Economy of Lesotho

Mother Earth Travel > Country Index > Lesotho > Map Economy History

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 mineworkers has declined steadily over the past several years. 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. 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 for Lesotho. The pace of substantial privatization has increased in recent years. In December 1999, the government embarked on a nine-month IMF staff-monitored program aimed at structural adjustment and stabilization of macroeconomic fundamentals. The government is in the process of applying for a three-year successor program with the IMF under its Poverty Reduction and Growth Facility.

GDP: purchasing power parity - $5.1 billion (2000 est.)
GDP - real growth rate: 2.5% (2000 est.)
GDP - per capita: purchasing power parity - $2,400 (2000 est.)
GDP - composition by sector:
agriculture:  18%
industry:  38%
services:  44% (1999)
Household income or consumption by percentage share:
lowest 10%: 0.9%
highest 10%: 43.4% (1986-87)
Inflation rate (consumer prices): 6% (2000 est.)
Labor force: 700,000 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: 45% (2000 est.)
Budget:
revenues:  $76 million
expenditures:  $80 million, including capital expenditures of $15 million (FY99/00 est.)
Industries: food, beverages, textiles, handicrafts; construction; tourism
Industrial production growth rate: 15.5% (1999 est.)
Electricity - production: 0 kWh; note - electricity supplied by South Africa (1999)
Electricity - consumption: 55 million kWh (1999)
Agriculture - products: corn, wheat, pulses, sorghum, barley; livestock
Exports: $175 million (f.o.b., 2000 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., 2000 est.)
Imports - commodities: food; building materials, vehicles, machinery, medicines, petroleum products (1995)
Imports - partners: South African Customs Union 90%, Asia 7% (1997)
Debt - external: $720 million (2000 est.)
Economic aid - recipient: loti (LSL); South African rand (ZAR)

SOURCE: The World Factbook

Mother Earth Travel > Country Index > Lesotho > Map Economy History