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Lesotho Economy: from the All Country Info reference guide to country facts

Lesotho Economy

Lesotho Economy: A summary of information about Lesotho Economy, from government research data as well as independent research and other sources.

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Lesotho: Economy

Economy - overview
Small, landlocked, and mountainous, Lesotho's only
important natural resource is water. Its economy is based on
subsistence agriculture, livestock, and remittances from miners
employed in South Africa. The number of such mine workers has declined
steadily over the past several years. In 1996 their remittances added
about 33% to GDP compared with the addition of roughly 67% in 1990. A
small manufacturing base depends largely on farm products which
support the milling, canning, leather, and jute industries.
Agricultural products are exported primarily to South Africa. Proceeds
from membership in a common customs union with South Africa form the
majority of government revenue. Although drought has decreased
agricultural activity over the past few years, completion of a major
hydropower facility in January 1998 now permits the sale of water to
South Africa, generating royalties that will be an important source of
income for Lesotho. The pace of parastatal privatization has increased
in recent years. Civil disorder in September 1998 destroyed 80% of the
commercial infrastructure in Maseru and two other major towns. Most
firms were not covered by insurance, and the rebuilding of small and
medium business has been a significant challenge in terms of both
economic growth and employment levels. Output dropped 10% in 1998 and
recovered slowly in 1999.
GDP
purchasing power parity - $4.7 billion (1998 est.)
GDP - real growth rate
-10% (1998 est.)
GDP - per capita
purchasing power parity - $2,240 (1998 est.)
GDP - composition by sector
agriculture: 14%
industry: 42%
services: 44% (1997 est.)
Population below poverty line
49.2% (1993 est.)
Household income or consumption by percentage share
lowest 10%: 0.9%
highest 10%: 43.4% (1986-87)
Inflation rate (consumer prices)
8% (1998 est.)
Labor force
689,000 economically active
Labor force - by occupation
86% of resident population engaged in
subsistence agriculture; roughly 35% of the active male wage earners
work in South Africa
Unemployment rate
substantial unemployment and underemployment
affecting more than half of the labor force (1999 est.)
Budget
revenues: $507 million
expenditures: $487 million, including capital expenditures of $170
million (FY96/97 est.)
Industries
food, beverages, textiles, handicrafts; construction;
tourism
Industrial production growth rate
19.7% (1995)
Electricity - production
0 kWh (1998)
Electricity - production by source
fossil fuel: 0%
hydro: 0%
nuclear: 0%
other: 0% (1998)
Electricity - consumption
209 million kWh (1998)
Electricity - exports
0 kWh (1998)
Electricity - imports
209 million kWh (1998)
Agriculture - products
corn, wheat, pulses, sorghum, barley;
livestock
Exports
$235 million (f.o.b., 1998 est.)
Exports - commodities
manufactures 75% (clothing, footwear, road
vehicles), wool and mohair, food and live animals (1998)
Exports - partners
South African Customs Union 65%, North America 34%
(1998)
Imports
$700 million (f.o.b., 1998 est.)
Imports - commodities
food; building materials, vehicles, machinery,
medicines, petroleum products (1995)
Imports - partners
South African Customs Union 90%, Asia 7% (1997)
Debt - external
$675 million (1998 est.)
Economic aid - recipient
$123.7 million (1995)
Currency
1 loti (L) = 100 lisente; note - maloti (M) is the plural
form of loti
Exchange rates
maloti (M) per US$1 - 6.12439 (January 2000), 6.10948
(1999), 5.52828 (1998), 4.60796 (1997), 4.29935 (1996), 3.62709
(1995); note - the Basotho loti is at par with the South African rand
Fiscal year
1 April - 31 March
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