Lesotho

 

Basutoland was renamed the Kingdom of Lesotho upon independence from the UK in 1966. The Basuto National Party ruled for the first two decades. King MOSHOESHOE was exiled in 1990, but returned to Lesotho in 1992 and was reinstated in 1995. Constitutional government was restored in 1993 after seven years of military rule. In 1998, violent protests and a military mutiny following a contentious election prompted a brief but bloody intervention by South African and Botswanan military forces under the aegis of the Southern African Development Community. Subsequent constitutional reforms restored relative political stability. Peaceful parliamentary elections were held in 2002, but the National Assembly elections of February 2007 were hotly contested and aggrieved parties continue to periodically demonstrate their distrust of the results

 

Geography:
Location: Southern Africa, an enclave of South Africa
Geographic coordinates: 29 30 S, 28 30 E
People:
Population:  1,930,493 (July 2012 est.)

note: estimates for this country explicitly take into account the effects of excess mortality due to AIDS; this can result in lower life expectancy, higher infant mortality, higher death rates, lower population growth rates, and changes in the distribution of population by age and sex than would otherwise be expected

Age structure: 0-14 years: 33.5% (male 323,934/female 321,727)

15-64 years: 61.1% (male 573,773/female 602,443)

65 years and over: 5.4% (male 50,956/female 52,053) (2011 est.)

Government:
Country name: conventional long form: Kingdom of Lesotho

conventional short form: Lesotho

local long form: Kingdom of Lesotho

local short form: Lesotho

former: Basutoland

Government type: parliamentary constitutional monarchy
Capital: name: Maseru

geographic coordinates: 29 19 S, 27 29 E

time difference: UTC+2 (7 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)

Communications:
Telephones – main lines in use: 38,800 (2009)
Telephones – mobile cellular: 698,800 (2009)
Transportation:
Airports: 24 (2012)
Airports – with paved runways: total: 3

over 3,047 m: 1

914 to 1,523 m: 1

under 914 m: 1 (2012)

Military:
Military branches: Lesotho Defence Force (LDF): Army (includes Air Wing) (2010)
Military service age and obligation: 18 years of age for voluntary military service; no conscription; women serve as commissioned officers (2009)

Economy:

Small, landlocked, and mountainous, Lesotho relies on remittances from miners employed in South Africa and customs duties from the Southern Africa Customs Union for the majority of government revenue. However, the government has recently strengthened its tax system to reduce dependency on customs duties. Completion of a major hydropower facility in January 1998 permitted the sale of water to South Africa and generated royalties for Lesotho. Lesotho produces about 90% of its own electrical power needs. As the number of mineworkers has declined steadily over the past several years, a small manufacturing base has developed based on farm products that support the milling, canning, leather, and jute industries, as well as a rapidly expanding apparel-assembly sector.