Overview: Lesotho

Population
1,958,042

Urban: 28.2% of total Population (2018)

Population growth: 0.28% (2017 EST)

Ethnic groups: Sotho 99.7%, Europeans, Asians, and other 0.3%)

Languages: Sesotho (official) (southern Sotho), English (official), Zulu, Xhosa

Religions: Christian 80%, indigenous beliefs 20%)

Age structure: 0-14 years: 32.12% (male 316,106/female 312,869); 15-24 years: 19.43% (male 181,481/female 199,039); 25-54 years: 37.94% (male 362,798/female 380,001); 55-64 years: 5.01% (male 52,293/female 45,828); 65 years and over: 5.5% (male 55,163/female 52,464) (2017 est.)

Dependency: Total dependency ratio: 66.9; youth dependency ratio: 59.5; elderly dependency ratio: 7.4; and potential support ratio: 13.5 (2015 est.)

Area: total: 30,355 sq. km; land: 30,355 sq. km; water: 0 sq. km

Irrigated land: 30 sq km (2012)

Physicians density: 0.05 physicians/1,000 Population
2003

Health expenditure: 10.6% of GDP (2014)

Drinking water stats:
Improved: Urban: 94.6% of population; Rural: 77% of population; and Total: 81.8% of population
Unimproved: Urban: 5.4% of population; Rural: 23% of population; and Total: 18.2% of Population (2015 est.)

Education expenditure:11.4% of GDP (2008

Literacy
Definition: age 15 and over can read and write; total population: 79.4%; Male: 70.1%; and female: 88.3% (2015 est.)

Unemployment youth ages: Total: 34.4%; Male: NA; and female: NA (2013 est.)

Government type: parliamentary constitutional monarchy

Administrative divisions: 10 districts; Berea, Butha-Buthe, Leribe, Mafeteng, Maseru, Mohale’s Hoek, Mokhotlong, Qacha’s Nek, Quthing, Thaba-Tseka)

Constitution
History: previous 1959, 1967; latest adopted 2 April 1993 (effectively restoring the 1967 version

Amendments: proposed by Parliament; passage of amendments affecting constitutional provisions including fundamental rights and freedoms, sovereignty of the kingdom, the office of the king, and powers of Parliament requires a majority vote by the National Assembly, approval by the Senate, approval in a referendum by a majority of qualified voters, and assent by the king; passage of amendments other than those specified provisions requires at least a two-thirds majority vote in both Parliament houses; amended several times, last in 2011 (2017)

Legal system: Mixed legal system of English common law and Roman-Dutch law; judicial review of legislative acts in High Court and Court of Appeal

Citizenship
Citizenship by birth: yes
Citizenship by descent: yes
Dual citizenship recognized: no
Residency requirement for naturalization: 5 years

Legislative branch
Description: bicameral Parliament consists of:

Senate (33 seats; 22 principal chiefs and 11 other senators nominated by the king with the advice of the Council of State, a 13-member body of key government and non-government officials; members serve 5-year terms

National Assembly (120 seats; 80 members directly elected in single-seat constituencies by simple majority vote and 40 elected through proportional representation; members serve 5-year terms

Elections: National Assembly – last held on 3 June 2017 (next to be held in 2022

Election results: National Assembly – percent of votes by party – ABC 40.5%, DC 25.8%, LCD 9%, AD 7.3%, MEC 5.1%, BNP 4.1, PFD 2.3%, other 5.9%; seats by party – ABC 48, DC 30, LCD 11, AD 9, MEC 6, BNP 5, PFD 3, other 5, vacant 3

Executive branch
Chief of state: King LETSIE III (since 7 February 1996); note – King LETSIE III formerly occupied the throne from November 1990 to February 1995 while his father was in exile

Head of government: Prime Minister Thomas Motsoahae THABANE (since 16 June 2017

Cabinet: consists of the Prime Minister, appointed by the King on the advice of the Council of State, and 25 other ministers

Elections/appointments: the monarchy is hereditary, but under the terms of the constitution that came into effect after the March 1993 election, the monarch is a “living symbol of national unity” with no executive or legislative powers; under traditional law, the college of chiefs has the power to depose the monarch, to determine next in line of succession, or to serve as regent in the event that a successor is not of mature age; following legislative elections, the leader of the majority party or majority coalition in the Assembly automatically becomes prime minister

Judiciary Branch
Highest court(s): bicameral Parliament consists of:
Senate (33 seats; 22 principal chiefs and 11 other senators nominated by the king with the advice of the Council of State, a 13-member body of key government and non-government officials; members serve 5-year terms
National Assembly (120 seats; 80 members directly elected in single-seat constituencies by simple majority vote and 40 elected through proportional representation; members serve 5-year terms

Elections: National Assembly – last held on 3 June 2017 (next to be held in 2022

Election results: National Assembly – percent of votes by party – ABC 40.5%, DC 25.8%, LCD 9%, AD 7.3%, MEC 5.1%, BNP 4.1, PFD 2.3%, other 5.9%; seats by party – ABC 48, DC 30, LCD 11, AD 9, MEC 6, BNP 5, PFD 3, other 5, vacant 3

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

Exports partners: South Africa 57%, US 33.5% (2017)

Imports commodities: food; building materials, vehicles, machinery, medicines, petroleum products)

Imports partners: South Africa 87.2% (2017)

Electricity access:
Population without electricity: 1,700,000
Electrification – total population: 17%)
Electrification – urban areas: 43%)
Electrification – rural areas: 8% (2013)

Internet users: Total: 534,360; and percent of population: 27.4% (July 2016 est.)

Source: CIA World Factbook