Lesotho is geographically surrounded by South Africa and economically integrated with it as well. The economy of Lesotho is based on agriculture, livestock, manufacturing, mining, and depends heavily on inflows of workers’ remittances and receipts from the Southern African Customs Union (SACU). The majority of households subsist on farming. The formal sector employment consist of mainly the female workers in the apparel sector, the male migrant labor, primarily miners in South Africa for 3 to 9 months and employment in the Government of Lesotho (GOL) . The western lowlands form the main agricultural zone. Almost 50% of the population earn income through informal crop cultivation or animal husbandry with nearly two-thirds of the country's income coming from the agricultural sector.
Lesotho has taken advantage of the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) to become the largest exporter of garments to the US from sub-Saharan Africa. American Brands and retailers sourcing from Lesotho include: Foot Locker, Gap, Gloria Vanderbilt, JCPenny, Levi Strauss, Saks, Sears, Timberland and Wal-Mart. In mid-2004 its employment reached over 50,000 mainly female workers, marking the first time that manufacturing sector workers outnumbered government employees. In 2008 it exported 487 million dollars mainly to the U.S.A. Since 2004 employment in the sector was somehow reduced to about 45,000, in mid-2011, due to intense international competition in the garment sector. It was the largest formal sector employer in Lesotho in 2011. The sector initiated a major program to fight HIV/AIDS called Apparel Lesotho Alliance to Fight AIDS (ALAFA). It is an industry-wide program providing prevention and treatment for the workers.
Lesotho, is a member of the Southern African Customs Union (SACU) in which tariffs have been eliminated on the trade of goods between other member countries, which also include Botswana, Namibia, South Africa, and Swaziland. Lesotho, Swaziland, Namibia, and South Africa also form a common currency and exchange control area known as the Rand Monetary Area that uses the South African rand as the common currency. In 1980, Lesotho introduced its own currency, the loti (plural: maloti). One hundred lisente equal one loti. The Loti is at par with the rand.
|Economy of Lesotho|
Maseru, the economic hub of Lesotho
|1 April - 31 March|
|WTO, SACU, SADC|
|GDP||$2.13 billion nominal (2010 est.)|
|5.6% (2015), 2.3% (2016), |
3.1% (2017e), 1.8% (2018f) 
GDP per capita
|$1,670 Purchasing Power Parity (PPP) (2011 est.)|
|3.1% (2010 est.)|
Population below poverty line
|58% using national poverty line (2002/03), 37 percent using World Bank $1 a day (2002/03)|
Labour force by occupation
|agriculture: About 80% of the resident population are engaged in subsistence agriculture; roughly 20% of the formal wage earners (about 200,000) work (mainly males) in South Africa, 20% of the workers (mainly females) are in the apparel industry in Lesotho, and 20% are employed by the Government of Lesotho. The others are employed in services and other manufacturing (2008).|
|Unemployment||45% including hidden unemployment (2002).|
|food, beverages, textiles and apparel, handicrafts, construction, tourism, mining|
|Exports||$1,043 million f.o.b. (2010 est.)|
|Garments 53% , other including diamonds 47% (2008)|
Main export partners
| US 60% |
SACU 19% (2007)
|Imports||$1,766 million c.i.f. (2010 est.)|
|food, building materials, vehicles, machinery, medicines, petroleum products, inputs to the apparel industry (2010)|
Main import partners
|SACU 85% |
Hong Kong and China 14% (2007)
|$647 million (33% of GDP) (31 December 2010 est.)|
|Revenues||$1,232 million (57% of GDP) (2009/10)|
|Expenses||$1,168 million (2009/10)|
Until the political insecurity in September 1998, Lesotho's economy had grown steadily since 1992. The riots, however, destroyed nearly 80% of commercial infrastructure in Maseru and two other major towns in the country, having a disastrous effect on the country's economy. Nonetheless, the country has completed several IMF Structural Adjustment Programs, and inflation declined substantially over the course of the 1990s. Lesotho's trade deficit, however, is quite large, with exports representing only a small fraction of imports.
The global economic crisis hit the Lesotho economy hard through loss of textile exports and jobs in the sector due largely to the economic slowdown in the United States which is a major export destination, reduced diamond mining and exports, including weak prices for diamonds; drop in SACU revenues due to the economic slowdown in the South African economy, and reduction in worker remittances due to weakening of the South African economy and contraction of the mining sector and related job losses in South Africa. In 2009, GDP growth slowed to 0.9 percent.
Lesotho’s progress in moving from a predominantly subsistence-oriented economy to a lower middle income, diversified economy exporting natural resources and manufacturing goods has brought higher, more secure incomes to a significant portion of the population. The percentage of the population living below USD PPP US$1.25/day fell from 48 percent to 44 percent between 1995 and 2003. The country is still among the "Low Human Development" countries (rank 155 of 192) as classified by the UNDP, with 42.3 years of life expectancy at birth. However, adult literacy is very high - 82% and children under weight aged under 5 is only 20%.
Lesotho has nearly 6,000 kilometers of unpaved and modern all-weather roads. There is a short rail line (freight) linking Lesotho with South Africa that is totally owned and operated by South Africa.
Water and diamonds are Lesotho's only significant natural resources. Water is being extracted through the 30-year, multibillion-dollar Lesotho Highlands Water Project (LHWP), which was initiated in 1986. The LHWP is designed to capture, store, and transfer water from the Orange River system and send it to South Africa's Free State and greater Johannesburg area, which features a large concentration of South African industry, population and agriculture. At the completion of the project, Lesotho should be almost completely self-sufficient in the production of electricity and also gain income from the sale of electricity to South Africa. The World Bank, African Development Bank, European Investment Bank, and many other bilateral donors are financing the project. Diamonds are produced in Letšeng, Mothae, Liqhobong and Kao mines. The sector suffered a setback in 2008 as the result of the world recession but rebounded in 2010 and 2011. It is a major contributor to the exports of Lesotho.
The following table shows the main economic indicators in 1980–2017.
|GDP in $
|0.65 Bln.||1.01 Bln.||1.50 Bln.||2.10 Bln.||2.68 Bln.||3.47 Bln.||3.73 Bln.||4.02 Bln.||4.33 Bln.||4.50 Bln.||4.84 Bln.||5.27 Bln.||5.63 Bln.||5.85 Bln.||6.13 Bln.||6.35 Bln.||6.63 Bln.||6.96 Bln.|
|GDP per capita in $
|−0.8 %||3.3 %||5.2 %||2.8 %||4.9 %||3.1 %||4.4 %||5.0 %||5.5 %||3.1 %||6.3 %||6.7 %||4.9 %||2.2 %||3.0 %||2.5 %||3.1 %||3.1 %|
|19.6 %||15.0 %||12.0 %||9.7 %||6.1 %||3.6 %||6.3 %||9.2 %||10.7 %||5.8 %||3.3 %||6.0 %||5.5 %||5.0 %||4.6 %||4.3 %||6.2 %||5.6 %|
(Percentage of GDP)
|...||...||18 %||62 %||88 %||49 %||51 %||51 %||45 %||35 %||31 %||33 %||35 %||37 %||37%||41 %||35 %||35 %|
Household income or consumption by percentage share:
lowest 10%: 0.9%
highest 10%: 43.4% (1986–87)
Industrial production growth rate: 3% (2010)
Electricity - consumption: 626 GWh (2010/11)
Currency: 1 loti (L) = 100 lisente; note - maloti (M) is the plural form of loti
Exchange rates: maloti (M) per US$1 – 7.32 (2010), 6.10948 (1999), 3.62709 (1995); note - the Basotho loti is at par with the South African rand
The Central Bank of Lesotho is the central bank of Lesotho, in southern Africa. The bank is located in Maseru and its current governor is Dr. Retselisitsoe Matlanyane. The bank was established in 1978 as the Lesotho Monetary Authority.Lesotho
Lesotho ( (listen), Sotho pronunciation: [lɪ’sʊːtʰʊ]), officially the Kingdom of Lesotho (Sotho: 'Muso oa Lesotho), is an enclaved country within the border of South Africa. It is one of only three independent states completely surrounded by the territory of another country. Lesotho is just over 30,000 km2 (11,583 sq mi) in size and has a population of around 2 million. Its capital and largest city is Maseru.
Lesotho was previously the British Crown Colony of Basutoland, but it declared independence from the United Kingdom on 4 October 1966. It is now a fully sovereign state that is a member of the United Nations, the Commonwealth of Nations, and the Southern African Development Community (SADC). The name Lesotho roughly translates to "the land of the people who speak Sesotho".Lesotho loti
The Loti (plural: maLoti) is the currency of the Kingdom of Lesotho. It is subdivided into 100 Lisente (sg. Sente). It is pegged to the South African rand on a 1:1 basis through the Common Monetary Area, and both are accepted as legal tender within Lesotho. The loti was first issued in 1966, albeit as a non-circulating currency. In 1980, Lesotho issued its first coins denominated in both loti and lisente (dated 1979) to replace the South African Rand, but the Rand remains legal tender.
The name derives from the Sesotho loti, "mountain," while sente is from English "cent."Letseng diamond mine
The Letšeng diamond mine, found in the landlocked Southern African kingdom of Lesotho, is owned by Gem Diamonds, Ltd. and the government of Lesotho, and at an elevation of 3,100 m (10,000 ft) it is the world's highest diamond mine.List of banks in Lesotho
This is a list of commercial banks in Lesotho
First National Bank
Lesotho Post BankList of companies of Lesotho
Lesotho is an enclaved, landlocked country in southern Africa completely surrounded by South Africa. Previously known as Basutoland, Lesotho declared independence from the United Kingdom on 4 October 1966. It is a member of the United Nations, the Commonwealth of Nations and the Southern African Development Community (SADC). The name Lesotho translates roughly into the land of the people who speak Sesotho. About 40% of the population lives below the international poverty line of US$1.25 a day.List of districts of Lesotho by Human Development Index
This is a list of districts of Lesotho by Human Development Index as of 2017.Mining industry of Lesotho
The mining industry of Lesotho is mostly concentrated on diamond mining and as such the mining sector in the country has not played any significant role in furthering its economy. Apart from diamonds, the country's main mineral resources have been identified as base metals, clays, dimension stone, sand, gravel and uranium. The lack of initiative to extract other minerals commercially is mainly attributed to the inadequacy of infrastructure and finances. Between 2000 and 2011, the percentage of GDP contributed by diamond mining to Lesotho's economy rose from "virtually zero" to about 4%.Outline of Lesotho
The following outline is provided as an overview of and topical guide to Lesotho:
Lesotho – sovereign country located in Southern Africa. Lesotho is an enclave completely surrounded by the Republic of South Africa. Formerly Basutoland, it is a member of the Commonwealth of Nations. The name Lesotho roughly translates into "the land of the people who speak Sesotho."Revenue stamps of Basutoland and Lesotho
Basutoland, now known as Lesotho, first issued revenue stamps in 1900 and continues to do so.Women in Lesotho
In 2017, 1.1 million women were living in Lesotho, making up 51.48% of the population. 33% of women are under 15 years of age, 61.4% are between 15 and 64 years old and 5.3% are over 64 years old. They received full legal status in 2008 with the passage of The Lesotho Bank Savings and Development Act of 2008, and they die at a disproportionate rate from HIV/AIDs. But, historically women have wielded power as heads of households, with control over household financial decisions. The government has also taken steps to ensure more equal representation of genders in government with quotas, and women in Lesotho are more highly educated than men. Still, domestic abuse, sexual violence, lack of social mobility, and aforementioned health crises are persistent issues. Social and economic movements, like the mass immigration of men to South Africa, and the rise of the garment industry, have contributed to both the progress and problems facing women in Lesotho today.
States with limited