Lesotho

Map Lesotho
Maps copyright Hammond World Atlas Corp.

Flag of Lesotho

Facts

Background: Basutoland was renamed the Kingdom of Lesotho upon independence from the UK in 1966. The Basuto National Party ruled for the 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 Botswana 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 of February 2007 were hotly contested and aggrieved parties continue to dispute how the electoral law was applied to award proportional seats in the Assembly.
Location: Southern Africa, an enclave of South Africa
Area land: 30,355 sq km
Area water: 0 sq km
Coastline: 0 km (landlocked)
Country name conventional long form: Kingdom of Lesotho
Country name conventional short form: Lesotho
Country name former: Basutoland
Population: 1,924,886
Age structure: 0-14 years: 33.5% (male 323,934/female 321,727); 15-64 years: 61.1% (male 573,773/female 602,443); 65 years and over: 5.4% (male 50,956/female 52,053) (2011 est.);
Population growth rate: 0.332% (2011 est.)
Birth rate: 26.93 births/1,000 population (2011 est.)
Death rate: 15.19 deaths/1,000 population (July 2011 est.)
Net migration rate: -8.42 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2011 est.)
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: 0.96 male(s)/female; total population: 0.97 male(s)/female (2011 est.);
Infant mortality rate: total: 55.04 deaths/1,000 live births; male: 59.28 deaths/1,000 live births; female: 50.67 deaths/1,000 live births (2011 est.);
Life expectancy at birth: total population: 51.63 years; male: 51.51 years; female: 51.76 years (2011 est.);
Total fertility rate: 2.94 children born/woman (2011 est.);
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate: 23.6% (2009 est.);
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS: 290,000 (2009 est.);
HIV/AIDS - deaths: 14,000 (2009 est.);
Nationality: noun: Mosotho (singular), Basotho (plural); adjective: Basotho;
Ethnic groups: Sotho 99.7%, Europeans, Asians, and other 0.3%,;
Religions: Christian 80%, indigenous beliefs 20%;
Languages: Sesotho (southern Sotho), English (official), Zulu, Xhosa;
Literacy: definition: age 15 and over can read and write; total population: 84.8%; male: 74.5%; female: 94.5% (2003 est.);
GDP (purchasing power parity): $3.31 billion (2010 est.); $3.198 billion (2009 est.); $3.148 billion (2008 est.);

note: data are in 2010 US dollars

GDP (official exchange rate): $1.799 billion (2010 est.);
GDP - real growth rate: 3.5% (2010 est.); 1.6% (2009 est.); 3.9% (2008 est.);
GDP - per capita (PPP): $1,700 (2010 est.); $1,700 (2009 est.); $1,600 (2008 est.);
note: data are in 2010 US dollars

GDP - composition by sector: agriculture: 7.1%; industry: 34.6%; services: 58.2% (2010 est.);
Population below poverty line: 49% (1999);
Household income or consumption by percentage share: lowest 10%: 1%; highest 10%: 39.4% (2003);
Labor force: 854,600 (2007 est.);
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% (2002 est.);
Unemployment rate: 45% (2002);
Budget: revenues: $968.4 million; expenditures: $1.193 billion (2010 est.);
Industries: food, beverages, textiles, apparel assembly, handicrafts, construction, tourism;
Industrial production growth rate: 3% (2010 est.);
Electricity - production: 502 million kWh;
note: electricity supplied by South Africa (2007 est.)

Electricity - consumption: 516.9 million kWh (2007 est.);
Electricity - exports: 0 kWh (2008 est.);
Electricity - imports: 50 million kWh; note - electricity supplied by South Africa (2008 est.);

Statistics: CIA World Factbook.

Lesotho in the News

International AIDS Activist Stephen Lewis

A former U.N. special envoy for H.I.V./AIDS discusses new developments in Africa.

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