Quick facts

  • Institutional arrangements and social indicators

    Country Names
    Conventional long form: The Kingdom of Lesotho
    Conventional short form: Lesotho
    Former: Basutoland
    Capital
    Maseru
    Districts
    Butha-Buthe, Leribe, Berea, Maseru, Mafeteng, Mohales Hoek, Quthing, Qacha's Nek, Mokhotlong, Thaba-Tseka
    Area
    30,355 km2
    Altitude
    lowest 1388m; height 3482m
    Independence
    4 October 1966 (from Great Britain)
    Nationality
    Basotho (plural); Mosotho (singular)
  • Executive branch

    Head of State
    His Majesty King Letsie III
    Head of Government, Prime Minister, Minister of Defence, Police and National Security
    The Right Honourable Pakalitha Mosisili
    Minister For Foreign Affairs and International Relations
    The Honourable Tlohang Sekhamane
    Elections

    A general election in Lesotho was held on 28 February 2015 for all 120 seats of the National Assembly, the lower house of the Parliament of Lesotho, more than two years ahead of schedule due to the 2014 political crisis. Following mediation facilitated by the Southern African Development Community (SADC), His Majesty King Letsie III on the advice of then Prime Minister Tom Thabane, dissolved the Eighth Parliament and called a snap election.

    Lesotho uses the mixed-member proportional representation voting system. More than 1.2 million voters had been registered by the Independent Electoral Commission. The 2015 general election yeilded no outright winner and the then opposition party Democratic Congress (DC) led by Dr Pakalitha Bethuel Mosisili managed to form the coalition government with seven (7) other political parties as no party achieved an outright majority.

    The current coalition government in Lesotho is headed by the Right Honourable the Prime Minister Dr P. B. Mosisili as Prime Minister, Leader of Democratic Congress (DC) and the Deputy Prime Minister is Hon Mothejoa Metsing, Leader of Lesotho Congress for Democracy (LCD).

  • Legislative branch

    Bicameral Parliament consists of the Senate (33 members – 22 principal chiefs and 11 other members appointed by the ruling party) and the Assembly (120 seats, 80 by popular vote and 40 by proportional vote; members elected by popular vote for five-year terms)

  • Judicial branch

    High Court, Court of Appeal, Magistrate’s Court, customary or traditional court

    Arms of state

    Legislature
    Executive
    Judiciary

    Lesotho Government Portal (link)

    Legal System
    based on English Common Law and Roman-Dutch Law
    Constitution
    2 April 1993
    Population
    2, 012, 649 (2007est)
    Literacy
    85% (2007 est)
    Ethninicity/Race
    Sotho 99.7 %; Europeans , Asians and other 0.3%
    Languages
    Sotho, English (both official)
    Religions
    Christians 80%, indegineous beliefs 20%
    Monetary Unit
    Loti (Plural Maloti) pegged to the South African rand
    Standard Power
    220/240volts AC 50Hz
    Time
    GMT +2 hours
    Int. Telephone Code
    +266
    International Disputes
    None
  • Public holidays

    • 1 January New Year's Day
    • 11 March Moshoeshoe's Day
    • 21 March Good Friday
    • 24 March Easter Monday
    • 1 May Workers' Day
    • 17 July King's Birthday
    • 25 May Africa Hero’s Day
    • 4 October Independence Day
    • 25 December Christmas Day
    • 26 December Boxing Day
  • Economic indicators

    GDP (purchasing power parity)
    $3.088 billion (2007 est.)
    GDP (official exchange rate)
    $1.588 billion (2007 est.)
    GDP - real growth rate
    4.8% (2007 est.)
    GDP - per capita (PPP)
    $1,500 (2007 est.)
    GDP - composition by sector
    agriculture: 15.2%
    industry: 45%
    services: 39.7% (2007 est.)
    Labor force
    838,000 (2000 est.)
    Household income or consumption by percentage share
    lowest 10%: 0.9%
    highest 10%: 43.4% (2002 est.)
    Inflation rate (consumer prices)
    12% (2007 est.)
    Investment (gross fixed)
    48.5% of GDP (2007 est.)
    Budget
    revenues: $951.4 million
    expenditures: $855.4 million (2007 est.)
    Natural Resources
    water, agricultural and grazing land, diamonds, sand, clay, building stone
    Agriculture - products
    corn, wheat, pulses, sorghum, barley; livestock
    Arable land
    1%
    Agricultural land
    77%
    Industries
    food, beverages, textiles, apparel assembly, handicrafts, construction, tourism
    Industrial production growth rate
    12% (2007 est.)
    Electricity - production
    350 million kWh; (2005)
    Exports
    $905 million f.o.b. (2007 est.)
    Exports - commodities
    manufactures 75% (clothing, footwear, road vehicles), wool and mohair, food and live animals (2000)
    Exports - partners
    US 81.9%, Belgium 15%, Canada 1.9% (2006)
    Imports
    $1.584 billion f.o.b. (2007 est.)
    Imports - commodities
    food; building materials, vehicles, machinery, medicines, petroleum products
    Imports - partners
    Hong Kong 33.4%, China 31.2%, Germany 7.7%, India 7.3% (2006)
    Economic aid - recipient
    $68.82 million (2005)
    Reserves of foreign exchange
    $889 million (31 December 2007 est.)
    Debt - external
    $693 million (31 December 2007 est.)
    Exchange rates
    maloti per US dollar - 7.25 (2007), 6.85 (2006), 6.3593 (2005), 6.4597 (2004), 7.5648 (2003)
    Fiscal year
    1 April - 31 March
  • Useful words & phrases in Sesotho

    Greetings (singular)
    Khotso (literally ‘peace) or lumela
    Greetings (plural)
    Khotsong or lumelang
    Welcome (singular)
    Kena ka khotso
    Welcome (plural)
    Kenang ka khotso
    Excuse me
    Ntsoarele
    Thank you
    Kea leboha
    Help!
    Thusa!
    No
    Chee
    Yes
    Ee
    Please
    ka kopo / ako.../...hle
    What is the time?
    Ke nako mang?
    What is your name?
    Lebitso Ia hau ke mang?
    My name is
    Lebitso Ia ka ke
    How much is this?
    Ke bokae?
    Why?
    Hobaneng

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