Supporting The Public Sector of Lesotho



Public spending on education was 13 per cent of GDP in 2008. Primary school comprises seven years and secondary five, with cycles of three and two years. Some 66 per cent of pupils complete primary school (2010).

Higher education institutions include the National University of Lesotho; Lesotho Institute of Public Administration and Management; Lesotho College of Education; Lerotholi Polytechnic; and Lesotho Agricultural College. Literacy among people aged 15–24 is 92 per cent (2010).

Several of the country’s private schools are international schools, such as the American International School of Lesotho. Other schools are classed as private because they are funded by churches or other communities, but are not fully fee-paying. In 2010 the government clamped down on unregistered private schools, forcing some to close because they could not meet the registration criteria.



Public spending on health was nine per cent of GDP in 2012. Infant mortality was 63 per 1,000 live births in 2011 (137 in 1960). Lesotho is vulnerable to AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases. In 2013, 23 per cent of people aged 15–49 were HIV positive – the country has one of the world’s highest HIV infection rates. Health services are delivered primarily by the government and the Christian Health Association. There are a handful of private health care facilities, including the Maseru Private Hospital and a privately run military hospital.



There are 5,940 km of roads, 18 per cent paved. South African Railways runs a short freight line into Lesotho, terminating at the Maseru industrial estate. The international airport, Moshoeshoe I Airport, lies 20 km south of Maseru and there are 31 airstrips around the country for domestic flights.

Buses: Privately owned South African bus companies such as Big Sky Coaches and Greyhound run services between South Africa and Lesotho. The Road Transport Board licences domestic mini­buses. There are several private operators running buses in Lesotho, but a 2011 report by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development found that start-up costs were high for new operators, limiting competition in the sector.