Amid lucrative exports of natural resources, Basotho overwhelmingly feel left out

Macroeconomics and markets

Basotho overwhelmingly believe that the export of diamonds, water, and wool does not benefit ordinary citizens, the most recent Afrobarometer survey shows. Indeed, though rich in natural resources, the country’s mountainous areas also record higher lived poverty and poorer access to basic infrastructure than other regions. The survey also shows that a majority of Basotho went without enough food and clean water at least once during the previous 12 months.

These findings suggest that new approaches to the exploitation and sharing of the country’s natural resources are needed.
The data were collected in February-March 2020, just as African countries began reporting their first cases of the coronavirus. While Lesotho had recorded fewer than 50 deaths due to COVID-19 as of October 2020, global economic pressures as a result of the pandemic are likely to affect the country’s economic outlook and performance.