Lesotho Facts


Lesotho, state of southern Africa; 30 355 km2, 2.1 million residents (2019).Lesotho is surrounded by South Africa and was created as a British protectorate named Basutoland in 1868. The capital is Maseru (330,800 residents, 2016).

Lesotho Country Flag

Country facts

  • Muso o Lesotho (sotho)
  • Kingdom of Lesotho (English) /
    Kingdom of Lesotho
  • Country abbreviation: LS
  • Area: 30 355 km2
  • Population (2019): 2.1 million residents
  • Capital: Maseru
  • Main languages: Sotho, English
  • State: Monarchy
  • Head of State: Letsie III (King)
  • Head of Government: Tom Thabane
  • Per capita GDP (2018): US $ 1,324
  • GNI per capita (2018): US $ 1,380
  • Currency unit: 1 lot = 100 licensees
  • Currency code: LSL
  • Country number (telephony): 266
  • Internet Domain Name: ls
  • Time difference compared to Sweden: +1
  • National Day: October 4 (Independence Day, 1966)

Nature

  • Land use: agricultural land (10%), other (90%)
  • Highest mountain: Thabana Ntlenyana (3,482 m asl)

Population

  • Population density (2019): 69 residents per km2
  • Natural population growth (2019): birth rate 27 ‰, death rate 15 ‰
  • Age structure (2019): 0-14 years (33%), 15-64 (62%), 65- (5%)
  • Average life expectancy (2019): men 50 years, women 56 years
  • Infant mortality (2019): 53 per 1,000 live births
  • Population forecast 2050: 3 million residents
  • HDI (2017): 0.520 (place 159 of 189)
  • Urbanization rate (2019): 28%
  • Most populous city (2016): Maseru (330,800 residents)

Business

  • Industry’s contribution to GDP (2017): agriculture (6%), industry (39%), service (55%)
  • Exports (2017): USD 1,028 million
  • Main export products: clothing, wool, livestock
  • Main exporting countries: South Africa, USA
  • Imports (2017): US $ 1 820 million
  • Main import products: food, building materials, vehicles
  • Main importing countries: South Africa, China, Taiwan
  • Rail networks: none in operation.

Lesotho is a high plateau and mountain landscape with a dry and cool climate. In winter, night frosts occur.

The country began a democratization in 1993, when a new constitution was adopted giving the king only symbolic function. Parliament is legislative. It consists of two chambers, one of which is a senate with 22 traditional chieftains and eleven members appointed by the ruling party, and partly by the National Assembly whose members are elected in direct elections for five years. The country became independent in 1966.

Although only 10% of the land area is suitable for permanent agriculture, this is the most important industry. The main food crops are corn and sorghum. Tourism has become increasingly important from the income and employment point of view. The country’s economy is dependent on the situation in South Africa, and as the South African gold mines cut their production, many Lesothian guest workers lost their jobs. However, during the 2000s, the own textile industry and diamond mining have emerged as an increasingly important source of income.

Lesotho Map

Lesotho Map

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