Lesotho, officially the Kingdom of Lesotho, is an enclaved, landlocked country in southern Africa completely surrounded by 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 are Maseru. Lesotho is a member of the United Nations, the Commonwealth of Nations and the Southern African Development Community (SADC). The name Lesotho translates roughly into the land of the people who speak Sesotho. About 40% of the population lives below the international poverty line of US $1.25 a day.
Lesotho is geographically surrounded by South Africa and economically integrated with it as well. The economy of Lesotho is based on agriculture, livestock, manufacturing, 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, primary 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 earn income through informal crop cultivation or animal husbandry with nearly two-thirds of the country's income coming from the agricultural sector.
The country's financial system includes 4 commercial banks (40 branches), as well as various non-bank financial institutions (NBFIs) such as money lenders, 7 insurance companies, private pension funds, unit trusts, and Savings and Credits Cooperatives (SACCOs). The overall assets of the non-bank financial institutions (NBFIs), as a whole, are significant, standing at 31.7% of GDP in 2010, with insurance and pension funds being the two largest subsectors each with asset size at 14% of GDP. The sector grew by 8.7% of GDP from 2007 to 2010, faster than the pace (5.3% of GDP) of the formal commercial banking sector in the same period. The number of operative NBFIs in 2010 reached 235, compared with 185 in 2007.
Despite the crisis commercial banks continue to be well capitalized, liquid and profitable. Lack of competition, important transaction costs, and relatively high-interest rate spread still encumber the banking sector. The share of non-performing loans to total gross loans was 4% in 2009 and decreased to 2.9% in 2011. The credit to deposit ratio increased from 35% in 2010 to 41% in 2011.
|Agriculture||Maize, wheat, pulses, sorghum, barley.|
|Manufacture||Diamonds, textiles, construction, beverages, food processing.|
|Services (Including financial)||60.1% (2017 est.)|
|Central Bank of Lesotho||Financial|
|Lesotho Sun Hotel||Hospitality|
|Computer Business Solutions (CBS)||Technology|
|Lesotho Post Bank||Financial|
In the last few years, Lesotho has made significant progress in macroeconomic performance (strong GDP growth, fiscal surplus, current account surplus, and high international reserves). Nevertheless, Lesotho remains exposed to economic developments in South Africa (through the monetary union and the pegged exchange rate) and relies heavily on workers’ remittances, customs revenues from SACU, and royalties for transfer of water to South Africa.
Lesotho’s the vulnerability arises from two main sources: its huge dependence on textile exports to the US and on revenues from SACU (60% of total revenues). Firstly, the USA is Lesotho’s largest importer of its manufacturing exports (mainly textiles), and the recession lowered the aggregate demand by US consumers. Secondly, a slowdown in South Africa is likely to have a significant impact on remittances and SACU revenues. The recent large SACU transfers are in fact mostly due to growth in South African imports. Lower South African imports will therefore negatively affect Lesotho’s revenue stream. Similarly, retrenchments in South Africa will lower workers’ remittances towards Lesotho.
SACU revenues are expected to decline in the next two years, resulting in the current account moving from surplus to deficit. Lesotho’s challenge is to reposition itself to take advantage of its proximity to SA markets, improve the efficiency of public resources, and exploit the potential of non-traditional sectors.
The loti (plural: maloti) is the currency of the Kingdom of Lesotho. It is subdivided into 100 lisente (sg. sente). It is pegged to the South African rand on a 1:1 basis through the Common Monetary Area and both are accepted as legal tender within Lesotho. The loti was first issued in 1966, albeit as a non-circulating currency. In 1980, Lesotho issued its first coins denominated in both loti and lisente to replace the South African rand of Lesotho, though the Rand remains legal tender.
Coins in circulation are: 5 lisente, 10 lisente, 20 lisente, 50 lisente, 1 loti, 2 maloti, and 5 maloti.
In January 1980, banknotes dated 1979 (the last two digits of the year of issue are the serial number prefix denominator) were introduced in denominations of 2, 5 and 10 maloti. 20 and 50 maloti notes were added in 1981, followed by 100 and 200 maloti in 1994.
On 1 March 2011, at a celebration marking its 30th anniversary, the Central Bank of Lesotho launched a new series of banknotes dated 2010 aimed at fighting the spread of counterfeits. The notes feature a portrait of the three royal family members: the current king, His Majesty Letsie III is in the middle, his father King Moshoeshoe II is on the left, and the founder of the Basotho nation, King Moshoeshoe I, on the right.
|National Song||"Lesotho Fatse La Bontata Rona"|
|Currency||Lesotho loti (LSL)|
|GDP / GDP Rank||6.976 Billion USD|
|GDP Growth Rate||2.5 Percent|
|GDP Per Captial||$3601.409 (PPP)|
< 1.0% Muslims
< 1.0% Hindus
< 1.0% Buddhists
< 1.0% Jews
< 1.0% Other Religions
And Other 0.3%
King – Letsie III
Prime Minister – Tom Thabane
|Website||Go to the web|
|Public Debt||47.787 Percent|
|Unemployment Rate||27.423 Percent|
|Labor Force (Occupation)||-|