lesotho loti currency money green cash bills notes

Lesotho Currency Spotlight

In Business and Currency by Continental StaffLeave a Comment

The Lesotho loti is a relatively new currency that, like the economy it represents, is heavily dependent on its South African counterpart.

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  • Symbol: L or M (pl.)
  • Currency Code: LSL
  • Subunit: sente (1/100)
  • Coins: 1, 2, 5, 10, 20, 50 lisente, L1, M2, M5
  • Banknotes: M10, M20, M50, M100, M200
  • Lesotho GDP (nominal): US$2.439 billion
  • Inflation: 6.8%
  • Central Bank: Central Bank of Lesotho
  • Peg: South African rand (1:1)

History

While it first came into existence in 1966, the loti was a non-circulating currency until the year 1980. It was pushed in order to replace the use of the South African rand, however both currencies are now legal tender within Lesotho.

Value

The LSL is pegged on par with the ZAR. As such, all movements and fluctuations with the LSL are dependent on the fortunes of the South African currency.

USD US dollar LSL Lesotho loti

CAD Canadian dollar LSL Lesotho loti

Coins

The initial coins were introduced in 1980 (though they were dated 1979). Since then, further coins have been introduced in 1996 and 1998.

Notes

While the initial series of banknotes entered circulation in 1980, the current series was dated in 2010 (with the M200 note dated 2015). Like the coins, the actual issue date was a year later; 2011 and 2016 respectively.

ValueColourObverseReverse
M10Red and yellowMokorotlo hat registration device; King Moshoeshoe II, King Letsie III, and King Moshoeshoe I; Lesotho coat of armsCosmos flowers
M20Purple and light blueMokorotlo hat registration device; King Moshoeshoe II, King Letsie III, and King Moshoeshoe I; Lesotho coat of armsBasotho huts (mokhoro)
M50VioletMokorotlo hat registration device; King Moshoeshoe II, King Letsie III, and King Moshoeshoe I; Lesotho coat of armsMen on horseback
M100GreenMokorotlo hat registration device; King Moshoeshoe II, King Letsie III, and King Moshoeshoe I; Lesotho coat of armsShepherd with flock
M200OrangeMokorotlo hat registration device; King Moshoeshoe II, King Letsie III, and King Moshoeshoe I; Lesotho coat of armsMan on horse

Source: Wikipedia

Economy

The economy of Lesotho is based around agriculture, livestock, and mining – with some manufacturing as well. Water and diamonds are considered the most valuable (and only significant) natural resources. The widespread Lesotho Highlands Water Project should eventually make the country self sufficient when it comes to energy, while also allowing them to sell excess power to South Africa. Indeed, Lesotho is heavily dependent on South Africa for trade and mining/hydro operations.

The late 90’s saw violence that destroyed much of the manufacturing and commercial base in Maseru. While many issues still exist, the country’s fortunes have improved since then. Despite this, Lesotho remains low on the Human Development Index.

lesotho currency man loti horseback red money cash bill notes 10

The Bottom Line

Ambitious energy projects should help Lesotho grow, but will it be enough for future development?


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