COUNTRIES BRIEFS Newsletter ISSN 1563-4108

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Lesotho National Development Corporation - THE KINGDOM OF LESOTHO - BRIEFS

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The Kingdom of Lesotho (former: Basutoland) is a landlocked country surrounded by South Africa - in Southern Africa,

Background: Basutoland was renamed the Kingdom of Lesotho upon independence from the UK in 1966. Constitutional government was restored in 1993 after 23 years of military rule.

Total area: 30,355 sq. km

Bordering country: South Africa over 909 km

Capital: Maseru

Population: 2,143,141 (1999) 1,861,959 (July 2003 est.) Population growth rate: 1.65% (2000); 0.19% (2003 est.)

Climate: temperate; cool to cold, dry winters; hot, wet summers

Terrain: mostly highland with plateaus, hills, and mountains highest point: Thabana Ntlenyana 3,482 m

Natural resources: water, agricultural and grazing land, some diamonds and other minerals

Agriculture productions: corn, wheat, pulses, sorghum, barley; livestock

Industrial productions: food, beverages, textiles, handicrafts; construction; tourism

Lesotho economy is closely linked to South Africa's economy.

The total of electricity consumption - 209 million kWh (1998) - is imported from South Africa. National budget revenues depend largely on remittances from miners employed in South Africa. However the number of mine workers in South Africa has steadily declined over the past several years. In 1996 their remittances added about 33% to the country GDP compared with the addition of roughly 67% in 1990. The complement of revenues to the national budget depends:

1- On agricultural products exported to South Africa.
2- Proceeds from membership in a common customs union with South Africa
3- Royalties - since January 1998 - generated by the first phase of a major hydropower facility that sells water to South Africa.

Water is indeed the only natural resource in relative abundance in Lesotho.

Phase I (Mohale Dam) of a US $ 5 billion joint venture project between Lesotho and South Africa to building a network of dams and channels (in the remote mountains of Lesotho) to funneling rainwater to the industrial heartland of South Africa had been inaugurated on March 16, 2004 by His Majesty King Letsie III and President Thabo Mbeki of South Africa. Lesotho will sell water to South Africa. The dam trap water that normally runs into the Orange river and out west into the Atlantic Ocean, and instead turn it north towards Johannesburg. For more on this matter click here.

A small manufacturing base depends largely on farm products that support the milling, canning, leather, and jute industries. Agricultural products are exported primarily to South Africa.

Due to the mountainous characteristic of Lesotho' scenery, there are business opportunities in the tourism sector: trekking and mountain retreats development for high standard international tourists.

Another business opportunity is the development of industrial fishing. Click here for more. Courtesy of BusinessAfrica™ / Dr. Quenum and Associates - Investment and Business Planners.

The challenging problem threatening the country' social life is the high penetration rate (31%) of AIDS/ HIV. Since mid 2003, Lesotho's political authorities initiated four programmes in an effort to curbing down the disease. 1- Prevention of mother-to-child transmission of HIV. 2- A series of workshops on transformational leadership. 3- The issemination of a document on scaling up the national response. 4- A campaign aimed at encouraging the Basotho people to be tested and receive counselling. Lesotho's first health centre to provide antiretroviral therapy (ART) was officially opened by Lesotho Prime Minister Dr Pakalitha Mosisili on May 7, 2004.

Crop forecast for 2004 worse than previous poor 2003 harvest. Lesotho is heading for its third consecutive year of food shortages due to pesrsisting drought. Click here for more

Click here for news and events dynamic headlines on sub-Saharan Africa.
Click here for news and events on Southern Africa


1- D&B Export Guide To Lesotho
Digital Delivery In PDF by D&B
2- The Anti-Politics Machine
Development, Depoliticization And ureaucratic Power In Lesotho / by James Ferguson
3- Singing Away The Hunger
Autobiography of An African Woman
by K. Limakatso Kendall
4- A South African Kingdom
The Pursuit of Security In Nineteenth-Century Lesotho by Elizabeth A. Eldredge
5- African Painted Houses
Basotho Dwellings of Southern Africa / by Gary N. Van Wyk
6- Studies
In The Economic History of Southern Africa
South Africa, Lesotho, Swaziland
by Zbignew Konczacki
7- The Matter of Women
Is Getting Very Bad - Gender, Development And Politics In Colonial Lesotho
by Marc Epprecht
8- Lesotho Herders Video Project
Exploration In Visual Anthropology
by Chuck Scott
9- Lesotho
Enchantement of Africa by Allen Carpenter

Click to contact Dr. Bienvenu-Magloire Quenum



US$ 1.917 billion (1998); 1.099 billion (2001); 1.127 billion (2002); 1.172 (2003)
GNP-growth rate: -10% (1998); 5.1% (2000); 2.6% (2001); 2.6% (2001)
GNP-per capita: US$ 400 (2000); 512 (2001); 629 (2003)

Click here for the difference between GNP and Parity Purchasing Power

GNP-composition by sector

  1. agriculture: 20%

  2. industry: 46%
  3. services: 34%

Exports: US$ 175 million (f.o.b. 2000); 422 million f.o.b. (2002 est.)
Commodities: manufactures 75% (clothing, footwear, road vehicles), wool and mohair, food (water) and live animals
Exports - partners:
US, Canada, France,
South African Customs Union 65%

Imports: US$ 700 million (f.o.b. 2000) 738 million f.o.b. (2002 est.)
Commodities: food; building materials, vehicles, machinery, medicines, petroleum products (1995) Imports-partners: South African Customs Union 90%, Asia 7% (2002)




A passport is required. For more information concerning entry requirements, travelers may contact the the nearest embassy or consulate of Lesotho

United Kingdom
High Commission of the Kingdom of Lesotho

7 Chesham Place Belgravia
London SW1 8HN
Tel.: +(44) 171 235 5686
Fax.: +(44) 171 235 5023
E-mail: Click here
Embassy of the Kingdom of Lesotho
Boulevard General Wahis 45
1030 Brussels
Tel.: +(32) 2 705 3976
Fax.: +(32) 2 346 770
E-mail: Click here
Republic of South Africa
High Commission of the Kingdom of Lesotho

391 Anderson Str. Menlo Park
P.O. Box 55817 0007 Arcadia
Tel.: +(27) 12 467648
Fax.: +(27) 12 467649
E-mail: Click here
United States of America
Embassy of the Kingdom of Lesotho
2511 Massachusetts Ave., N.W. Washington D.C. 20008
Tel.: +(1) 202 797 5533/4/5/6
Fax.: +(1) 202 234 6815
E-mail: Click here
Federal Republic of Germany
Embassy of the Kingdom of Lesotho
Godersberger Alle 50 53175 Bonn
Tel.: +(49) 228 308430
Fax.: +(49) 228 3084322
E-mail: Click here
Permanent Mission of the Kingdom of Lesotho

44 Rue de Lausanne
1201 Geneva
Tel.: +(41) 22 9000505
Fax.: +(41) 22 9000525
E-mail: Click here


The main airline linking Lesotho to the World at large is South Africa Airways with daily schedule to and from Johannesburg's airport.

Being a landlocked country within South Africa's boundaries, Lesotho depends completely on South Africa's road and ralways system for import and export of goods and commodities.

Ministry of Trade and Industry
Trade Promotion Unit
P.O. Box 747
Maseru 100
Tel: +(266) 32 2138 / 32 3414
Fax: (+266) 31 0038
Telex: 4384 TIPUMTI LO
Lesotho National Development Corporation
Private Bag A96
Maseru 100
Tel: +(266) 31 2012
Fax: +(266) 31 0038
Cables: "Devcor"
E-mail: Click here
Website URL: Click here
Lesotho Chamber of Commerce and Industry
Kingsway Fairways Center
P.O. Box 79 Maseru 100
Tel: +(266) 32 3482
Click here to review funding available to rebuild power generation system

There are some hotels in Maseru of international standard and throughout the country smaller inns and lodges can be found. For more on available accommodation contact Lesotho Tourist Board below listed

Lesotho Tourist Board
PO Box 1378, Maseru 100
Tel: +(266) 31 3760
Fax: +(266) 31 0108
Maseru Sun Maseru
+(266) 31 2434
+(266) 31 0158
Lakeside Hotel Maseru
Tel: +(266) 31 3646
Fax: +(266) 31 2493
Victoria Hotel Maseru
: +(266) 31 2922
+(266) 31 0318

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