Lesotho - Economic Indicators

Economic Overview

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 85% of the goods it consumes from South Africa, including most...

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GDP Reference Last Previous Units Frequency
Nominal Fixed Investment (gross fixed capital formation) 2016 8,072,839,800 8,329,992,200 NCU Annual
Real Investment 2016 7,690,595,300 7,651,277,200 NCU Annual
Real Fixed Investment (gross fixed capital formation) 2016 6,550,049,800 6,982,405,800 NCU Annual
Private Consumption 2016 31,542,149,955 25,607,842,347 LSL Annual
Nominal Gross Domestic Product 2016 33,309,534,152 30,386,856,813 LSL Annual
Investment 2016 9,304,007,493 8,475,825,411 LSL Annual
Real Gross Domestic Product 2014 118.27 114.11 Index 2005=100 Annual
Government Consumption 2013 7,525 7,361 Mil. LSM Annual
Price Reference Last Previous Units Frequency
Consumer Price Index (CPI) Sep 2018 149.84 149.16 2010=100, NSA Monthly
Labor Reference Last Previous Units Frequency
Unemployment Rate 2017 27.25 27.78 % of total labor force Annual
Agriculture Employment 2017 99,937 100,675 # Annual
Labor Force 2016 942,645 926,234 # Annual
Total Employment 2011 669,347 679,682 ages 15+ Annual
Trade Reference Last Previous Units Frequency
Exports of Goods 2018 Q1 331,195,011 263,294,137 USD, NSA Quarterly
Current Account Balance 2018 Q1 9,138,143 -40,413,247 USD, NSA Quarterly
Imports of Goods 2018 Q1 526,002,010 466,213,103 USD, NSA Quarterly
Balance of Goods 2018 Q1 -194,806,998 -202,918,965 USD, NSA Quarterly
Real Exports of Goods and Services 2016 8,638,406,300 8,015,982,400 NCU Annual
Real Imports of Goods and Services 2016 21,937,252,000 21,770,929,700 NCU Annual
Exports of Goods and Services 2016 13,680,560,000 13,539,730,000 LSL Annual
Imports of Goods and Services 2016 31,263,447,303 27,175,426,307 LSL Annual
Government Reference Last Previous Units Frequency
Government Revenues 2017 14,566,707,253 13,184,689,367 NCU Annual
Government Budget Balance 2011 -1,896,000,000 -823,500,000 current LCU Annual
Markets Reference Last Previous Units Frequency
Treasury Bills (over 31 days) Aug 2018 6.54 6.59 % p.a., NSA Monthly
Lending Rate Mar 2013 9.3 9.36 % - End of period Monthly
Demographics Reference Last Previous Units Frequency
Net Migration 2017 -19,998 # Annual
Population 2017 2,233,339 2,203,821 # Annual
Birth Rate 2016 27.87 28.16 # per Ths. pop. Annual
Death Rate 2016 12.7 12.92 # per Ths. pop. Annual

Factbook

Background

Background:
Basutoland was renamed the Kingdom of Lesotho upon independence from the UK in 1966. The Basutho 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 in 2007 were hotly contested and aggrieved parties disputed how the electoral law was applied to award proportional seats in the Assembly. In 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

Location:
Southern Africa, an enclave of South Africa
Geographic coordinates:
29 30 S, 28 30 E
Map references:
Africa
Area:
total: 30,355 sq km
land: 30,355 sq km
water: 0 sq km
country comparison to the world: 142
Area - comparative:
slightly smaller than Maryland
Land boundaries:
total: 1,106 km
border countries (1): South Africa 1,106 km
Coastline:
0 km (landlocked)
Maritime claims:
none (landlocked)
Climate:
temperate; cool to cold, dry winters; hot, wet summers
Terrain:
mostly highland with plateaus, hills, and mountains
Elevation:
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
Natural resources:
water, agricultural and grazing land, diamonds, sand, clay, building stone
Land use:
agricultural land: 76.1%
arable land 10.1%; permanent crops 0.1%; permanent pasture 65.9%
forest: 1.5%
other: 22.4% (2011 est.)
Irrigated land:
30 sq km (2012)
Population - distribution:
relatively higher population density in the western half of the nation, with the capital of Maseru, and the smaller cities of Mafeteng, Teyateyaneng, and Leribe attracting the most people
Natural hazards:
periodic droughts
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, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Life Conservation, Ozone Layer Protection, Wetlands
signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements
Geography - note:
landlocked, completely surrounded by South Africa; mountainous, more than 80% of the country is 1,800 m above sea level

People & Society

Population:
1,958,042
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 2017 est.)
country comparison to the world: 148
Nationality:
noun: Mosotho (singular), Basotho (plural)
adjective: Basotho
Ethnic groups:
Sotho 99.7%, Europeans, Asians, and other 0.3%
Languages:
Sesotho (official) (southern Sotho), English (official), Zulu, Xhosa
Religions:
Christian 80%, indigenous beliefs 20%
Demographic profile:
Lesotho faces great socioeconomic challenges. More than half of its population lives below the property line, and the country’s HIV/AIDS prevalence rate is the second highest in the world. In addition, Lesotho is a small, mountainous, landlocked country with little arable land, leaving its population vulnerable to food shortages and reliant on remittances. Lesotho’s persistently high infant, child, and maternal mortality rates have been increasing during the last decade, according to the last two Demographic and Health Surveys. Despite these significant shortcomings, Lesotho has made good progress in education; it is on-track to achieve universal primary education and has one of the highest adult literacy rates in Africa.
Lesotho’s migration history is linked to its unique geography; it is surrounded by South Africa with which it shares linguistic and cultural traits. Lesotho at one time had more of its workforce employed outside its borders than any other country. Today remittances equal about 17% of its GDP. With few job options at home, a high rate of poverty, and higher wages available across the border, labor migration to South Africa replaced agriculture as the prevailing Basotho source of income decades ago. The majority of Basotho migrants were single men contracted to work as gold miners in South Africa. However, migration trends changed in the 1990s, and fewer men found mining jobs in South Africa because of declining gold prices, stricter immigration policies, and a preference for South African workers.
Although men still dominate cross-border labor migration, more women are working in South Africa, mostly as domestics, because they are widows or their husbands are unemployed. Internal rural-urban flows have also become more frequent, with more women migrating within the country to take up jobs in the garment industry or moving to care for loved ones with HIV/AIDS. Lesotho’s small population of immigrants is increasingly composed of Taiwanese and Chinese migrants who are involved in the textile industry and small retail businesses.
Age structure:
0-14 years: 32.12% (male 316,106/female 312,869)
15-24 years: 19.43% (male 181,481/female 199,039)
25-54 years: 37.94% (male 362,798/female 380,001)
55-64 years: 5.01% (male 52,293/female 45,828)
65 years and over: 5.5% (male 55,163/female 52,464) (2017 est.)
population pyramid:
Dependency ratios:
total dependency ratio: 66.9
youth dependency ratio: 59.5
elderly dependency ratio: 7.4
potential support ratio: 13.5 (2015 est.)
Median age:
total: 24.2 years
male: 24.2 years
female: 24.2 years (2017 est.)
country comparison to the world: 164
Population growth rate:
0.28% (2017 est.)
country comparison to the world: 173
Birth rate:
24.6 births/1,000 population (2017 est.)
country comparison to the world: 50
Death rate:
15 deaths/1,000 population (2017 est.)
country comparison to the world: 1
Net migration rate:
-6.8 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2017 est.)
country comparison to the world: 203
Population distribution:
relatively higher population density in the western half of the nation, with the capital of Maseru, and the smaller cities of Mafeteng, Teyateyaneng, and Leribe attracting the most people
Urbanization:
urban population: 28.4% of total population (2017)
rate of urbanization: 2.85% annual rate of change (2015-20 est.)
Major urban areas - population:
MASERU (capital) 267,000 (2014)
Sex ratio:
at birth: 1.02 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: 0.98 male(s)/female (2017 est.)
Mother's mean age at first birth:
21 years
note: median age at first birth among women 25-29 (2014 est.)
Maternal mortality ratio:
487 deaths/100,000 live births (2015 est.)
country comparison to the world: 22
Infant mortality rate:
total: 46.1 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 49.7 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 42.4 deaths/1,000 live births (2017 est.)
country comparison to the world: 37
Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 53 years
male: 53 years
female: 53.1 years (2017 est.)
country comparison to the world: 216
Total fertility rate:
2.63 children born/woman (2017 est.)
country comparison to the world: 74
Contraceptive prevalence rate:
60.2% (2014)
Health expenditures:
10.6% of GDP (2014)
country comparison to the world: 19
Drinking water source:
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.)
Sanitation facility access:
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.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:
25% (2016 est.)
country comparison to the world: 2
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:
330,000 (2016 est.)
country comparison to the world: 19
HIV/AIDS - deaths:
9,900 (2016 est.)
country comparison to the world: 21
Obesity - adult prevalence rate:
16.6% (2016)
country comparison to the world: 122
Children under the age of 5 years underweight:
10.3% (2014)
country comparison to the world: 54
Education expenditures:
11.4% of GDP (2008)
country comparison to the world: 1
Literacy:
definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 79.4%
male: 70.1%
female: 88.3% (2015 est.)
School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education):
total: 11 years
male: 10 years
female: 11 years (2014)
Unemployment, youth ages 15-24:
total: 34.4%
male: NA
female: NA (2013 est.)
country comparison to the world: 26

Government

Country name:
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"
Government type:
parliamentary constitutional monarchy
Capital:
name: Maseru
geographic coordinates: 29 19 S, 27 29 E
time difference: UTC+2 (7 hours ahead of Washington, DC, during Standard Time)
Administrative divisions:
10 districts; Berea, Butha-Buthe, Leribe, Mafeteng, Maseru, Mohale's Hoek, Mokhotlong, Qacha's Nek, Quthing, Thaba-Tseka
Independence:
4 October 1966 (from the UK)
National holiday:
Independence Day, 4 October (1966)
Constitution:
history: previous 1959, 1967; latest adopted 2 April 1993 (effectively restoring the 1967 version)
amendments: proposed by Parliament; passage of amendments affecting constitutional provisions including fundamental rights and freedoms, sovereignty of the kingdom, the office of the king, and powers of Parliament requires a majority vote by the National Assembly, approval by the Senate, approval in a referendum by a majority of qualified voters, and assent by the king; passage of amendments other than those specified provisions requires at least a two-thirds majority vote in both Parliament houses; amended several times, last in 2011 (2017)
Legal system:
mixed legal system of English common law and Roman-Dutch law; judicial review of legislative acts in High Court and Court of Appeal
International law organization participation:
accepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction with reservations; accepts ICCt jurisdiction
Citizenship:
citizenship by birth: yes
citizenship by descent: yes
dual citizenship recognized: no
residency requirement for naturalization: 5 years
Suffrage:
18 years of age; universal
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 Thomas Motsoahae THABANE (since 16 June 2017)
cabinet: consists of the Prime Minister, appointed by the King on the advice of the Council of State, and 25 other Ministers
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
Legislative branch:
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 elected through proportional representation; members serve 5-year terms)
elections: last held on 3 June 2017 (next to be held in 2022)
election results: National Assembly - percent of votes by party - ABC 40.5%, DC 25.8%, LCD 9.0%, AD 7.3%, MEC 5.1%, BNP 4.1, PFD 2.3%, other 5.9%; seats by party - ABC 48, DC 30, LCD 11, AD 9, MEC 6, BNP 5, PFD 3, other 5, vacant 3
Judicial branch:
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; military courts
Political parties and leaders:
All Basotho Convention or ABC [Thomas Motsoahae THABANE]
Alliance of Democrats or AD [Monyane MOLELEKI]
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 [Mabusetsa MAKHARILELE]
Marematlou Freedom Party or MFP [Tlhoriso LEKATSA]
Movement of Economic Change or MEC [Selibe MOCHOBOROANE]
National Independent Party or NIP [Kimetso MATHABA]
Popular Front for Democracy of PFD [Lekhetho RAKUOANE]
Reformed Congress of Lesotho or RCL [Keketso RANTSO]
Truth Reconciliation Unity or TRU [Tlali KHASU]
Political pressure groups and leaders:
Media Institute of Southern Africa or MISA, Lesotho chapter [Tsebo MAT?ASA] (media freedom advocates)
International organization participation:
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
Diplomatic representation in the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador Eliachim Molapi SEBATANE (since 18 January 2012)
chancery: 2511 Massachusetts Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20008
telephone: [1] (202) 797-5533
FAX: [1] (202) 234-6815
Diplomatic representation from the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador Rebecca E. GONZALES (since 8 February 2018)
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
Flag description:
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
National symbol(s):
mokorotio (Basotho hat); national colors: blue, white, green, black
National anthem:
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

Economy - overview:
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 85% 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 26% of total GDP in 2016; however, SACU revenues are volatile and expected to decline over the next 5 years. Lesotho also gains royalties from the South African Government 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 about 26% of GDP in 2017. The government remains Lesotho's largest employer; in 2016, the government wage bill rose to 23% of GDP – the largest in sub-Saharan Africa. 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 accounted for nearly 35% of total exports in 2015. Lesotho managed steady GDP growth at an average of 4.5% from 2010 to 2014, dropping to about 2.5% in 2015-16, but poverty remains widespread around 57% of the total population.
GDP (purchasing power parity):
$7.448 billion (2017 est.)
$7.118 billion (2016 est.)
$6.954 billion (2015 est.)
note: data are in 2017 dollars
country comparison to the world: 167
GDP (official exchange rate):
$2.721 billion (2017 est.)
GDP - real growth rate:
4.6% (2017 est.)
2.4% (2016 est.)
2.5% (2015 est.)
country comparison to the world: 50
GDP - per capita (PPP):
$3,900 (2017 est.)
$3,700 (2016 est.)
$3,600 (2015 est.)
note: data are in 2017 dollars
country comparison to the world: 179
Gross national saving:
20.3% of GDP (2017 est.)
21% of GDP (2016 est.)
23.8% of GDP (2015 est.)
country comparison to the world: 87
GDP - composition, by end use:
household consumption: 69.2%
government consumption: 26.4%
investment in fixed capital: 31.4%
investment in inventories: -13.4%
exports of goods and services: 40.8%
imports of goods and services: -54.4% (2017 est.)
GDP - composition, by sector of origin:
agriculture: 5.3%
industry: 34.6%
services: 60.1% (2017 est.)
Agriculture - products:
corn, wheat, pulses, sorghum, barley; livestock
Industries:
food, beverages, textiles, apparel assembly, handicrafts, construction, tourism
Industrial production growth rate:
8.2% (2017 est.)
country comparison to the world: 17
Labor force:
930,800 (2017 est.)
country comparison to the world: 149
Labor force - by occupation:
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.)
Unemployment rate:
28.1% (2014 est.)
25% (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 203
Population below poverty line:
57% (2016 est.)
Household income or consumption by percentage share:
lowest 10%: 1%
highest 10%: 39.4% (2003 est.)
Distribution of family income - Gini index:
63.2 (1995 est.)
56 (1986-87 est.)
country comparison to the world: 1
Budget:
revenues: $1.057 billion
expenditures: $1.16 billion (2017 est.)
Taxes and other revenues:
38.8% of GDP (2017 est.)
country comparison to the world: 40
Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-):
-3.8% of GDP (2017 est.)
country comparison to the world: 139
Public debt:
47.8% of GDP (2016 est.)
49.5% of GDP (2015 est.)
country comparison to the world: 106
Fiscal year:
1 April - 31 March
Inflation rate (consumer prices):
6.6% (2017 est.)
6.4% (2016 est.)
country comparison to the world: 190
Central bank discount rate:
6.75% (2 February 2016 est.)
6.25% (31 December 2015 est.)
country comparison to the world: 53
Commercial bank prime lending rate:
12% (31 December 2017 est.)
11.58% (31 December 2016 est.)
country comparison to the world: 67
Stock of narrow money:
$301.5 million (31 December 2017 est.)
$356.3 million (31 December 2016 est.)
country comparison to the world: 179
Stock of broad money:
$703.2 million (31 December 2017 est.)
$725.2 million (31 December 2016 est.)
country comparison to the world: 178
Stock of domestic credit:
$225.4 million (31 December 2017 est.)
$230.9 million (31 December 2016 est.)
country comparison to the world: 182
Current account balance:
$-232 million (2017 est.)
$-174 million (2016 est.)
country comparison to the world: 91
Exports:
$1.031 billion (2017 est.)
$894 million (2016 est.)
country comparison to the world: 156
Exports - commodities:
manufactures (clothing, footwear), wool and mohair, food and live animals, electricity, water, diamonds
Exports - partners:
South Africa 56.5%, US 35.4% (2016)
Imports:
$1.718 billion (2017 est.)
$1.613 billion (2016 est.)
country comparison to the world: 165
Imports - commodities:
food; building materials, vehicles, machinery, medicines, petroleum products
Imports - partners:
South Africa 84.5% (2016)
Reserves of foreign exchange and gold:
$983 million (31 December 2017 est.)
$925.2 million (31 December 2016 est.)
country comparison to the world: 126
Debt - external:
$952.5 million (31 December 2017 est.)
$921.3 million (31 December 2016 est.)
country comparison to the world: 168
Stock of direct foreign investment - at home:
$532.5 million (31 December 2017 est.)
$456.5 million (31 December 2016 est.)
country comparison to the world: 123
Exchange rates:
maloti (LSL) per US dollar -
14.48 (2017 est.)
14.71 (2016 est.)
14.71 (2015 est.)
12.76 (2014 est.)
10.85 (2013 est.)

Energy

Electricity access:
population without electricity: 1,700,000
electrification - total population: 17%
electrification - urban areas: 43%
electrification - rural areas: 8% (2013)
Electricity - production:
600 million kWh (2015 est.)
country comparison to the world: 166
Electricity - consumption:
763 million kWh (2015 est.)
country comparison to the world: 163
Electricity - exports:
0 kWh (2016 est.)
country comparison to the world: 161
Electricity - imports:
205 million kWh (2015 est.)
country comparison to the world: 92
Electricity - installed generating capacity:
80,000 kW (2015 est.)
country comparison to the world: 184
Electricity - from fossil fuels:
0% of total installed capacity (2015 est.)
country comparison to the world: 215
Electricity - from nuclear fuels:
0% of total installed capacity (2015 est.)
country comparison to the world: 130
Electricity - from hydroelectric plants:
100% of total installed capacity (2015 est.)
country comparison to the world: 1
Electricity - from other renewable sources:
0% of total installed capacity (2015 est.)
country comparison to the world: 195
Crude oil - production:
0 bbl/day (2016 est.)
country comparison to the world: 161
Crude oil - exports:
0 bbl/day (2014 est.)
country comparison to the world: 154
Crude oil - imports:
0 bbl/day (2014 est.)
country comparison to the world: 150
Crude oil - proved reserves:
0 bbl (1 January 2017 est.)
country comparison to the world: 158
Refined petroleum products - production:
0 bbl/day (2014 est.)
country comparison to the world: 165
Refined petroleum products - consumption:
5,000 bbl/day (2015 est.)
country comparison to the world: 178
Refined petroleum products - exports:
0 bbl/day (2014 est.)
country comparison to the world: 172
Refined petroleum products - imports:
5,121 bbl/day (2014 est.)
country comparison to the world: 166
Natural gas - production:
0 cu m (2013 est.)
country comparison to the world: 161
Natural gas - consumption:
0 cu m (2013 est.)
country comparison to the world: 202
Natural gas - exports:
0 cu m (2013 est.)
country comparison to the world: 139
Natural gas - imports:
0 cu m (2013 est.)
country comparison to the world: 148
Natural gas - proved reserves:
0 cu m (1 January 2014 est.)
country comparison to the world: 163
Carbon dioxide emissions from consumption of energy:
300,000 Mt (2013 est.)
country comparison to the world: 189

Communications

Telephones - fixed lines:
total subscriptions: 41,158
subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 2 (July 2016 est.)
country comparison to the world: 161
Telephones - mobile cellular:
total: 2,282,917
subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 117 (July 2016 est.)
country comparison to the world: 149
Telephone system:
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: Econet Telecom Lesotho provides telecom services; fixed-line density is low; mobile-cellular service dominates the market with a subscribership now over 115 per 100 persons
international: country code - 266; satellite earth station - 1 Intelsat (Atlantic Ocean) (2016)
Broadcast media:
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)
Internet country code:
.ls
Internet users:
total: 534,360
percent of population: 27.4% (July 2016 est.)
country comparison to the world: 150

Transportation

Civil aircraft registration country code prefix:
7P (2016)
Airports:
24 (2013)
country comparison to the world: 132
Airports - with paved runways:
total: 3
over 3,047 m: 1
914 to 1,523 m: 1
under 914 m: 1 (2017)
Airports - with unpaved runways:
total: 21
914 to 1,523 m: 5
under 914 m: 16 (2013)
Roadways:
total: 5,940 km
paved: 1,069 km
unpaved: 4,871 km (2011)
country comparison to the world: 150

Military & Security

Military expenditures:
1.85% of GDP (2016)
1.89% of GDP (2015)
1.89% of GDP (2014)
1.89% of GDP (2013)
1.99% of GDP (2012)
country comparison to the world: 56
Military branches:
Lesotho Defense Force (LDF): Army (includes Air Wing) (2012)
Military service age and obligation:
18-24 years of age for voluntary military service; no conscription; women serve as commissioned officers (2012)
Military - note:
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

Disputes - international:
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
Trafficking in persons:
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)

Economic Indicators for Lesotho including actual values, historical data, and latest data updates for the Lesotho economy.