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    Lesotho Economy - 2002

      Economy - overview Small, landlocked, and mountainous, Lesotho's primary natural resource is water. Its economy is based on subsistence agriculture, livestock, remittances from miners employed in South Africa, and a rapidly growing apparel-assembly sector. The number of 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 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. Lesotho has a marked inequality in income distribution and serious unemployment/underemployment problems that will not yield to short-run solutions.

      GDP purchasing power parity - $5.3 billion (2001 est.)

      GDP - real growth rate 2.6% (2001 est.)

      GDP - per capita purchasing power parity - $2,450 (2001 est.)

      GDP - composition by sector
      agriculture: 18%
      industry: 38%
      services: 44% (2001)

      Population below poverty line 49.2% (1999 est.)

      Household income or consumption by percentage share
      lowest 10%: 0.9%
      highest 10%: 43.4% (1986-87)

      Distribution of family income - Gini index 56 (1986-87)

      Inflation rate (consumer prices) 6.9% (2001 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.)

      revenues: $76 million
      expenditures: $80 million, including capital expenditures of $15 million (FY99/00 est.)

      Industries food, beverages, textiles, apparel assembly, handicrafts; construction; tourism

      Industrial production growth rate 15.5% (1999 est.)

      Electricity - production 0 kWh; note - electricity supplied by South Africa (2000)

      Electricity - consumption 100 million kWh (2000)

      Electricity - exports 0 kWh (2000)

      Electricity - imports 100 million kWh
      note: electricity supplied by South Africa (2000)

      Agriculture - products corn, wheat, pulses, sorghum, barley; livestock

      Exports $250 million (f.o.b., 2001 est.)

      Exports - commodities manufactures 75% (clothing, footwear, road vehicles), wool and mohair, food and live animals

      Exports - partners South African Customs Union 53.9%, North America 45.6% (1999)

      Imports $720 million (f.o.b., 2001 est.)

      Imports - commodities food; building materials, vehicles, machinery, medicines, petroleum products

      Imports - partners South African Customs Union 89.5%, Asia 7% (1999)

      Debt - external $715 million (2001 est.)

      Economic aid - recipient $123.7 million (1995)

      Currency loti (LSL); South African rand (ZAR)

      Currency code LSL; ZAR

      Exchange rates maloti per US dollar - 11.58786 (January 2002), 8.60918 (2001), 6.93983 (2000), 6.10948 (1999), 5.52828 (1998), 4.60796 (1997); note - the Lesotho loti is at par with the South African rand which is also legal tender; maloti is the plural form of loti

      Fiscal year 1 April - 31 March

      NOTE: The information regarding Lesotho on this page is re-published from the 2002 World Fact Book of the United States Central Intelligence Agency. No claims are made regarding the accuracy of Lesotho Economy 2002 information contained here. All suggestions for corrections of any errors about Lesotho Economy 2002 should be addressed to the CIA.

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    Revised 30-Jan-03
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