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Lesotho

 

Lesotho                                         
Lesotho (Listeni/lɨˈsuːtuː/ li-SOO-too), officially the Kingdom of Lesotho, is a landlocked country and enclave, completely surrounded by its only neighbouring country, South Africa. It is just over 30,000 km2 (11,583 sq mi) in size and has a population slightly over two million.  Its capital and largest city is Maseru. Lesotho is a member of the Commonwealth of Nations. The name Lesotho translates roughly into the land of the people who speak Sesotho.  About 40% of the population live below the international poverty line of US $1.25 a day.

Population
Lesotho has a population of approximately 2,067,000. The population distribution of Lesotho is 25% urban and 75% rural. However, it is estimated that annual increase of urban population is 3.5%.  Population density is lower in the highlands than in the western lowlands. Although the majority of the population—60.2%—is between 15 and 64 years of age, Lesotho has a substantial youth population numbering around 34.8%.

Economy
Lesotho is geographically surrounded by South Africa and economically integrated with it as well. The economy of Lesotho is based on agriculture, livestock, manufacturing and mining, and depends heavily on inflows of workers’ remittances and receipts from the Southern African Customs Union (SACU). The majority of households subsist on farming. The formal sector employment consists of mainly the female workers in the apparel sector, the male migrant labor, primarily miners in South Africa for 3 to 9 months and employment in the Government of Lesotho (GOL). The western lowlands form the main agricultural zone. Almost 50% of the population earns income through informal crop cultivation or animal husbandry with nearly two-thirds of the country's income coming from the agricultural sector.
Lesotho has taken advantage of the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) to become the largest exporter of garments to the US from sub-Saharan Africa. American Brands and retailers sourcing from Lesotho include: Foot Locker, Gap, Gloria Vanderbilt, JCPenny, Levi Strauss, Saks, Sears, Timberland and Wal-Mart.  In mid-2004 its employment reached over 50,000 mainly female workers, marking the first time that manufacturing sector workers outnumbered government employees. In 2008 it exported goods worth 487 million dollars mainly to the U.S.A. Since 2004 employment in the sector was somehow reduced to about 45,000, in mid-2011, due to intense international competition in the garment sector. It was the largest formal sector employer in Lesotho in 2011.  In 2007, the average earnings of an employee in the textile sector were $103 per month, and the official minimum wage for a general textile worker was $93 per month. The average gross national income per capita in 2008 was $83 per month.  The sector initiated a major program to fight HIV/AIDS called Apparel Lesotho Alliance to Fight AIDS (ALAFA). It is an industry-wide program providing prevention and treatment for the workers.
Water and diamonds are Lesotho's significant natural resources. 
Lesotho has progressed in moving from a predominantly subsistence-oriented economy to a lower middle income economy exporting natural resources and manufacturing goods. The exporting sectors have brought higher and more secure incomes to a significant portion of the population.
Lesotho has received economic aid from a variety of sources, including the United States, the World Bank, Republic of Ireland, the United Kingdom, the European Union, and Germany
  

     

Embassy of the Kingdom of Lesotho in Beijing
H.E.Mrs.Lebohang Ntsinyi,Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary
Address: No. 302, Dong Wai Diplomatic Office Building, No.32 Dongzhimen Wai Dajie, Chaoyang District, Beijing
Postal Code: 100600
Tel: (+86)10 6532 6843, 6532 6844
Fax: (+86)10 6532 6845

 




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