Diplomatic relations and official representation
Canada and Lesotho diplomatic relations stretch back to Lesotho’s independence in 1966. Canada is represented in Lesotho by our High Commission in Pretoria, South Africa, and has an Honorary Consulate in Maseru, Lesotho’s capital.
Lesotho's first High Commissioner to Canada presented his credentials in Ottawa in 1967 and represented Lesotho on a non-resident basis from Washington D.C. Lesotho opened a High Commission in Ottawa in 1976. Lesotho also has an honorary consul based in Vancouver.
Canada and Lesotho have a long history of good bilateral relations based on Commonwealth ties and strong bonds created through development co-operation. A number of prominent Basotho have studied in Canada, including Prime Minister Pakalitha Mosisili. Both Prime Minister Mosisili and His Majesty King Letsie III visited Canada in 2009.
Following a ten year absence from Ottawa, Lesotho reopened its High Commission in Ottawa in 2006 in order to expand trade and better engage the Canadian government and NGOs.
Lesotho, as a member of the "front line states" during the struggle against Apartheid in South Africa, received significant aid from Canada via the Canadian International Development Agency. This development assistance program ended in the mid-1990's. Since then, funding for small scale development initiatives in priority areas have been available through the Canada Fund for Local Initiatives. In addition, Canada provides Lesotho with assistance through multilateral organisations.
Since 1964, CIDA has disbursed more than $185 million through its various delivery channels for development activities in Lesotho.
Bilateral trade between Canada and Lesotho is growing with trade volume almost doubling in 2010 from the previous year. This growth in trade is almost entirely due to an increase in the amount of knitwear that Canada imports from Lesotho, a result of the signing of a bilateral Memorandum of Understanding on the Least Developed Countries Market Access Initiative. This MOU promotes investment and economic development through duty-free and quota-free access to the Canadian market for exports from Lesotho, thereby promoting economic growth. Canadian exports to Lesotho are relatively modest.
Investment opportunities in Lesotho are expanding. A good portion of Lesotho's major projects are funded by large financial institutions such as the World Bank. Cumulative Canadian mining assets in Lesotho were $25.5 million in 2010.
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