Lesotho 2004

Lesotho People

Yearbook 2004

Lesotho. The government announced a state of emergency in February and appealed for increased food assistance, after the drought entered the third year. More than a quarter of the population of just under 2 million residents needed help to cope.

The total population in Lesotho is 2,142,260 people in 2020. Bergslandet Lesotho has very small cultivable areas and the wear on the soil has led to extensive erosion, a problem that has now become acute. The supply problems are exacerbated by the fact that about one third of the adult population is infected with HIV or has developed AIDS. The disease is most commonly spread by men who have been forced back to Lesotho after losing their jobs in South Africa. The fact that thousands of men have returned to an unemployment rate that is now up to about 35% has also increased poverty and pressure on the lean soils. Paradoxically, Lesotho has plenty of water, which, however, is primarily intended for export to South Africa.

In March, the first phase of an irrigation and electrification project was opened, costing the equivalent of about SEK 60 billion. The Lesotho Highlands Water Project has become most known around the world for the work of the Lesotho State in pursuing legal proceedings against the international consortia accused of breaching contracts. Swedish-Swiss ABB is one of the companies that risks prosecution in the process, which has already been going on for several years.

While the water from Lesotho is to electrify much of South Africa, only 7% of the country’s own households have access to electricity. In April, the government decided to privatize 70% of the state electricity company to accelerate the expansion of the domestic electricity grid.

Lesotho People

LESOTHO. – Formerly a British protectorate with the name of Basutoland (VI, p. 366; App. III, 1, p. 207), since 1966 Lesotho has been an independent kingdom within the Commonwealth. According to a 1973 estimate, 1,130,500 residents lived on 30,355 km 2. (37 residents per km 2), almost entirely belonging to the Bantu ethnic group.

The capital, Maseru, formerly the seat of the British resident, who in 1956 had only 1600 residents, In 1971 it had 29,049.

Less than 12% of the surface is for arable land and woody agricultural crops, but more than 82% for permanent meadows and pastures, hence the significant livestock stock: 1.6 million sheep, 970,000 goats and 490,000 cattle in 1974 (in 1959, 1.3 million, 595,000 and 387,000 respectively). The production of wool in 1975 was 15,000 q.

In the agricultural economy corn predominates: in 1975, out of 121,000 ha, one million q of it was harvested (in 1962 there were 60,000 q, from 9,000 ha). Then wheat for 510,000 q on 84,000 ha, and barley for 30,000 q on 5000 ha.

In the mining sector, in 1974, there were diamonds for 11,000 carats and various precious stones; modest quantities of asbestos and manganese complete the picture of the extractive industries.

In the four-year period 1970-73, in foreign trade imports more than doubled in value, from 22.8 to 60.5 million South African rand (Lesotho is part of the customs territory of the Republic of South Africa) and so have exports (3.7 to 8.8 million rand). The main exported products include livestock, diamonds, mohair and wool.

A railway section of about 2 km connects Maseru to the South African Durban-Bloemfontein line. At the western edge of the town, rolling stock runs for almost 1000 km, of which less than 215 are tarred, and a road goes for 130 km into the mountainous interior. There are also 550 km of local roads to trade points and missions. Main airport in Maseru.