Friday, September 10, 2021

Lesotho | Introduction

AfricaLesothoLesotho | Introduction

Climate

Lesotho has 300 days of sunlight each year. Lesotho receives 70mm of rain during the rainy season, which runs from October to April, with the majority of the rain falling during violent thunderstorms. Snowfall is more likely in the winter, although it may happen at any time in the high elevations. In the winter (May – September), nighttime temperatures drop below freezing, and homes do not have central heating, so pack a jacket.

Geography

Lesotho has a land area of 30,355 km2 (11,720 sq mi). It is the world’s only sovereign state that is completely above 1,000 meters (3,281 feet) in altitude. Its lowest point, at 1,400 meters (4,593 feet), is therefore the world’s tallest. More than 80% of the nation is over 1,800 meters (5,906 ft). Lesotho is also the world’s southernmost landlocked nation, bordered completely by South Africa. It is located between 28° and 31° South latitude and 27° and 30° East longitude.

Demographics

Lesotho has a population of around 2,067,000 people. Lesotho’s population is split evenly between urban and rural areas, with 25% living in the city and 75% in the countryside. However, the yearly growth in urban population is projected to be 3.5 percent. The highlands have a lower population density than the western lowlands. Despite the fact that the bulk of the population—60.2 percent—is between the ages of 15 and 64, Lesotho has a sizable youth population of approximately 34.8 percent.

Ethnic groups and languages

Lesotho’s ethnolinguistic structure is nearly completely made up of the Basotho, a Bantu-speaking people who account for 99.7% of the population. The Bakuena (Kuena), Batloung (Tlou), Baphuthi (Phuti), Bafokeng, Bataung (Tau), Batoeneng (Toene), Matebele, and other Basotho subgroups include the Bakuena (Kuena), Batloung (Tlou), Baphuthi (Phuti), Bafokeng, Bataung (Tau), Batoeneng (

Sesotho (or Sotho) is the primary language, as well as the first official and administrative language, and it is what Basotho speak on a daily basis.

Religion

Lesotho’s population is believed to be about 90% Christian. Protestants account for 45% of the population (Evangelicals 26 percent , Anglican and other Protestant groups an additional 19 percent ). The province of the Metropolitan Archbishop of Maseru and his three suffragans (the bishops of Leribe, Mohale’s Hoek, and Qacha’s Nek), who also constitute the national episcopal conference, pastorally serve the Roman Catholics, who make up 45 percent of the population.

The other 10% of the population is made up of followers of various faiths (Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, and Bahá’) as well as followers of traditional indigenous religions.

Economy

Lesotho is bordered by South Africa on all sides and is economically intertwined with it. Lesotho’s economy is centered on agriculture, livestock, manufacturing, and mining, and it is largely reliant on remittances from workers as well as revenues from the Southern African Customs Union (SACU). Farming is the primary source of income for the majority of families. Male migrant labor, mostly miners in South Africa for 3 to 9 months, and jobs in the Government of Lesotho are all part of the formal sector (GOL). The major agricultural zone is the western lowlands. Almost half of the population earns money through informal crop farming or animal husbandry, and the agricultural sector accounts for almost two-thirds of the country’s revenue. Between 1995 and 2003, the proportion of the population living on less than US$1.25 a day dropped from 48 percent to 44 percent. With 48.2 years of life expectancy at birth, the country is classed as “Low Human Development” by the UNDP (rank 160 of 187 on the Human Development Index). Adult literacy is at an all-time high of 82 percent. Twenty percent of children under the age of five are underweight.

Lesotho has used the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) to become the biggest exporter of garments from Sub-Saharan Africa to the United States. Foot Locker, Gap, Gloria Vanderbilt, JCPenney, Levi Strauss, Saks, Sears, Timberland, and Wal-Mart are among the US brands and retailers that source from Lesotho. It employed over 50,000 people, mostly women, by mid-2004, marking the first time that manufacturing workers outnumbered government personnel. It exported 487 million dollars worth of products in 2008, mostly to the United States. Due to strong worldwide competition in the garment industry, employment in the sector has been decreased to about 45,000 people since 2004. In 2011, it was Lesotho’s biggest formal sector employer. Employees in the textile industry earned an average of $103 per month in 2007, while the official minimum pay for a regular textile worker was $93 per month. In 2008, the average monthly gross national income per capita was $83 dollars. The industry launched the Apparel Lesotho Alliance to Fight AIDS, a significant initiative to combat HIV/AIDS (ALAFA). It is an industry-wide initiative that provides employees with prevention and therapy.

Lesotho’s natural resources include water and diamonds. The Lesotho Highlands Water Project (LHWP), a multibillion-dollar 21-year project overseen by the Lesotho Highlands Development Authority, uses water. In 1986, work on the project began. The LHWP is intended to collect, store, and transport water from the Orange River system to the Free State and greater Johannesburg areas of South Africa, which are densely populated and have a high concentration of industry, people, and agricultural. Lesotho became nearly entirely self-sufficient in the generation of energy once the first phase of the project was completed, and the sale of electricity and water to South Africa earned about $70 million in 2010. The project was funded by the World Bank, African Development Bank, European Investment Bank, and a number of other bilateral donors.

The diamond mines of Letseng, Mothae, Liqhobong, and Kao are reported to have produced 240,000 carats of diamonds worth $300 million in 2014. On an average price per carat basis, the Letseng mine is expected to yield diamonds worth $2172, making it the world’s wealthiest mine. The industry took a hit in 2008 as a consequence of the global crisis, but recovered in 2010 and 2011. In 2010/11, diamond exports totaled $230 million. In 1957, colonel Jack Scott, a South African adventurer, went out searching for diamonds with a young guy called Keith Whitelock. They discovered their diamond mine at 3,100 meters above sea level in the Maluti Mountains in northeastern Lesotho, around 70 kilometers from Mokhotlong in Letseng. A Mosotho lady found a 601-carat (120.2 g) diamond (Lesotho Brown) in the highlands in 1967. The Lesotho Promise, a 603-carat (120.6 g) white diamond, was found in the Letseng-la-Terae mine in August 2006. In 2008, a 478-carat (95.6-gram) diamond was found at the same site.

Lesotho has evolved from a mostly subsistence-based economy to a lower middle-income economy that exports natural resources and produces products. A substantial part of the population now has better and more secure earnings thanks to the exporting industries.

Lesotho’s economy was hit hard by the global economic crisis, which resulted in a loss of textile exports and jobs, owing largely to the economic slowdown in the United States, which is a major export destination; reduced diamond mining and exports, including weak diamond prices; a drop in SACU revenues due to the economic slowdown in South Africa; and a reduction in worker remittances. GDP growth fell to 0.9 percent in 2009.

The loti (plural: maloti) is the official currency, although it may be exchanged for the South African rand. The Single Monetary Area, which includes Lesotho, Swaziland, Namibia, and South Africa, is a common currency and exchange control zone (CMA). The rand and the loti are on par. One loti is equivalent to 100 lisente (singular: sente).

Lesotho is a member of the Southern African Customs Union (SACU), where duties on goods trade between member nations Botswana, Namibia, South Africa, and Swaziland have been abolished. The United States, the World Bank, the Republic of Ireland, the United Kingdom, the European Union, and Germany have all provided financial assistance to Lesotho.