Lesotho Economy

Lesotho Society and Economy

Social development

The low life expectancy, as well as the high infant mortality rate demonstrate the harshness of the living conditions. The average daily caloric intake per capita is very low, 2,299, and the population suffers from an overwhelming lack of drinking water.


There are only health centers in urban areas and very few medical professionals. The government runs 11 hospitals, including a mental institute, a leper colony, and 30 of the 102 rural clinics. There are also eight missionary-run hospitals.


Primary education is free and is taught mainly by the three major Christian missions (Lesotho Evangelical, Catholic and Anglican), under the direction of the Ministry of Education.


There are five newspapers: Leselinyana la Lesotho (with a circulation of 15,000 copies), Moeletsioa Basotho (12,000), Lentsoe la Basotho (2,500), The Mirror (4,000) and Lesotho Today (2,500). The Lesotho National Broadcasting Service radio station broadcasts in Lesotho and English. A television service was launched in 1988.

Labor union

The Lesotho General Workers Union is one of the main trade unions. There are also professional groups such as the Lesotho Transport and Telecommunications Workers Union and the National Union of Construction and Allied Workers. There are also two cooperative societies: the Coop Lesotho Pty Ltd and the Registry of Cooperatives.

Capital and most important cities

Maseru: The capital of Lesotho stands on the left bank of the Caledon River, near the border with the Orange Free State, Republic of South Africa. Maseru, the only urban center in the country, was founded by the head of the Sotho nation, Moshoeshoe I, in 1869, near his mountain fortress of Thaba Bosiu. The short railway section that goes to Marseilles (South Africa) connects both countries while providing transport for workers, commerce and farm products.

There is also a fixed air service to Johannesburg, as well as runways and routes that facilitate access to other parts of the nation. Few buildings of the XIX century are conserved, but Lesotho has others of importance; the National Assembly, the Supreme Court and Radio Lesotho.

Teyateyaneng: Village located on the main north-south highway of the country, 31 km northeast of Maseru, enjoys a spectacular view that ranges from the lowlands in the northeast to the Maluti mountains in the southeast. It was founded in 1886 to settle a dispute between Chief Masopha, third son of the legendary founder and overlord of the Sotho nation, and Marshall Clark, the British Resident Commissioner.


The ancient Basutoland, whose origin I lies in the Basuto or Sotho tribes that occupied the northern valley of the Orange River, was involved in the 19th century in the political struggle that broke out between the British and Boers, and ended up having to accept the protectorate British. Hence, the official language of the current Kingdom of Lesotho is English. But it is not the only one, since the Kingdom of Lesotho preserves Sotho as an official language, in addition to English. In that Bantu dialect, the small kingdom of Lesotho is called Muso or Lesotho.

Economic development

The economy is totally dependent on South Africa. The currency, the loti, is pegged to the South African rand, thus exposing it to fluctuations in the neighboring country’s economy. This dependence had a very negative influence on the development of Lesotho, which imports 90% of the energy it uses from South Africa. In March 1988, both countries signed an agreement, the Highlands hydroelectric project, which will be completed in 2020. This plan consists of transferring water from Lesotho’s rivers to its neighbor, as payment of remuneration and, in addition, providing energy enough to the nation.

Most of the active population, about 81%, is employed in agriculture, which in 1988 contributed 23% to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP). As a country located in Africa according to LISTOFUSNEWSPAPERS, Lesotho has diamond reserves that contributed more than 50% of export earnings in the 1970s, although large-scale mining ceased in 1982.

At the end of 1989 it was estimated that more than 35% of the workforce was unemployed. In 1987, South Africa employed almost 50% of adult male workers in Lesotho. The money transfers of these emigrants were equivalent, in 1987, to 66% of the value of their imports. Tourism, another important source of foreign exchange, brought in close to US $ 10 million in 1986. Lesotho is a member of the Southern African Customs Union (SACU), with Botswana, Namibia, South Africa and Swaziland. He is also a member of the Southern Africa Development Coordination Conference (SADCC), which aims to reduce South African dominance in the regional economy.

Lesotho’s agricultural development was negatively affected by intermittent drought throughout the 1980s, while the overall development of the economy lagged, in the same period, due to a lack of natural resources. The International Monetary Fund supported a three-year economic reform plan (1988 – 1991), which aimed to achieve an annual increase in GDP, increase domestic investment and reduce the budget deficit, the deficit in the balance of payments, and the debt rate. inflation. In 1988 there was a real increase in GDP of 11.9%, but the IMF criticized the government for having failed to reduce the budget deficit and external indebtedness that year.

Lesotho Economy