Lesotho is a landlocked independent republic with a democratic government situated within the borders of South Africa and forms part of the Southern African region. The capital city is Maseru. Other major towns are Mafateng and Leribe.
The official language is Sesotho but English is widely spoken in business and commerce. The local currency is the Loti (plural Maluti) which is linked to the South African Rand.
The international time zone for Lesotho is GMT +2 and the international dialing code is +266.
South African Airways flies regularly between Moshoeshoe International Airport in Lesotho and Johannesburg International Airport in South Africa. Visitors to Lesotho do not require visas for stays of less than 30 days. Commonwealth citizens, except those from Australia, Canada, Ghana, India, New Zealand, Nigeria and Pakistan, do not require visas for Lesotho. Lesotho belongs to the South African Common Monetary Area (CMA).
The country does not have its own exchange rate policy and there are no controls on exchange flows within the area. There are no controls on exports except for diamonds, for which a license is needed.
Lesotho has a good record with health issues although precautions are still necessary. Drinking water in remote areas may be contaminated.
Lesotho is a small country that is surrounded by South Africa. It has few natural resources other than water. Most of the population is engaged in subsistence agriculture and about one third of the male labour force works in South Africa on the mines and in other industries, although migrant labor is decreasing.
The Lesotho Highlands Water Project, which sells water to South Africa, has aided the economic growth in the country. There has also been growth in the manufacturing sector of the economy.
The Lesotho oil industry is one of the key elements in the economy of the country. While the country does not have any commercial oil or natural gas deposits, its downstream oil industry is well-developed, with a few international oil companies active in the market. There is a fledgling mining industry in Lesotho which has known deposits of uranium and a diamond mine. Electricity is provided by the parastatal utility, Lesotho Electricity Corporation.
The economy of Lesotho continues to perform well under the IMFs PRGF supported programme, despite the stresses caused by a serious drought . Textile exports in particular are strong.
It is hoped that the establishment of the Lesotho Revenue Authority and introduction of value-added tax will bolster the efficiency and transparency of revenue collections and help to address budget pressures.
Agriculture contributes about 18 % of GDP, but has remained a supplementary source of income. Agriculture accounted for 18.3% of GDP in 2002, industry 52.2% and services 29.5%. Total GDP in 2002 stood at US$729.9 million. FDI in 2001: US$117 million.
Lesotho’s main exports include ceramics, clothing, inedible crude materials, cut diamonds, footwear & footwear components, furniture, miscellaneous manufactured goods and wool. The main imports include cereals, electricity, food ingredients, machinery, medicines, miscellaneous manufactured goods, oil products and petroleum products.
The Loti is pegged to the South African rand at parity under the Common Monetary Union (CMA) agreement the Rand is legal tender in Lesotho. The CMA companies comprise of companies from South Africa, Lesotho, Swaziland, south Africa and Namibia. Lesotho is a member of the Southern Africa Customs Union with Botswana, South Africa, Namibia and Swaziland, and there are generally no import restrictions on goods moving between the five countries and imports from countries outside the SACU are usually licensed in conformity with South Africa’s import regulations.
The framework of the external tariff of Lesotho is the two-column Harmonised Commodity Coding and Description System (HS).
African Development Bank, United Nations Conference on Trade and Development, International Finance Corporation, International Monetary Fund, Southern African Development Community, The World Bank Group, United Nations, Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency, World Trade Organisation, Commonwealth Secretariat
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|Accommodation (25):||Morija Guest House, St. James Guest Lodge, Foothills Guest House, Ha Hotel, Ha Matela – Morija Lodge, Hotel Victoria, Katse Dam Lodge, Khali Hotel, Lakeside Hotel, Lancer’s Inn, Lesotho Sun, Lesotho Workcamps Association, Malealea Lodge & Pony Trek Centre, Maseru Sun, Molimo Nthuse Lodge|
|Attractions (9):||Bokong Nature Reserve, Ha Baroana Rock Paintings, Malesunyane Falls, Sehlabathebe National Park, Subeng River Dinosaur Footprints, Teyateyaneng Craft Centre, Thaba Bosiu, Thabana-Ntlenyana, Tshehlanyane Nature Reserve|