FAQ

General Facts

Lesotho is located in Southern Africa, at the bottom of Africa. It is surrounded by the Republic of South Africa. It is found around 29º30' south latitude and 28 º 30’ east longitudes. It has a total land area of 30,355 square kilometres.

Lesotho is divided into 3 geographic regions;

  • Lowlands, following the southern banks of the Caledon river and in the Senqu river valley
  • Highlands, formed by the Drakensberg and Maluti Mountain ranges in the east and central parts of the country
  • Foothills, form a divide between lowlands and highlands

Lesotho is also divided into 10 administrative districts, each district with its own town. The districts are further subdivided into 80 constituencies, which consist of 129 local community councils.

The capital city of Lesotho is Maseru. It is also a town of the Maseru district.

According to the 2006 population census conducted by the Bureau of Statistics in Lesotho, the population of Lesotho has been estimated at around 1,872,721.

The Government of Lesotho is a constitutional monarchy. The Prime Minister, who is the Executive Authority, leads the Government. The King serves more as a ceremonial icon and does not actively participate in political initiatives. The National Assembly is the lower house of parliament which is controlled by the coalition of parties, namely; All Basotho Convention (ABC), Lesotho Congress for Democracy (LCD) and Basutoland National Party (BNP). The Assembly represents Democratic Congress (DC), National Independent Party, Lesotho Workers Party and other minority parties. The upper house of parliament, called the Senate, is composed of 22 Principal Chiefs whose membership is hereditary, and 11 appointees of the King.

                                             Day                                  Date


New Year’s Day                         Wednesday           01 January 2014           

Moshoeshoe’s Day                     Tuesday                 11 March 2014             

Good Friday                               Friday                   18 April 2014 

Easter Monday                           Monday                 21 April 2014 

Worker's Day                             Thursday               01 May 2014 

Africa/Heroes Day                      Sunday                  25 May 2014

Ascension Day                           Thursday               29 May 2014 

King’s Birthday                           Thursday                17 July 2014

Independence Day                      Saturday                04 October 2014            

Christmas Day                           Thursday                25 December 2014     

Boxing Day                                Friday                    26 December 2014

Note: Public holidays falling on a Sunday do not become a public holiday on the following Monday

Lesotho’s Economic Performance

The Loti, denoted by LSL, is the official currency of the Kingdom of Lesotho. The Loti (plural “maloti)”, is divided into 100 lisente (singular “sente”). The LSL is pegged to the South African Rand on a 1:1 basis and both currencies are considered legal tender within Lesotho. Coins in circulation include 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, 200 and 500 lisente. Banknotes in circulation include 10, 20, 50, 100 and 200 maloti. The import and export of the local currency is unrestricted.

The economy of Lesotho is divided into 3; primary, secondary and tertiary sector. The primary sector comprises of agriculture and mining and quarrying sectors. Activity in the agriculture sector is mainly at the subsistence level and efforts to commercialize the sub sector have been intensified. The mining and quarrying sector, (which is mainly sandstone and diamonds) has shown potential for growth since 2005 and has been increasing significantly until 2011. The limited growth to date has been due to some refurbishment of equipment by one of the three mining companies and a decline in the existing production. The secondary sector comprises of manufacturing, building and construction. Manufacturing sector surpassed the Government as the largest employer in 2012 and its contribution to GDP is significant. Building and construction is one sector that has currently shown potential for better performance. Private sector is actively participating in this sector and it provides a good platform for promoting property development to support industrial development. Lastly, the tertiary sector which comprises of the retail sector, telecommunications, real estate and government is another significant contributor to GDP. In telecommunications, an increase in the number of service providers brought about expansion of products, access to services and better service delivery. The rest of the components have been increasing consistently.

Lesotho’s GDP growth rate has been increasing consistently from 2002 until 2009 when the impact of the economic crisis began to be felt. The growth rate picked up in 2010 but experienced a further decline in 2011 when the effects of the euro crisis hit hard on world economies. The outlook for Lesotho in 2014 and 2015 remains moderately positive with average growth of 4.4% expected; though there are risks over global demand for diamonds and the renewal of the United States’ African Growth and Opportunity Act which runs out in 2015. The economy is estimated to have grown by 3.4% in 2013, well below the strong 6.5% recorded in 2012. Growth was supported by booming construction activities, a strong recovery by textile and clothing, transport and communications, and financial intermediation.

Lesotho’s GDP per capita growth has been estimated to increase from 2.3% in 2013 with an average projection of 3.2% in the next two years. Lesotho’s GDP per capita growth has been growing consistent over time except for the periods when it was hit by the global economic and euro crises.

The May 2014 Fitch Ratings report has affirmed Lesotho's long-term foreign and local currency Issuer Default Ratings (IDRs) at 'BB-' and 'BB' respectively. The outlooks on the long-term IDRs are stable. The Country Ceiling was affirmed at 'A-' and the short-term foreign currency IDR at 'B'.

The banking system in Lesotho comprises of 3 commercial banks (Standard-Lesotho Bank, NEDBANK and First National Bank), the Central Bank and some financial institutions. Commercial banks provide credit to businesses at competitive rates. Government and development institutions such as LNDC have signed partial credit guarantee scheme with banks to facilitate ease of access to finance.

Prime lending interest rates have remained stable over the year 2013 to February 2014 at around 9.9 percent having come down from around 12.0 percent in the last three years.

Following the recent global financial crisis, lending rates have remained relatively attractive for private sector borrowing and investment.

Inflation in Lesotho rose slightly in 2012 to 6.7% and went down to 5% in 2013. Inflationary pressures continued to build up during the second quarter of 2014, with consumer inflation reaching a peak of 6.7 per cent in May 2014 and moderating slightly to 6.5 per cent in June. It was initially forecast to average 4.9% in 2014, but has been revised to 6.6% over the medium term.

Foreign Trade

Lesotho’s main trading partners are USA, EU, RSA and China

RSA, Namibia, Swaziland and Botswana under the Southern African Customs union. As party to the Southern African Customs Union, Lesotho is part of the SACU-Europe Free Trade Area that allows SACU members duty free and quota free access for nearly all industrial products.

Main export products of Lesotho are manufactured goods (garments, electronics, and footwear), crude materials (diamonds, wool and mohair), water.

Investing in Lesotho

  1. Investment opportunities in knitted fabric mill
  2. Accessories and packaging materials
  3. Leather and footwear
  4. Assembly of consumer electrical and electronic appliances
  5. Food processing
  6. Resources-based projects. e.g. diamond mining, water bottling, sandstone mining, ceramic ware and brick making 
  7. Environmental projects. e.g. Waste recycling
  8. Energy sector
  9. Pharmaceuticals
  10. Development of infrastructure

Lesotho offers investors a dynamic business environment complemented by a healthy Government administered incentive regime which includes:

Stability

  • A stable social and political environment which is investor friendly.
  • A free enterprise and free market economic system, which forms the basis for sustained development and growth.

 

Labour

Young, abundant, predominantly English speaking, literate, well-motivated labour force with a tradition of manual dexterity at competitive wage rates.

Market access

Southern African Customs union, Southern African Development Community, USA under Africa Growth and Opportunity Act, European union under EU-SADC interim EPA

Tax incentives

  • 10% corporate income tax on manufacturing profit ;
  • No withholding tax on dividends distributed by manufacturing firms to local or foreign shareholders.

Taiwan, RSA, Netherlands, UK, other SADC countries.

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About LNDC

The Lesotho National Development Corporation (LNDC) is the main parastatal of the Government of Lesotho charged with the implementation of the country’s industrial development policies.

“The mandate of the Corporation is to initiate, promote and facilitate the development of manufacturing and processing industries, mining and commerce in a manner calculated to raise the level of income and employment in Lesotho.”  more...

Contact us

Lesotho National Development Corporation
Block A, Development House, Kingsway Street
Maseru, Lesotho, 100


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