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Lesotho (2003)

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Lesotho 2003 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: 37.7% (male 353,554; female 349,092)

15-64 years: 56.8% (male 516,017; female 541,694)

65 years and over: 5.5% (male 41,735; female 59,867) (2003 est.)
Agriculture - products corn, wheat, pulses, sorghum, barley; livestock
Airports 28 (2002)
Airports - with paved runways total: 4

over 3,047 m: 1

914 to 1,523 m: 1

under 914 m: 2 (2002)
Airports - with unpaved runways total: 24

914 to 1,523 m: 4

under 914 m: 20 (2002)
Area total: 30,355 sq km

land: 30,355 sq km

water: 0 sq km
Area - comparative slightly smaller than Maryland
Background Basutoland was renamed the Kingdom of Lesotho upon independence from the UK in 1966. King MOSHOESHOE was exiled in 1990. Constitutional government was restored in 1993 after 23 years of military rule. In 1998, violent protests and a military mutiny following a contentious election prompted a brief but bloody South African military intervention. Constitutional reforms have since restored political stability; peaceful parliamentary elections were held in 2002.
Birth rate 27.26 births/1,000 population (2003 est.)
Budget revenues: $76 million

expenditures: $80 million, including capital expenditures of $15 million (FY 99/00 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: Lesotho

former: Basutoland
Currency loti (LSL); South African rand (ZAR)
Death rate 24.58 deaths/1,000 population (2003 est.)
Debt - external $735 million (2002)
Diplomatic representation from the US chief of mission: Ambassador Robert G. LOFTIS

embassy: 254 Kingsway, Maseru West (Consular Section)

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

telephone: [266] 312666

FAX: [266] 310116
Diplomatic representation in the US 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
Disputes - international none
Economic aid - donor ODA $4.4 million
Economic aid - recipient $41.5 million (2000)
Economy - overview 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, but the government has 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 and a rapidly growing apparel-assembly sector. 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.
Electricity - consumption 40 million kWh (2001)
Electricity - exports 0 kWh (2001)
Electricity - imports 40 million kWh; note - electricity supplied by South Africa (2001)
Electricity - production 0 kWh NA kWh; note - electricity supplied by South Africa (2001)
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 - 10.54 (2002), 8.61 (2001), 6.94 (2000), 6.11 (1999), 5.53 (1998)
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)

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 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 (2001)
Exports $422 million f.o.b. (2002 est.)
Exports NA (2001)
Exports - commodities manufactures 75% (clothing, footwear, road vehicles), wool and mohair, food and live animals (2000)
Exports - partners US 97.5%, Canada 0.9%, France 0.6% (2002)
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 - $5.106 billion (2002 est.)
GDP - composition by sector agriculture: 20%

industry: 46%

services: 34% (2001)
GDP - per capita purchasing power parity - $2,700 (2002 est.)
GDP - real growth rate 4% (2002 est.)
Geographic coordinates 29 30 S, 28 30 E
Geography - note landlocked, completely surrounded by South Africa; mountainous, more than 80% of the country is 1,800 meters above sea level
Highways total: 5,940 km

paved: 1,087 km

unpaved: 4,853 km (1999)
Household income or consumption by percentage share lowest 10%: 0.9%

highest 10%: 43.4%
Imports 40 million kWh; note - electricity supplied by South Africa (2001)
Imports $738 million f.o.b. (2002 est.)
Imports NA (2001)
Imports - commodities food; building materials, vehicles, machinery, medicines, petroleum products (2000)
Imports - partners Hong Kong 51.9%, China 25%, France 3.9% (2002)
Independence 4 October 1966 (from UK)
Industrial production growth rate 15.5% (1999)
Industries food, beverages, textiles, apparel assembly, handicrafts; construction; tourism
Infant mortality rate total: 86.21 deaths/1,000 live births

male: 91.28 deaths/1,000 live births

female: 80.99 deaths/1,000 live births (2003 est.)
Inflation rate (consumer prices) 10% (2002 est.)
Internet Service Providers (ISPs) 1 (2000)
Irrigated land 10 sq km (1998 est.)
Judicial branch High Court (chief justice appointed by the monarch); Court of Appeal; Magistrate's Court; customary or traditional court
Labor force 838,000
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: 10.71%

permanent crops: 0%

other: 89.29% (1998 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 (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 NA 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
Life expectancy at birth total population: 36.94 years

male: 36.76 years

female: 37.13 years (2003 est.)
Literacy definition: age 15 and over can read and write

total population: 84.8%

male: 74.5%

female: 94.5% (2003 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; including Army and Air Wing), Royal Lesotho Mounted Police
Military expenditures - dollar figure $34 million (1999)
Military expenditures - percent of GDP NA%
Military manpower - availability males age 15-49: 459,723 (2003 est.)
Military manpower - fit for military service males age 15-49: 250,560 (2003 est.)
National holiday Independence Day, 4 October (1966)
Nationality noun: Mosotho (singular), Basotho (plural)

adjective: Basotho
Natural hazards periodic droughts
Natural resources water, agricultural and grazing land, some diamonds and other minerals
Net migration rate -0.74 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2003 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; Pakalitha MOSISILI, leader] - the governing party; Lesotho People's Congress or LPC [Kelebone MAOPE]; 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 1,861,959

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 2003 est.)
Population below poverty line 49% (1999)
Population growth rate 0.19% (2003 est.)
Ports and harbors none
Radio broadcast stations AM 1, FM 2, shortwave 1 (1998)
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: 0.95 male(s)/female

65 years and over: 0.7 male(s)/female

total population: 0.96 male(s)/female (2003 est.)
Suffrage 18 years of age; universal
Telephone system general assessment: rudimentary system

domestic: consists of a few landlines, a small microwave radio relay system, and a minor radiotelephone communication system; a cellular mobile telephone system is growing

international: satellite earth station - 1 Intelsat (Atlantic Ocean)
Telephones - main lines in use 22,200 (2000)
Telephones - mobile cellular 21,600 (2000)
Television broadcast stations 1 (2000)
Terrain mostly highland with plateaus, hills, and mountains
Total fertility rate 3.52 children born/woman (2003 est.)
Unemployment rate 45% (2002)
Waterways none
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