Lesotho is a small, mountainous, and land-locked country, entirely surrounded by its much larger neighbor, South Africa. It has a population of about 2 million and a per capita GDP of $1,020. Lesotho is classified as a lower-middle-income country. It is mostly highlands, with its lowest point 1,400m above sea level. Previously a British protectorate, the nation gained its independence in October 1966. Lesotho is a constitutional monarchy, ruled by a King as head of state, and governed by a 33-member Senate and a 120-member National Assembly. Lesotho held elections in June for the third time in 5 years. This led to the formation of a four-party, coalition government, led by Prime Minister Thomas Thabane. In keeping with recommendations for key governance and security reforms, made both by the Commonwealth and the Southern African Development Community (SADC), Lesotho’s leadership has committed itself to engaging in multi-stakeholder consultations to inform the reforms.
Lesotho registered an average growth rate of 4.5% from 2011 to 2015. But growth has slowed since 2015 from 5.6% to 2.3%, due to modest growth in the services sector and drought, as well as weak regional and global growth. Domestic growth is, however, expected to pick up in 2017 and 2018 to a projected 4%, boosted by an increase in construction and mining. Unemployment remains high at 24 to 28%, coupled with high inequality and poverty. Lesotho made progress in poverty reduction in the 2000s by lowering its headcount poverty rate ($1.9/day PPP) from 61.3% in CY02 to 59.7% in CY11, though estimates for 2016 suggest that 57.8% of the population is still trapped
The country finds itself at a crossroads needing new engines for growth, a more streamlined role for the state, and a dynamic private sector to help it seize opportunities in regional and global markets. Lesotho has made important progress in improving its Doing Business indicators, especially in terms of streamlining business and property registration processes that hinder the growth of local businesses, as well as in incoming Foreign Direct Investment (FDI). However, more progress is needed to improve the business environment and achieve the country’s development goals. The decline in
Lesotho’s greatest health challenge remains
Last Updated: Oct 10, 2017