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Lesotho

 
Flag of Lesotho
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Coordinates:
29.50 S  28.50 E

 
 
Introduction  Geography  People  Government  Economy
 
Communications  Transportation  Military  Transnational Issues

Map of Lesotho

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Legend: DefinitionDefinition Field ListingField Listing Rank OrderRank Order
   Introduction    Lesotho Top of Page
Background:
Definition Field Listing
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 reinstated in 1995. Constitutional government was restored in 1993 after 7 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 Botswanan military forces under the aegis of the Southern African Development Community. Constitutional reforms have since restored political stability; peaceful parliamentary elections were held in 2002.
   Geography    Lesotho Top of Page
Location:
Definition Field Listing
Southern Africa, an enclave of South Africa
Geographic coordinates:
Definition Field Listing
29 30 S, 28 30 E
Map references:
Definition Field Listing
Africa
Area:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
total: 30,355 sq km
land: 30,355 sq km
water: 0 sq km
Area - comparative:
Definition Field Listing
slightly smaller than Maryland
Land boundaries:
Definition Field Listing
total: 909 km
border countries: South Africa 909 km
Coastline:
Definition Field Listing
0 km (landlocked)
Maritime claims:
Definition Field Listing
none (landlocked)
Climate:
Definition Field Listing
temperate; cool to cold, dry winters; hot, wet summers
Terrain:
Definition Field Listing
mostly highland with plateaus, hills, and mountains
Elevation extremes:
Definition Field Listing
lowest point: junction of the Orange and Makhaleng Rivers 1,400 m
highest point: Thabana Ntlenyana 3,482 m
Natural resources:
Definition Field Listing
water, agricultural and grazing land, diamonds, sand, clay, building stone
Land use:
Definition Field Listing
arable land: 10.87%
permanent crops: 0.13%
other: 89% (2005)
Irrigated land:
Definition Field Listing
30 sq km (2003)
Natural hazards:
Definition Field Listing
periodic droughts
Environment - current issues:
Definition Field Listing
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
Environment - international agreements:
Definition Field Listing
party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Marine Life Conservation, Ozone Layer Protection
signed, but not ratified: Law of the Sea
Geography - note:
Definition Field Listing
landlocked, completely surrounded by South Africa; mountainous, more than 80% of the country is 1,800 meters above sea level
   People    Lesotho Top of Page
Population:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
2,022,331
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 2006 est.)
Age structure:
Definition Field Listing
0-14 years: 36.8% (male 374,102/female 369,527)
15-64 years: 58.3% (male 572,957/female 606,846)
65 years and over: 4.9% (male 39,461/female 59,438) (2006 est.)
Median age:
Definition Field Listing
total: 20.3 years
male: 19.7 years
female: 21 years (2006 est.)
Population growth rate:
Definition Field Listing
-0.46% (2006 est.)
Birth rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
24.75 births/1,000 population (2006 est.)
Death rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
28.71 deaths/1,000 population (2006 est.)
Net migration rate:
Definition Field Listing
-0.68 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2006 est.)
Sex ratio:
Definition Field Listing
at birth: 1.03 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.01 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 0.94 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.66 male(s)/female
total population: 0.95 male(s)/female (2006 est.)
Infant mortality rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
total: 87.24 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 92.04 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 82.28 deaths/1,000 live births (2006 est.)
Life expectancy at birth:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
total population: 34.4 years
male: 35.55 years
female: 33.21 years (2006 est.)
Total fertility rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
3.28 children born/woman (2006 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
28.9% (2003 est.)
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
320,000 (2003 est.)
HIV/AIDS - deaths:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
29,000 (2003 est.)
Nationality:
Definition Field Listing
noun: Mosotho (singular), Basotho (plural)
adjective: Basotho
Ethnic groups:
Definition Field Listing
Sotho 99.7%, Europeans, Asians, and other 0.3%,
Religions:
Definition Field Listing
Christian 80%, indigenous beliefs 20%
Languages:
Definition Field Listing
Sesotho (southern Sotho), English (official), Zulu, Xhosa
Literacy:
Definition Field Listing
definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 84.8%
male: 74.5%
female: 94.5% (2003 est.)
   Government    Lesotho Top of Page
Country name:
Definition Field Listing
conventional long form: Kingdom of Lesotho
conventional short form: Lesotho
former: Basutoland
Government type:
Definition Field Listing
parliamentary constitutional monarchy
Capital:
Definition Field Listing
Maseru
Administrative divisions:
Definition Field Listing
10 districts; Berea, Butha-Buthe, Leribe, Mafeteng, Maseru, Mohale's Hoek, Mokhotlong, Qacha's Nek, Quthing, Thaba-Tseka
Independence:
Definition Field Listing
4 October 1966 (from UK)
National holiday:
Definition Field Listing
Independence Day, 4 October (1966)
Constitution:
Definition Field Listing
2 April 1993
Legal system:
Definition Field Listing
based on 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
Suffrage:
Definition Field Listing
18 years of age; universal
Executive branch:
Definition Field Listing
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 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
Legislative branch:
Definition Field Listing
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 direct popular vote and 40 by proportional vote; members elected by popular vote for five-year terms); note - number of seats in the Assembly rose from 80 to 120 in the May 2002 election
elections: last held 25 May 2002 (next to be held by May 2007)
election results: percent of vote by party - LCD 54%, BNP 21%, LPC 7%, other 18%; seats by party - LCD 76, BNP 21, LPC 5, other 18
Judicial branch:
Definition Field Listing
High Court (chief justice appointed by the monarch acting on the advice of the Prime Minister); Court of Appeal; Magistrate's Court; customary or traditional court
Political parties and leaders:
Definition Field Listing
Basotholand African Congress or BAC [Khauhelo RALITAPOLE]; Basotholand Congress Party or BCP [Ntsukunyane MPHANYA]; Basotho National Party or BNP [Maj. Gen. Justine Metsing LEKHANYA]; Kopanang Basotho Party or KPB [MOSALA]; Lesotho Congress for Democracy or LCD [Pakalitha MOSISILI] - the governing party; Lesotho Education Party or LEP [Thabo PITSO]; Lesotho People's Congress or LPC [Kelebone MAOPE]; Lesotho Workers Party of LWP [Macaefa BILLY]; Marematlou Freedom Party or MFP [Vincent MALEBO]; National Independent Party or NIP [Anthony MANYELI]; National Progressive Party or NPP [Chief Peete Nkoebe PEETE]; Popular Front for Democracy or PFD [Lekhetho RAKUOANE]; Sefate Democratic Union or SDU [Bofihla NKUEBE]; Social Democratic Party of SDP [Masitise SELESO]; United Democratic Party or UDP [C.D. MOFELI]; United Party or UP [Makara SEKAUTU]
Political pressure groups and leaders:
Definition Field Listing
NA
International organization participation:
Definition Field Listing
ACP, AfDB, AU, C, FAO, G-77, IBRD, ICAO, ICCt, ICRM, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, Interpol, IOC, ISO (subscriber), ITU, MIGA, NAM, OPCW, SACU, SADC, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNHCR, UNIDO, UPU, WCO, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WToO, WTO
Diplomatic representation in the US:
Definition Field Listing
chief of mission: Ambassador Molelekeng E. RAPOLAKI
chancery: 2511 Massachusetts Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20008
telephone: [1] (202) 797-5533 through 5536
FAX: [1] (202) 234-6815
Diplomatic representation from the US:
Definition Field Listing
chief of mission: Ambassador June Carter PERRY
embassy: 254 Kingsway, Maseru West (Consular Section)
mailing address: P. O. Box 333, Maseru 100, Lesotho
telephone: [266] 22 312666
FAX: [266] 22 310116
Flag description:
Definition Field Listing
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
   Economy    Lesotho Top of Page
Economy - overview:
Definition Field Listing
Small, landlocked, and mountainous, Lesotho relies on remittances from miners employed in South Africa and customs duties from the Southern Africa Customs Union 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 now permits the sale of water to South Africa, also generating royalties for Lesotho. 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 a rapidly expanding apparel-assembly sector. The latter has grown significantly, mainly due to Lesotho qualifying for the trade benefits contained in the Africa Growth and Opportunity Act. The economy is still primarily based on subsistence agriculture, especially livestock, 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.
GDP (purchasing power parity):
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
$5.124 billion (2005 est.)
GDP (official exchange rate):
Definition Field Listing
$1.362 billion (2005 est.)
GDP - real growth rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
0.8% (2005 est.)
GDP - per capita (PPP):
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
$2,500 (2005 est.)
GDP - composition by sector:
Definition Field Listing
agriculture: 16.3%
industry: 44.3%
services: 39.4% (2005 est.)
Labor force:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
838,000 (2000)
Labor force - by occupation:
Definition Field Listing
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%
Unemployment rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
45% (2002)
Population below poverty line:
Definition Field Listing
49% (1999)
Household income or consumption by percentage share:
Definition Field Listing
lowest 10%: 0.9%
highest 10%: 43.4%
Distribution of family income - Gini index:
Definition Field Listing
63.2 (1995)
Inflation rate (consumer prices):
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
4.7% (2005 est.)
Investment (gross fixed):
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
29.9% of GDP (2005 est.)
Budget:
Definition Field Listing
revenues: $738.5 million
expenditures: $792.1 million; including capital expenditures of $15 million (2005 est.)
Agriculture - products:
Definition Field Listing
corn, wheat, pulses, sorghum, barley; livestock
Industries:
Definition Field Listing
food, beverages, textiles, apparel assembly, handicrafts, construction, tourism
Industrial production growth rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
15.5% (1999)
Electricity - production:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
350 million kWh; note - electricity supplied by South Africa (2003)
Electricity - consumption:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
363.5 million kWh (2003)
Electricity - exports:
Definition Field Listing
0 kWh (2003)
Electricity - imports:
Definition Field Listing
38 million kWh; note - electricity supplied by South Africa (2003)
Oil - production:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
0 bbl/day (2003 est.)
Oil - consumption:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
1,400 bbl/day (2003)
Oil - exports:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
NA bbl/day
Oil - imports:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
NA bbl/day
Natural gas - production:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
0 cu m (2003 est.)
Natural gas - consumption:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
0 cu m (2003 est.)
Current account balance:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
-$92 million (2005 est.)
Exports:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
$602.8 million f.o.b. (2005 est.)
Exports - commodities:
Definition Field Listing
manufactures 75% (clothing, footwear, road vehicles), wool and mohair, food and live animals (2000)
Exports - partners:
Definition Field Listing
Hong Kong 43%, China 23.4%, India 5.5%, South Korea 5.1%, Germany 4.4% (2004)
Imports:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
$1.166 billion f.o.b. (2005 est.)
Imports - commodities:
Definition Field Listing
food; building materials, vehicles, machinery, medicines, petroleum products (2000)
Imports - partners:
Definition Field Listing
US 97%, Canada 2.1%, UK 0.3% (2004)
Reserves of foreign exchange and gold:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
$573 million (2005 est.)
Debt - external:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
$735 million (2002)
Economic aid - donor:
Definition Field Listing
ODA, $4.4 million
Economic aid - recipient:
Definition Field Listing
$41.5 million (2000)
Currency (code):
Definition Field Listing
loti (LSL); South African rand (ZAR)
Exchange rates:
Definition Field Listing
maloti per US dollar - 6.3593 (2005), 6.4597 (2004), 7.5648 (2003), 10.5407 (2002), 8.6092 (2001)
Fiscal year:
Definition Field Listing
1 April - 31 March
   Communications    Lesotho Top of Page
Telephones - main lines in use:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
37,200 (2004)
Telephones - mobile cellular:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
159,000 (2004)
Telephone system:
Definition Field Listing
general assessment: rudimentary system
domestic: consists of a modest but growing number of landlines, a small microwave radio relay system, and a minor radiotelephone communication system; a cellular mobile telephone system is growing
international: country code - 266; satellite earth station - 1 Intelsat (Atlantic Ocean)
Radio broadcast stations:
Definition Field Listing
AM 1, FM 2, shortwave 1 (1998)
Television broadcast stations:
Definition Field Listing
1 (2000)
Internet country code:
Definition Field Listing
.ls
Internet hosts:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
154 (2005)
Internet users:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
43,000 (2005)
   Transportation    Lesotho Top of Page
Airports:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
28 (2005)
Airports - with paved runways:
Definition Field Listing
total: 3
over 3,047 m: 1
914 to 1,523 m: 1
under 914 m: 1 (2005)
Airports - with unpaved runways:
Definition Field Listing
total: 25
914 to 1,523 m: 4
under 914 m: 21 (2005)
Roadways:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
total: 5,940 km
paved: 1,087 km
unpaved: 4,853 km (1999)
   Military    Lesotho Top of Page
Military branches:
Definition Field Listing
Lesotho Defense Force (LDF): Army and Air Wing
Military service age and obligation:
Definition Field Listing
18 years of age (est.); no conscription (2001)
Manpower available for military service:
Definition Field Listing
males age 18-49: 428,982
females age 18-49: 440,102 (2005 est.)
Manpower fit for military service:
Definition Field Listing
males age 18-49: 180,797
females age 18-49: 160,681 (2005 est.)
Military expenditures - dollar figure:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
$41.1 million (2005 est.)
Military expenditures - percent of GDP:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
2.1% (2005 est.)
Military - note:
Definition Field Listing
the Lesotho Government in 1999 began an open debate on the future structure, size, and role of the armed forces, especially considering the Lesotho Defense Force's (LDF) history of intervening in political affairs
   Transnational Issues    Lesotho Top of Page
Disputes - international:
Definition Field Listing
none

This page was last updated on 20 July, 2006


Source: CIA Factbook