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Lesotho Economy
Economy - overview:
Small, landlocked, and mountainous, Lesotho relies on remittances from miners employed in South Africa and customs duties from the Southern Africa Customs Union for the majority of government revenue, but the government has strengthened its tax system to reduce dependency on customs duties. Completion of a major hydropower facility in January 1998 now permits the sale of water to South Africa, also generating royalties for Lesotho. As the number of mineworkers has declined steadily over the past several years, a small manufacturing base has developed based on farm products that support the milling, canning, leather, and jute industries and a rapidly growing apparel-assembly sector. The economy is still primarily based on subsistence agriculture, especially livestock, although drought has decreased agricultural activity. The extreme inequality in the distribution of income remains a major drawback. Lesotho has signed an Interim Poverty Reduction and Growth Facility with the IMF.
GDP:
purchasing power parity - $5.583 billion (2003 est.)
GDP - real growth rate:
4% (2003 est.)
GDP - per capita:
purchasing power parity - $3,000 (2003 est.)
GDP - composition by sector:
agriculture: 15.3%
industry: 43.3%
services: 41.4% (2003)
Investment (gross fixed):
34.1% of GDP (2003)
Population below poverty line:
49% (1999)
Household income or consumption by percentage share:
lowest 10%: 0.9%
highest 10%: 43.4%
Distribution of family income - Gini index:
56 (1986-87)
Inflation rate (consumer prices):
6.1% (2003 est.)
Labor force:
838,000 (2000)
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% (2002)
Budget:
revenues: $625.4 million
expenditures: $675.2 million, including capital expenditures of $15 million (2003 est.)
Industries:
food, beverages, textiles, apparel assembly, handicrafts; construction; tourism
Industrial production growth rate:
15.5% (1999)
Electricity - production:
0 kWh NA kWh; note - electricity supplied by South Africa (2001)
Electricity - consumption:
40 million kWh (2001)
Electricity - exports:
0 kWh (2001)
Electricity - imports:
40 million kWh; note - electricity supplied by South Africa (2001)
Oil - production:
0 bbl/day (2001 est.)
Oil - consumption:
1,500 bbl/day (2001)
Oil - exports:
NA (2001)
Oil - imports:
NA (2001)
Agriculture - products:
corn, wheat, pulses, sorghum, barley; livestock
Current account balance:
$-112 million (2003)
Exports:
$450 million f.o.b. (2003 est.)
Exports - commodities:
manufactures 75% (clothing, footwear, road vehicles), wool and mohair, food and live animals (2000)
Exports - partners:
US 97.6%, Canada 1.5%, France 0.5% (2003 est.)
Imports:
$661 million f.o.b. (2003 est.)
Imports - commodities:
food; building materials, vehicles, machinery, medicines, petroleum products (2000)
Imports - partners:
Hong Kong 36.7%, Taiwan 36.3%, China 12%, Germany 9.9% (2003 est.)
Reserves of foreign exchange & gold:
$460 million (2003)
Debt - external:
$735 million (2002)
Economic aid - donor:
ODA $4.4 million
Economic aid - recipient:
$41.5 million (2000)
Currency:
loti (LSL); South African rand (ZAR)
Currency code:
LSL; ZAR
Exchange rates:
maloti per US dollar - 7.5648 (2003), 10.5407 (2002), 8.6092 (2001), 6.9398 (2000), 6.1095 (1999)
Fiscal year:
1 April - 31 March
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