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.
According to CountryAAH, 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.