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Lesotho (2001)

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Lesotho 2001 year

Administrative divisions 10 districts; Berea, Butha-Buthe, Leribe, Mafeteng, Maseru, Mohales Hoek, Mokhotlong, Qacha's Nek, Quthing, Thaba-Tseka
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.)
Agriculture - products corn, wheat, pulses, sorghum, barley; livestock
Airports 29 (2000 est.)
Airports - with paved runways total:

over 3,047 m:

914 to 1,523 m:

under 914 m:
2 (2000 est.)
Airports - with unpaved runways total:

914 to 1,523 m:

under 914 m:
21 (2000 est.)
Area total:
30,355 sq km

30,355 sq km

0 sq km
Area - comparative slightly smaller than Maryland
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.
Birth rate 31.24 births/1,000 population (2001 est.)
Budget revenues:
$76 million

$80 million, including capital expenditures of $15 million (FY99/00 est.)
Capital Maseru
Climate temperate; cool to cold, dry winters; hot, wet summers
Coastline 0 km (landlocked)
Constitution 2 April 1993
Country name conventional long form:
Kingdom of Lesotho

conventional short form:

Currency loti (LSL); South African rand (ZAR)
Death rate 15.7 deaths/1,000 population (2001 est.)
Debt - external $720 million (2000 est.)
Diplomatic representation from the US chief of mission:
Ambassador Katherine H. PETERSON

254 Kingsway, Maseru West (Consular Section)

mailing address:
P. O. Box 333, Maseru 100, Lesotho

[266] 312666

[266] 310116
Diplomatic representation in the US chief of mission:
Ambassador Lebohang Kenneth MOLEKO

2511 Massachusetts Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20008

[1] (202) 797-5533 through 5536

[1] (202) 234-6815
Disputes - international none
Economic aid - recipient $123.7 million (1995)
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.
Electricity - consumption 55 million kWh (1999)
Electricity - exports 0 kWh (1999)
Electricity - imports 55 million kWh

electricity supplied by South Africa (1999)
Electricity - production 0 kWh; note - electricity supplied by South Africa (1999)
Electricity - production by source fossil fuel:



0% (1999)
Elevation extremes lowest point:
junction of the Orange and Makhaleng Rivers 1,400 m

highest point:
Thabana Ntlenyana 3,482 m
Environment - 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
Environment - international agreements party to:
Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Hazardous Wastes, Marine Life Conservation, Ozone Layer Protection

signed, but not ratified:
Endangered Species, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping
Ethnic groups Sotho 99.7%, Europeans, Asians, and other 0.3%,
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
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)


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
Exports 0 kWh (1999)
Exports $175 million (f.o.b., 2000 est.)
Exports - commodities manufactures 75% (clothing, footwear, road vehicles), wool and mohair, food and live animals (1998)
Exports - partners South African Customs Union 65%, North America 34% (1998)
Fiscal year 1 April - 31 March
Flag description 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
GDP purchasing power parity - $5.1 billion (2000 est.)
GDP - composition by sector agriculture:


44% (1999)
GDP - per capita purchasing power parity - $2,400 (2000 est.)
GDP - real growth rate 2.5% (2000 est.)
Geographic coordinates 29 30 S, 28 30 E
Geography - note landlocked; surrounded by South Africa
Highways total:
4,955 km

887 km

4,068 km (1996)
Household income or consumption by percentage share lowest 10%:

highest 10%:
43.4% (1986-87)
Imports 55 million kWh

electricity supplied by South Africa (1999)
Imports $700 million (f.o.b., 2000 est.)
Imports - commodities food; building materials, vehicles, machinery, medicines, petroleum products (1995)
Imports - partners South African Customs Union 90%, Asia 7% (1998)
Independence 4 October 1966 (from UK)
Industrial production growth rate 15.5% (1999 est.)
Industries food, beverages, textiles, handicrafts; construction; tourism
Infant mortality rate 82.77 deaths/1,000 live births (2001 est.)
Inflation rate (consumer prices) 6% (2000 est.)
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
Internet Service Providers (ISPs) 1 (2000)
Irrigated land 30 sq km (1993 est.)
Judicial branch High Court (chief justice appointed by the monarch); Court of Appeal; Magistrate's Court; customary or traditional court
Labor force 700,000 economically active
Labor force - by occupation 86% of resident population engaged in subsistence agriculture; roughly 35% of the active male wage earners work in South Africa
Land boundaries total:
909 km

border countries:
South Africa 909 km
Land use arable land:

permanent crops:

permanent pastures:

forests and woodland:

23% (1993 est.)
Languages Sesotho (southern Sotho), English (official), Zulu, Xhosa
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
Legislative branch bicameral Parliament consists of the Senate (33 members - 22 principal chiefs and 11 other members appointed by the ruling party) and the Assembly (80 seats; members elected by popular vote for five-year terms); note - number of seats in the Assembly rose from 65 to 80 in the May 1998 election; on 28 February 2001, the Senate approved expansion of the Assembly by a further 50 seats in the next election, which may be held as early as January 2002

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

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.
Life expectancy at birth total population:
48.84 years

47.97 years

49.74 years (2001 est.)
Literacy definition:
age 15 and over can read and write

total population:


93% (1999 est.)
Location Southern Africa, an enclave of South Africa
Map references Africa
Maritime claims none (landlocked)
Military - note 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.
Military branches Lesotho Defense Force (LDF; includes Army and Air Wing), Royal Lesotho Mounted Police (RLMP)
Military expenditures - dollar figure $34 million (1999)
Military expenditures - percent of GDP NA%
Military manpower - availability males age 15-49:
515,464 (2001 est.)
Military manpower - fit for military service males age 15-49:
277,369 (2001 est.)
National holiday Independence Day, 4 October (1966)
Nationality noun:
Mosotho (singular), Basotho (plural)

Natural hazards periodic droughts
Natural resources water, agricultural and grazing land, some diamonds and other minerals
Net migration rate -0.63 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2001 est.)
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]
Political pressure groups and leaders NA
Population 2,177,062

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.)
Population below poverty line 49.2% (1999 est.)
Population growth rate 1.49% (2001 est.)
Ports and harbors none
Radio broadcast stations AM 1, FM 2, shortwave 1 (1998)
Radios 104,000 (1997)
Railways 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)
Religions Christian 80%, indigenous beliefs 20%
Sex ratio at birth:
1.03 male(s)/female

under 15 years:
1.01 male(s)/female

15-64 years:
0.93 male(s)/female

65 years and over:
0.73 male(s)/female

total population:
0.95 male(s)/female (2001 est.)
Suffrage 18 years of age; universal
Telephone system general assessment:
rudimentary system

consists of a few landlines, a small microwave radio relay system, and a minor radiotelephone communication system

satellite earth station - 1 Intelsat (Atlantic Ocean)
Telephones - main lines in use 20,000 (1997)
Telephones - mobile cellular 1,262 (1996)
Television broadcast stations 1 (2000)
Terrain mostly highland with plateaus, hills, and mountains
Total fertility rate 4.08 children born/woman (2001 est.)
Unemployment rate 45% (2000 est.)
Waterways none
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