• Hon. Pakalitha Bethuel Mosisili

  • Prime Minister

  • “Since its inception, our organization has been a historic milestone and a beacon of hope reflecting the will and resolve of the leaders and peoples of our subcontinent to lay strong foundations for peace and stability, as well as the economic and social transformation of the region.”
Full name The Kingdom of Lesotho
Capital Maseru
Area 30,355 km2
Location Southern Africa, an enclave of South Africa
Geographic coordinates 29 30 S, 28 30 E
Population 1,947,701
Languages
  • Sesotho (official) (southern Sotho)
  • English (official)
  • Zulu
  • Xhosa
Religion
  • Christian 80%
  • indigenous beliefs 20%
Demonym Mosotho (singular), Basotho (plural)
Currency Lesotho loti (LSL)
Country code +266
Internet code .ls
Industry Food, beverages, textiles, apparel assembly, handicrafts
Agriculture Corn, wheat, pulses, sorghum, livestock
Exports Manufactures (clothing, footwear, road vehicles), wool, mohair
Government website www.gov.ls

Source: CIA World Factbook & National Geographic

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Introduction

Beautiful, culturally-rich, and safe Lesotho is a vastly underrated destination. The contrast with South Africa could not be more striking, with the Basotho people's distinct personality and the altitudinous terrain's topographical extremes. Lesotho’s hospitable mountain lodges and trading posts will give you a fresh perspective on Southern Africa.

This is essentially an alpine country, where villagers on horseback in multi-coloured balaclavas and blankets greet you round precipitous bends. The hiking and trekking – often on a famed Basotho pony – is world class and the infrastructure of the three stunning national parks continues to improve.

The 1000m-high ‘lowlands’ offer craft shopping and sights, while a trip to the southern, central or northeastern highlands, will bring you to streams traversing an ancient dinosaur playground. The country is a genuine adventure of its own.

Source: Lonely Planet

Economy

Lesotho’s economy is projected to attain modest growth averaging 4.9% over the medium term 2015-2016. In spite of some constraints in the mining sector and the unstable political and security situation which dominated the second half of 2014, the economy remained resilient. Growth is estimated to be supported by a recovery in diamond production, modest performance in particular crops in the agricultural sector, electricity and water, wholesale trade, real estate and building, transport and communications, and financial intermediation.

Geography

Lesotho has a mountainous topography. In fact, the country’s geography is particularly unique earning it the title of Africa’s “Kingdom in the Sky” – it is the only country in the world to be entirely above 1,000m in elevation and it has the highest lowest point in the entire world at 1,400m. Lesotho also boasts 300 days of sunshine.

Successes

UNICEF has noted that there had been significant success in the country’s rapid expansion of services related to the prevention of mother-to-child transmission (PMTCT) of HIV. In 2006, only 5% of HIV positive pregnant women in Lesotho received PMTCT services. In 2009, the coverage stands at 64%. Out of 207 health facilities around the country, 186 of them now provide PMTCT services.

The Kingdom of Lesotho has also attained an improvement in the factory working conditions of its textile workers. Lesotho is no longer considered a sweatshop economy and is gaining recognition as an ethical sourcing destination. Most of the factory owners have signed codes of conduct which are policed by US retailers and clothing brands. Women workers have benefited through provisions around maternity leave, health and safety, working hours, and improved working conditions.

The Lesotho Government has also aggressively prosecuted corruption charges against international corporations involved in the Highlands Water Project who bribed officials in order to secure contracts. A number of these cases have resulted in convictions.