
    10 districts; Berea, Butha-Buthe, Leribe, Mafeteng, Maseru, Mohale's Hoek, Mokhotlong, Qacha's Nek, Quthing, Thaba-Tseka
    4 October 1966 (from the UK)
    Independence Day, 4 October (1966)
    previous 1959, 1967; latest adopted 2 April 1993 (effectively restoring the 1967 version); amended several times, last in 2011 (2016)
    mixed legal system of English common law and Roman-Dutch law; judicial review of legislative acts in High Court and Court of Appeal
    accepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction with reservations; accepts ICCt jurisdiction
    citizenship by birth: yes
    citizenship by descent: yes
    dual citizenship recognized: no
    residency requirement for naturalization: 5 years
    18 years of age; universal
    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 18 March 2015)
    cabinet: Cabinet
    elections/appointments: 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, to determine next in line of succession, or to serve as regent in the event that a successor is not of mature age; following legislative elections, the leader of the majority party or majority coalition in the Assembly automatically becomes prime minister
    description: bicameral Parliament consists of the Senate (33 seats; 22 principal chiefs and 11 other senators nominated by the king with the advice of the Council of State, a 13-member body of key government and non-government officials; members serve 5-year terms) and the National Assembly (120 seats; 80 members directly elected in single-seat constituencies by simple majority vote and 40 directly elected in single-seat constituencies by proportional representation vote; members serve 5-year terms)
    elections: last held on 28 February 2015 (next to be held in 2020)
    election results: National Assembly - percent of vote by party - DC 38.4%, ABC 37.8%, LCD, 9.9%, BNP 5.5%, PFD 1.7%, RCL 1.2%, NIP 1.0%, MFP 0.6%, BCP 0.5%, LPC 0.3%, other 3.1%; seats by party - DC 47, ABC 46, LCD 12, BNP 7, PFD 2, RCL 2, NIP 1, MFP 1, BCP 1, LPC 1
    highest court(s): Court of Appeal (consists of the court president, such number of justices of appeal as set by Parliament, and the Chief Justice and the puisne judges of the High Court ex officio); High Court (consists of the chief justice and such number of puisne judges as set by Parliament); note - both the Court of Appeal and the High Court have jurisdiction in constitutional issues
    judge selection and term of office: Court of Appeal president and High Court chief justice appointed by the monarch on the advice of the prime minister; puisne judges appointed by the monarch on advice of the Judicial Service Commission, an independent body of judicial officers and officials designated by the monarch; judges of both courts can serve until age 75
    subordinate courts: Magistrate Courts; customary or traditional courts; Courts Martial
    All Basotho Convention or ABC [Motsoahae Thomas THABANE]
    Basotho Congress Party or BCP [Thulo MAHLAKENG]
    Basotho National Party or BNP [Thesele MASERIBANE]
    Democratic Congress or DC [Pakalitha MOSISILI]
    Lesotho Congress for Democracy or LCD [Mothetjoa METSING]
    Lesotho Peoples Congress or LPC [Molahlehi LETLOTLO]
    Marematlou Freedom Party or MFP [Vincent MALEBO]
    National Independent Party or NIP [Kimetso MATHABA]
    Popular Front for Democracy of PFD [Lekhetho RAKUOANE]
    Reformed Congress of Lesotho or RCL [Keketso RANTSO]
    Media Institute of Southern Africa, Lesotho chapter [Tsebo MATŠASA] (pushes for media freedom)
    ACP, AfDB, AU, C, CD, FAO, G-77, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICCt, 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 (NGOs), WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO
    chief of mission: Ambassador Eliachim Molapi SEBATANE (since 2 November 2011)
    chancery: 2511 Massachusetts Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20008
    telephone: [1] (202) 797-5533
    FAX: [1] (202) 234-6815
    chief of mission: Ambassador Matthew T. HARRINGTON (since October 2014)
    embassy: 254 Kingsway Road, Maseru West (Consular Section)
    mailing address: P.O. Box 333, Maseru 100, Lesotho
    telephone: [266] 22 312 666
    FAX: [266] 22 310 116
    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
    mokorotio (Basotho hat); national colors: blue, white, green, black
    name: "Lesotho fatse la bo ntat'a rona" (Lesotho, Land of Our Fathers)
    lyrics/music: Francois COILLARD/Ferdinand-Samuel LAUR
    note: adopted 1967; music derives from an 1823 Swiss songbook
  • Economy :: LESOTHO

  • Small, mountainous, and completely landlocked by South Africa, Lesotho depends on a narrow economic base of textile manufacturing, agriculture, remittances, and regional customs revenue. About three-fourths of the people live in rural areas and engage in animal herding and subsistence agriculture, although Lesotho produces less than 20% of the nation's demand for food. Agriculture is vulnerable to weather and climate variability.
    Lesotho relies on South Africa for much of its economic activity; Lesotho imports 90% of the goods it consumes from South Africa, including most agricultural inputs. Households depend heavily on remittances from family members working in South Africa, in mines, on farms, and as domestic workers, though mining employment has declined substantially since the 1990s. Lesotho is a member of the Southern Africa Customs Union (SACU), and revenues from SACU accounted for roughly 44% of total government revenue in 2014. The South African Government also pays royalties for water transferred to South Africa from a dam and reservoir system in Lesotho. However, the government continues to strengthen its tax system to reduce dependency on customs duties and other transfers.
    The government maintains a large presence in the economy - government consumption accounted for 37% of GDP in 2014 and the government remains Lesotho's largest employer. Access to credit remains a problem for the private sector. Lesotho's largest private employer is the textile and garment industry - approximately 36,000 Basotho, mainly women, work in factories producing garments for export to South Africa and the US. Diamond mining in Lesotho has grown in recent years and may contribute 8.5% to GDP by 2015, according to current forecasts.
    $5.77 billion (2015 est.)
    $5.631 billion (2014 est.)
    $5.443 billion (2013 est.)
    note: data are in 2015 US dollars
    country comparison to the world: 171
    $2.032 billion (2015 est.)
    2.5% (2015 est.)
    3.4% (2014 est.)
    3.6% (2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 120
    $3,000 (2015 est.)
    $2,900 (2014 est.)
    $2,800 (2013 est.)
    note: data are in 2015 US dollars
    country comparison to the world: 189
    27% of GDP (2015 est.)
    24.8% of GDP (2014 est.)
    24.4% of GDP (2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 38
    household consumption: 79.7%
    government consumption: 32%
    investment in fixed capital: 29.6%
    investment in inventories: -3.9%
    exports of goods and services: 39%
    imports of goods and services: -76.4% (2015 est.)
    agriculture: 5.6%
    industry: 29.8%
    services: 64.6% (2013 est.)
    corn, wheat, pulses, sorghum, barley; livestock
    food, beverages, textiles, apparel assembly, handicrafts, construction, tourism
    0.8% (2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 151
    899,100 (2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 147
    agriculture: 86%
    industry and services: 14%
    note: most of the resident population is engaged in subsistence agriculture; roughly 35% of the active male wage earners work in South Africa (2002 est.)
    28.1% (2014 est.)
    25% (2008 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 184
    57.1% (2010 est.)
    lowest 10%: 1%
    highest 10%: 39.4% (2003)
    63.2 (1995)
    56 (1986-87)
    country comparison to the world: 1
    revenues: $1.161 billion
    expenditures: $1.256 billion (2015 est.)
    57% of GDP (2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 7
    -4.7% of GDP (2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 162
    53.4% of GDP (2015 est.)
    47.8% of GDP (2014)
    country comparison to the world: 72
    1 April - 31 March
    4.9% (2015 est.)
    5.9% (2014)
    country comparison to the world: 170
    6.75% (2 February 2016)
    6.25% (31 December 2015)
    country comparison to the world: 48
    10.5% (31 December 2015 est.)
    10.34% (31 December 2014 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 81
    $270.1 million (31 December 2015 est.)
    $209.8 million (31 December 2014 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 177
    $535.4 million (31 December 2015 est.)
    $569.1 million (31 December 2014 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 180
    $14.06 million (31 December 2015 est.)
    $14.77 million (31 December 2014 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 187
    -$54 million (2015 est.)
    -$176 million (2014 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 64
    $786.7 million (2015 est.)
    $815 million (2014 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 167
    manufactures (clothing, footwear), wool and mohair, food and live animals, electricity, water, diamonds
    $1.671 billion (2015 est.)
    $1.837 billion (2014 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 169
    food; building materials, vehicles, machinery, medicines, petroleum products
    $980.8 million (31 December 2015 est.)
    $1.071 billion (31 December 2014 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 131
    $900.4 million (31 December 2014 est.)
    $885.2 million (31 December 2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 167
    $427.4 million (31 December 2015 est.)
    $370.6 million (31 December 2014 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 115
    maloti (LSL) per US dollar -
    12.58 (2015 est.)
    10.85 (2014 est.)
    10.85 (2013 est.)
    8.2 (2012 est.)
    7.26 (2011 est.)
  • Energy :: LESOTHO

  • population without electricity: 1.7 million
    electrification - total population: 17 %
    electrification - urban areas: 43 %
    electrification - rural areas: 8 % (2013)
    486 million kWh (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 162
    707 million kWh (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 163
    0 kWh (2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 162
    255 million kWh (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 85
    80,000 kW (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 180
    0% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 214
    0% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 130
    100% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 1
    0% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 195
    0 bbl/day (2014 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 159
    0 bbl/day (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 152
    0 bbl/day (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 87
    0 bbl (1 January 2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 158
    0 bbl/day (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 203
    1,600 bbl/day (2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 192
    0 bbl/day (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 197
    1,553 bbl/day (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 187
    0 cu m (2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 214
    0 cu m (2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 165
    0 cu m (2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 136
    0 cu m (2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 93
    0 cu m (1 January 2014 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 162
    270,100 Mt (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 192
  • Communications :: LESOTHO

  • total subscriptions: 45,364
    subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 2 (July 2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 161
    total: 2.237 million
    subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 115 (July 2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 151
    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 now over 110 per 100 persons
    international: country code - 266; satellite earth station - 1 Intelsat (Atlantic Ocean) (2015)
    1 state-owned TV station and 2 state-owned radio stations; government controls most private broadcast media; satellite TV subscription service available; transmissions of multiple international broadcasters obtainable (2008)
    AM 1, FM 3, shortwave 1 (2007)
    1 (2007)
    .ls
    11,030 (2012)
    country comparison to the world: 131
    total: 313,000
    percent of population: 16.1% (July 2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 169
  • Transportation :: LESOTHO

  • 24 (2013)
    country comparison to the world: 132
    total: 3
    over 3,047 m: 1
    914 to 1,523 m: 1
    under 914 m: 1 (2013)
    total: 21
    914 to 1,523 m: 5
    under 914 m: 16 (2013)
    total: 5,940 km
    paved: 1,069 km
    unpaved: 4,871 km (2011)
    country comparison to the world: 151
  • Military and Security :: LESOTHO

  • Lesotho Defense Force (LDF): Army (includes Air Wing) (2012)
    18-24 years of age for voluntary military service; no conscription; women serve as commissioned officers (2012)
    1.94% of GDP (2012)
    2.3% of GDP (2011)
    1.94% of GDP (2010)
    country comparison to the world: 43
    Lesotho's declared policy for its military is the maintenance of the country's sovereignty and the preservation of internal security; in practice, external security is guaranteed by South Africa
  • Transnational Issues :: LESOTHO

  • South Africa has placed military units to assist police operations along the border of Lesotho, Zimbabwe, and Mozambique to control smuggling, poaching, and illegal migration
    current situation: Lesotho is a source, transit, and destination country for women and children subjected to forced labor and sex trafficking and for men subjected to forced labor; in Lesotho and South Africa, Basotho women and children are subjected to domestic servitude, and Basotho children increasingly endure commercial sexual exploitation; some Basotho men who voluntarily migrate to South Africa for work become victims of forced labor in agriculture and mining or are coerced into committing crimes; foreign nationals continue to traffic fellow citizens in Lesotho
    tier rating: Tier 2 Watch List – Lesotho does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; however, it is making significant efforts to do so; in 2014, Lesotho was granted a waiver from an otherwise required downgrade to Tier 3 because its government has a written plan that, if implemented would constitute making significant efforts to bring itself into compliance with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; the government failed to initiate any prosecutions against alleged traffickers and has not convicted any offenders under the 2011 anti-trafficking act, which remains unimplemented for a fifth year; authorities did not develop formal victim identification and referral procedures, did not establish victim care centers, as required under the 2011 anti-trafficking act, and did not support NGOs offering victims protective services (2015)