Lesotho is small and isolated and has limited
assets, which makes it difficult to get a robust growth
going. The dependence on developments in the surrounding
South Africa is great. Agriculture is important for the
livelihood of the population, while textile production
is the most important in-house industry.
Money that Lesothian guest workers in South Africa
send home makes an important contribution to the
Treasury. By the mid-1990s, one in four Lesothians were
estimated to support their family as a miners in the
neighboring country. Life became difficult for the
Lesothians when the South African mines began to reduce
their staff and many lost their jobs (see Labor Market).
Their return home has increased unemployment in Lesotho
and worsened the spread of HIV / AIDS (see Social
conditions). Access has also diminished in other jobs
for the low-skilled in South Africa, such as services in
the home and in agriculture.
Major imports by Lesotho, covering a full list of top products imported by the country and trade value for each product category.
Money shipments accounted for around 60 percent of
gross domestic product (GDP) at the turn of the
millennium and today account for just under 25 percent.
It is still the highest figure in Africa.
Agriculture employs many but it produces low returns
and produces only part of the food need.
The relatively large textile and clothing industry
has grown during the 2000s and accounts for most of the
export revenue. The raw material is imported into the
textiles that are woven and clothing sewn in the country
Abbreviationfinder.org: Check this abbreviation website to find three letter ISO codes for all countries in the world, including LSO which represents the country of Lesotho.
Exports of water to South Africa have also become an
important source of income, and Lesotho is expected to
be able to sell electricity soon. The mining of diamonds
has increased in importance in recent years and the
mining sector now accounts for around 8 percent of GDP
(see also Natural Resources and Energy).
Poverty is widespread and a large proportion of the
population is dependent on food aid to cope. The largest
donors are the United States and the EU. The World Bank
and the African Development Bank (AfDB) account for
almost all loans. Foreign debt amounted to 38 percent
of GDP in 2013.
Lesotho's currency lottery is linked to the South
African rand. Thus, inflation follows the same path it
does in neighboring countries.
FACTS - FINANCE
GDP per person
US $ 1,324 (2018)
US $ 2,792 million (2018)
1.5 percent (2018)
Agriculture's share of GDP
6.1 percent (2017)
Manufacturing industry's share of GDP
13.7 percent (2017)
The service sector's share of GDP
52.5 percent (2017)
5.9 percent (2019)
Government debt's share of GDP
44.5 percent (2018)
US $ 936 million (2017)
US $ 1,175 million (2018)
US $ 1 930 million (2018)
- US $ 114 million (2018)
Commodity trade's share of GDP
126 percent (2018)
Main export goods
water, hydropower, textiles, diamonds
Largest trading partner
South Africa, USA