Lesotho Basic Information

By | July 21, 2022
Basic data
Capital Masseur
Population 2.17 million
Language English (official language), Sesotho, Zulu, Xhosa
Religion Christianity (80%), traditional religion (20%), other religion (less than 1%)
State system constitutional monarchy
Head of State King Letsia III
Head of government Dr. Moeketsi Major
Currency name Lesotho Loti (LSL)

Lesotho Basic Information

Travel
Time shift +1 hour (in summer +0 hours)
Economy 2021
Nominal GDP (billion USD) 6,7
Economic growth (%) 1.3
Inflation (%) 6
Unemployment (%) ON

The Kingdom of Lesotho is a politically unstable landlocked country in southern Africa. The polity is a constitutional monarchy. The bicameral parliament consists of a 22-member Senate and a 120-seat National Assembly. The government is formed by the prime minister on the authority of the king based on the results of the general election, but none of the recent series of governments has proven viable. The local political elite is primarily engaged in internal political struggle, where politically motivated murders are no exception, and the will and means to implement reforms are lacking. Check cancermatters to learn more about Lesotho political system.

Lesotho has been struggling with negative economic growth since 2017, which understandably culminated in 2020, the year most affected by the pandemic, when the Lesotho economy showed an economic decline of 9.6% of GDP. Moderate growth of no more than 2% of GDP is expected in the past year, and the outlook for 2022-23 is in the range of 3-4% of GDP. The expected growth is mainly driven by the increased demand for diamonds and investments in the medical cannabis sector, for which Lesotho has very favorable conditions. Lesotho’s currency is tied to neighboring South Africa, and the Lesotho central bank essentially copies the steps taken by the South African central bank, while the latter raises interest rates relatively rapidly due to global trends.

The development of business and the influx of foreign investment are hampered by corruption, a rigid regulatory environment and an unstable political situation. The main export items are traditionally clothes and diamonds. The key export destination for Lesotho’s production is South Africa (39%), further exports go to the European Union (30%), under the preferential regime of the EU-SADC EPA Economic Partnership Agreement, and the United States (27%), where Lesotho uses preferential regime based on the so-called African Growth & Opportunity Act (AGOA). The economy is linked to the economy of South Africa, where more than 80% of all imports into Lesotho come from. The local currency, the Lesotho loti, has its exchange rate firmly linked to the South African rand. The country is a member of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) and the Southern African Customs Union (SACU).┬áCheck prozipcodes for Lesotho defense and foreign policy.

More than half of the population lives in extreme poverty. The country has the second highest proportion of people infected with HIV/AIDS in the world (after Swaziland and Botswana), with around 25% of the adult population infected. In the World Economic Forum’s competitiveness ranking, the country is in 131st place, while in the World Bank’s Doing Business ranking, Lesotho is in 122nd place. In Transparency International’s corruption perception ranking, Lesotho has fallen to 100th place out of 180 countries evaluated. The Fitch agency rates Lesotho’s B credit rating with a negative outlook, other agencies (S&P, Moody’s) do not comment on the quality of Lesotho’s debt. Lesotho is ranked #6/7 in the OECD credit risk rating. Bilateral relations are at a low level, although smooth. Trade exchange between the Czech Republic and Lesotho is marginal.

This Summary Territorial Information is processed for a country that is so-called accredited. The information is provided in a basic scope.

Basic information about the territory

Subchapters:

  • System of governance and political tendencies in the country
  • Foreign policy of the country
  • Population

The system of governance and political tendencies in the country

Official name of the state, brief commentary on the system of government, political tendencies and estimated outlook, composition of the government.

Foreign policy of the country

Relations with other countries (primarily from the EIU)

Population

Brief commentary, including population, demographic composition, ethnic composition, population density, religion.