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Introduction - Lesotho:
Location - Lesotho:
People - Lesotho:
Government - Lesotho:
Economy - Lesotho:

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. 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 and also generates royalties for Lesotho. Lesotho produces about 90% of its own electrical power needs. 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

$5.327 billion (2006 est.)

Gdp official exchange rate

$1.437 billion (2006 est.)

Gdp real growth rate

3% (2006 est.)

Gdp per capita ppp

$2,600 (2006 est.)

Gdp composition by sector

agriculture: 16.1%
industry: 43%
services: 40.9% (2006 est.)

Labor force

838,000 (2000)

Labor force by occupation

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

45% (2002)

Population below poverty line

49% (1999)

Household income or consumption by percentage share

lowest 10%: 0.9%
highest 10%: 43.4%

Distribution of family income gini index

63.2 (1995)

Inflation rate consumer prices

5% (2006 est.)

Investment gross fixed

32% of GDP (2006 est.)


revenues: $778.9 million
expenditures: $734.7 million; including capital expenditures of $NA (2006 est.)

Agriculture products

corn, wheat, pulses, sorghum, barley; livestock


food, beverages, textiles, apparel assembly, handicrafts, construction, tourism

Industrial production growth rate

15.5% (1999)

Electricity production

250 million kWh; note - electricity supplied by South Africa (2004)

Electricity consumption

244.5 million kWh (2004)

Electricity exports

0 kWh (2004)

Electricity imports

12 million kWh; note - electricity supplied by South Africa (2004)

Oil production

0 bbl/day (2004 est.)

Oil consumption

1,400 bbl/day (2004)

Oil exports

NA bbl/day

Oil imports

NA bbl/day

Oil proved reserves

0 bbl

Natural gas production

0 cu m (2004 est.)

Natural gas consumption

0 cu m (2004 est.)

Current account balance

-$75.44 million (2006 est.)


$779.1 million f.o.b. (2006 est.)

Exports commodities

manufactures 75% (clothing, footwear, road vehicles), wool and mohair, food and live animals (2000)

Exports partners

Hong Kong 29.6%, China 24%, Taiwan 22.3%, Germany 5.7%, India 5.5% (2006)


$1.401 billion f.o.b. (2006 est.)

Imports commodities

food; building materials, vehicles, machinery, medicines, petroleum products

Imports partners

US 83.8%, Belgium 12.7%, Canada 2.4% (2006)

Reserves of foreign exchange and gold

$528.2 million (2006 est.)

Debt external

$735 million (2002)

Economic aid recipient

$41.5 million (2000)

Currency code

loti (LSL); South African rand (ZAR)

Exchange rates

maloti per US dollar - 6.85 (2006), 6.3593 (2005), 6.4597 (2004), 7.5648 (2003), 10.541 (2002)

Communications - Lesotho:
Transportation - Lesotho:
Military - Lesotho:
This page was last updated on 16 September, 2007
Source: CIA >>>

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