Donate Now Contact us Sitemap
Keywords: emergency relieffood crisiswatoto
Other countries: > Country Profiles

Area: 30,355 sq km
Population: 2 million
Languages: Sesotho, English
Religions: Christian
GNI per capita: US$1080
Currency: 1 loti (L) = 100 lisente
Lesotho’s founding can be traced back to when King Moshoeshoe I (1786-1870) established the Kingdom. He invited the British to protect his country in 1868. The country became an independent constitutional monarchy in 1966 after holding its first democratic elections in 1965. Since independence, there have been four military coups and 23 years of authoritarian rule, including seven years of military government. The position of king has been reduced to a symbolic and unifying role. 
Lesotho’s climate contrasts with the hot conditions found in many African countries. Summers are warm, but because of the high altitude and the country’s position south of the equator, winters are cold. At times, temperatures even drop below zero.
Lesotho is a small, landlocked country surrounded entirely by South Africa. Life is a struggle for almost everyone due to poor farmland, lack of industry, and limited natural resources. Lesotho is heavily dependent upon South Africa for manufactured goods, transportation links, and employment. With few jobs in Lesotho, many men go to work in South Africa’s gold mines. This means women have had to take on more responsibility for managing the households.
Poverty is deep and widespread, with the UN describing 40% of the population as "ultra-poor". Food output has been hit by the deaths from Aids of farmers. 

Economic woes have been compounded by the scrapping of a global textile quota system which exposed producers to Asian competition. Thousands of jobs in the industry have been lost.