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Geography

People and Society

Government

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Transportation

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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.


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Economy

Economy - overview
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 3.6% in 2010 and 5.2% in 2011.

Gdp (purchasing power parity) World Ranking: 173
$3.853 billion (2011 est.)
$3.697 billion (2010 est.)
$3.497 billion (2009 est.)
Note Data are in 2011 US dollars

Gdp (official exchange rate)
$2.453 billion (2011 est.)

Gdp - real growth rate World Ranking: 88
4.2% (2011 est.)
5.7% (2010 est.)
3.6% (2009 est.)

Gdp - per capita (ppp) World Ranking: 190
$2,000 (2011 est.)
$1,900 (2010 est.)
$1,800 (2009 est.)
Note Data are in 2011 US dollars

Gdp - composition by sector
Agriculture 7.5%
Industry 33.1%
Services 59.4% (2011 est.)

Labor force World Ranking: 146
854,600 (2007 est.)

Labor force - by occupation
Agriculture 86%
Industry and services 14%
Note
Most of resident population engaged in subsistence agriculture; roughly 35% of the active male wage earners work in South Africa (2002 est.)

Unemployment rate World Ranking: 189
45% (2002)

Population below poverty line
49% (1999)

Household income or consumption by percentage share
Lowest 10% 1%
Highest 10% 39.4% (2003)

Distribution of family income - gini index World Ranking: 3
63.2 (1995)
56 (1986-87)

Investment (gross fixed) World Ranking: 7
38.8% of GDP (2011 est.)

Budget
Revenues $1.267 billion
Expenditures $1.57 billion (2011 est.)

Taxes and other revenues World Ranking: 15
51.7% of GDP (2011 est.)

Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-) World Ranking: 205
-12.4% of GDP (2011 est.)

Inflation rate (consumer prices) World Ranking: 128
5% (2011 est.)
3.6% (2010 est.)

Central bank discount rate World Ranking: 26
10% (31 December 2010 est.)
10.66% (31 December 2009 est.)

Commercial bank prime lending rate World Ranking: 74
10.43% (31 December 2011 est.)
11.2% (31 December 2010 est.)

Stock of narrow money World Ranking: 169
$346.5 million (31 December 2011 est.)
$752.3 million (31 December 2010 est.)

Stock of broad money World Ranking: 170
$820.4 million (31 December 2011 est.)
$1.057 billion (31 December 2010 est.)

Stock of domestic credit World Ranking: 187
$82.19 million (31 December 2011 est.)
$60.61 million (31 December 2010 est.)

Agriculture - products
Corn, wheat, pulses, sorghum, barley; livestock

Industries
Food, beverages, textiles, apparel assembly, handicrafts, construction, tourism

Industrial production growth rate World Ranking: 99
3% (2010 est.)

Electricity - production World Ranking: 176
200 million kWh (2008 est.)

Electricity - consumption World Ranking: 177
236 million kWh (2008 est.)

Electricity - exports
0 kWh (2009 est.)

Electricity - imports
107 million kWh; note - electricity supplied by South Africa (2009 est.)

Oil - production World Ranking: 190
0 bbl/day (2010 est.)

Oil - consumption World Ranking: 186
2,000 bbl/day (2010 est.)

Oil - exports World Ranking: 171
0 bbl/day (2009 est.)

Oil - imports World Ranking: 183
1,690 bbl/day (2009 est.)

Oil - proved reserves World Ranking: 153
0 bbl (1 January 2011 est.)

Natural gas - production World Ranking: 204
0 cu m (2009 est.)

Natural gas - consumption World Ranking: 197
0 cu m (2009 est.)

Natural gas - exports World Ranking: 132
0 cu m (2009 est.)

Natural gas - imports World Ranking: 86
0 cu m (2009 est.)

Natural gas - proved reserves World Ranking: 196
0 cu m (1 January 2011 est.)

Current account balance World Ranking: 106
-$527 million (2011 est.)
-$421.4 million (2010 est.)

Exports World Ranking: 156
$1.01 billion (2011 est.)
$851.8 million (2010 est.)

Exports - commodities
Manufactures 75% (clothing, footwear, road vehicles), wool and mohair, food and live animals

Exports - partners
US 58.4%, Belgium 34%, Canada 3.7% (2008)

Imports World Ranking: 155
$2.29 billion (2011 est.)
$1.998 billion (2010 est.)

Imports - commodities
Food; building materials, vehicles, machinery, medicines, petroleum products

Imports - partners
South Korea 26.9%, China 23.1%, Taiwan 22.1%, Hong Kong 6.6%, US 4.4% (2008)

Reserves of foreign exchange and gold World Ranking: 128
$1.1 billion (31 December 2011 est.)
$1.012 billion (31 December 2010 est.)

Debt - external World Ranking: 159
$729.9 million (31 December 2011 est.)
$703.8 million (31 December 2010 est.)

Stock of direct foreign investment - at home World Ranking: 98
$120 million

Exchange rates
Maloti (LSL) per US dollar -
7.2611 (2011 est.)
7.32 (2010 est.)
8.47 (2009)
7.75 (2008)
7.25 (2007)

Fiscal year
1 April - 31 March


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  Lesotho (Maseru):


  GPS points from Lesotho (Maseru)

Makoyang Mohale's Hoek District

Morimoholo River Lesotho (general)

Phutiatsana River Lesotho (general)

Mont Royal Lesotho (general)


Meta Lesotho (general)

Qulu Lesotho (general)

Mofokas Lesotho (general)




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