Canada - Lesotho Relations
Diplomatic relations and official representation
Canada and Lesotho diplomatic relations stretch back to Lesotho’s independence in 1966. Canada is accredited to Lesotho by the High Commission in Pretoria, South Africa.
Following a ten year absence from Ottawa, Lesotho reopened its High Commission in Ottawa in 2006 in order to expand trade and better engage with the Canadian government and NGOs. 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.
Recent high-level visits include: Prime Minister Mosisili and His Majesty King Letsie III visited Canada in 2009; in 2013, a Parliamentary delegation from Lesotho visited Canada, meeting with the Canada-Africa Parliamentary Association; the Queen of Lesotho visited Canada in 2014; and in 2015, a delegation from the Canada-Africa Parliamentary Association visited Lesotho.
In 2003, Canada and Lesotho signed 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. The total two-way merchandise trade between Canada and Lesotho equalled almost CAD $5.9 million in 2014 (Statistics Canada).
The balance of trade is largely favourable to Lesotho with total merchandise imports from Lesotho amounting to CAD $5.9 million in 2014. Canada imported CAD $5.35 million worth of textiles and textile articles, with the majority being articles of apparel. The remainder of the merchandise imports are electrical machinery and equipment.
In 2014, total Canadian merchandise exports to Lesotho reached CAD $350,000. The majority of exports are automobile and machinery parts.
A good portion of Lesotho's major projects are funded by large financial institutions such as the World Bank.
According to Citizenship and Immigration Canada, 14 Basotho were studying in Canada in 2014.
Lesotho, as a member of the "front line states" during the struggle against Apartheid in South Africa, received significant aid from Canada via the former Canadian International Development Agency. Since the mid-1990's, Canada has not maintained a significant development assistance program in Lesotho.
Lesotho may benefit from various DFATD delivery channels such as the Pan African Regional Program; Multilateral and Global Programs including the International Humanitarian Assistance Program; and Partnerships for Development Innovations programs that support efforts of selected Canadian institutions, associations and non-governmental organizations working in developing countries. Local organizations can apply for support from the Canada Fund for Local Initiatives.
In 2012-13, DFATD provided $3.48 million in development assistance to Lesotho.
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