What is LSL

LSL is the International Organization for Standardization (ISO)  currency code for the Lesotho loti, which is the official currency of the Kingdom of Lesotho. ISO currency codes are three-letter alphabetic codes that represent the various currencies used throughout the world.


LSL, or the Lesotho loti, is subdivided into 100 lisente subunits, the fractional equivalent of 100 pennies to 1 U.S. dollar. The currency is pegged to the South African rand at par through South Africa’s Common Monetary Area. Currency rankings show that the most popular Lesotho loti exchange rate is the U.S. dollar to the LSL.

The Common Monetary Area, or CMA, was established in 1986 by the Kingdom of Lesotho, Swaziland and the Republic of South Africa. Its intent was to establish an exchange rate and monetary system within the three countries. Namibia joined the CMA in 1992, two years after gaining its political independence from South Africa.

The ultimate outcome of the CMA is that it established the South African rand as the common currency between all four countries, while giving the three smaller countries their own national currencies. The CMA was also intended to facilitate trade between the member nations, while pegging each local currency to the rand was done to help ensure price stability in the region.

Lesotho Loti Denominations

LSL coins are issued in denominations of 1, 2, 5, 10, 20 and 50 lisente, and 1, 2 and 5 loti. LSL banknotes are issued in denominations of 10, 20, 50, 100 and 200 loti. The loti appears with one of two alphabetical symbols: L for loti, or M for maloti, which is the plural form of loti.

Early History of the LSL Currency

The loti was first introduced to the Kingdom of Lesotho in 1966 as a non-circulating currency, meaning that the coin does not circulate because of its rarity or because its melt point is worth more than the coin itself. While a merchant must accept it as payment since it is legal tender, a non-circulating currency can be worth and sold for well above its face value. Lesotho issued its first coins and paper notes denominated in loti and lisente in 1980, although the currency itself was dated with the year 1979. Although the loti was intended to be a replacement for the South African rand, the latter currency is still legal tender today in the Kingdom of Lesotho. The original loti banknotes were very colorful, had multiple different designs, and came in several different sizes. Nevertheless, the notes were often counterfeited, prompting the release of a new issue of the banknotes in 2011.