Lesotho | Facts & Information

Updated September 9, 2022 | Infoplease Staff
Infoplease has everything you need to know about Lesotho. Check out our country profile, full of essential information about Lesotho's geography, history, government, economy, population, culture, religion and languages. If that's not enough, click over to our collection of world maps and flags.

Facts & Figures

  • Sovereign: King Letsie III (1996)

    Prime Minister: Pakalitha Mosisili (2015)

    Total area: 11,718 sq mi (30,350 sq km)

    Population (2014 est.): 1,942,008 (growth rate: 0.34%); birth rate: 25.92/1000; infant mortality rate: 50.48/1000; life expectancy: 52.65

    Capital and largest city (2011 est.): Maseru 239,000

    Monetary unit: Maluti

    Current government officials

    Languages: English, Sesotho (both official); Zulu, Xhosa

    Ethnicity/race: Sotho 99.7%, Europeans, Asians, and other 0.3%

    Religions: Christian 80%, indigenous beliefs 20%

    National Holiday: Independence Day, October 4

    Literacy rate: 89.6% (2010 est.)

    Economic summary: GDP/PPP (2013 est.): $4.265 billion; per capita $2,200. Real growth rate: 4.1%. Inflation: 5.0%. Unemployment: 25% (2008). Arable land: 10.14%. Agriculture: corn, wheat, pulses, sorghum, barley; livestock. Labor force: 874,200 (2013); 86% of resident population engaged in subsistence agriculture; roughly 35% of the active male wage earners work in South Africa; industry and services 14%. Industries: food, beverages, textiles, apparel assembly, handicrafts, construction, tourism. Natural resources: water, agricultural and grazing land, diamonds, sand, clay, building stone. Exports: $941.2 million (2013 est.): manufactures 75% (clothing, footwear, road vehicles), wool and mohair, food and live animals. Imports: $2.148 billion (2013 est.): food; building materials, vehicles, machinery, medicines, petroleum products. Major trading partners: U.S., Canada, UK, Hong Kong, China, India, South Korea, Germany (2004).

    Member of Commonwealth of Nations

    Communications: Telephones: main lines in use: 43,100 (2012); mobile cellular: 1.312 million (2011). Broadcast media: 1 state-owned TV station and 2 state-owned radio stations; government controls most private broadcast media; satellite TV subscription service available; transmissions of multiple international broadcasters obtainable (2008). Internet Service Providers (ISPs): 11,030 (2012). Internet users: 76,800 (2009).

    Transportation: Railways: none. Highways: total: 5,940 km; paved: 1,069 km; unpaved: 4,871 km (2011). Ports and harbors: none. Airports: 24 (2013).

    International disputes: South Africa has placed military units to assist police operations along the border of Lesotho, Zimbabwe, and Mozambique to control smuggling, poaching, and illegal migration.

    Major sources and definitions