About Lesotho & Key Financial Statistics

About Lesotho and Key Financial Statistics

Overview of Economy:

Small, mountainous, and completely landlocked by South Africa, Lesotho depends on a narrow economic base of textile manufacturing, agriculture, remittances, and regional customs revenue. About three-fourths of the people live in rural areas and engage in animal herding and subsistence agriculture, although Lesotho produces less than 20% of the nation's demand for food. Rain-fed agriculture is vulnerable to weather and climate variability. Lesotho relies on South Africa for much of its economic activity; Lesotho imports 90% of the goods it consumes from South Africa, including most agricultural inputs. Households depend heavily on remittances from family members working in South Africa, in mines, on farms and as domestic workers, though mining employment has declined substantially since the 1990s. Lesotho is a member of the Southern Africa Customs Union (SACU), and revenues from SACU accounted for roughly 44% of total government revenue in 2014. The South African Government also pays royalties for water transferred to South Africa from a dam and reservoir system in Lesotho. However, the government continues to strengthen its tax system to reduce dependency on customs duties and other transfers. Access to credit remains a problem for the private sector. The government maintains a large presence in the economy - government consumption accounted for 37% of GDP in 2014 and the government remains Lesotho's largest employer. Lesotho's largest private employer is the textile and garment industry - approximately 36,000 Basotho, mainly women, work in factories producing garments for export to South Africa and the US. Diamond mining in Lesotho has grown in recent years and may contribute 8.5% to GDP by 2015, according to current forecasts.

Gross Domestic Product (In USD):

$5.575 billion (2014 est.)
$5.389 billion (2013 est.)
$5.203 billion (2012 est.)

Composition of Gross Domestic Product:

% Agricuture: 5.4

% Industry: 28.6

% Services: 66

Composition of Labor Force by Occupation:

% Agriculture: 86

% Industry and services: 14

Per Capita Income:

$2,900 (2014 est.)
$2,800 (2013 est.)
$2,700 (2012 est.)


$815 million (2014 est.)
$847.1 million (2013 est.)

Key Export Commodities:

manufactures (clothing, footwear), wool and mohair, food and live animals, electricity, water, diamonds

Export Partners:


$1.837 billion (2014 est.)
$1.884 billion (2013 est.)

Key Import Commodities:

food; building materials, vehicles, machinery, medicines, petroleum products

Import Partners:

Inflation Rate (Consumer Price Index):

3.8% (2014 est.)
5% (2013 est.)

Exchange Rate to USD:

maloti (LSL) per US dollar -
10.8469 (2014 est.)
10.85 (2013 est.)
8.2 (2012 est.)
7.26 (2011 est.)
7.32 (2010 est.)

Unemployment Rate:

28.1% (2014 est.)
25% (2008 est.)

S&P Rating:

Standard & Poor's Ratings:

  • AAA: The best quality borrowers, reliable and stable
  • AA: Quality borrowers, a bit higher risk than AAA
  • A: Economic situation can affect finance
  • BBB: Medium class borrowers, which are satisfactory at the moment
  • BB: More prone to changes in the economy
  • B: Financial situation varies noticeably
  • CCC: An obligor rated currently vulnerable, and is dependent upon favorable business, financial, and economic conditions to meet its financial commitments.

Ref 2012-2014: CIA World Factbook, Wikipedia, PWC, EY, Standard & Poors ratings