A Member of the WTO since May 1995, Lesotho is a landlocked country surrounded by the Republic of South Africa. The country has experienced economic and political changes over the last two decades.
The changes have involved shifts from dependence on subsistence agriculture and remittances, by the diaspora in South Africa, toward intensified mining, water exports, manufacturing exports, and services. The main exports from the country include manufactures (mainly textiles, clothing, footwear and other consumer goods); Agricultural products (food and raw materials); and, mining products. Lesotho’s main trade partners are mainly South Africa, United States (AGOA), Canada, the European Union and Madagascar.
In terms of the business environment, Lesotho ranked 136th out of 189 economies in the World Bank’s 2014 Doing Business Survey. The Government’s long-term development goals are reflected in its “Vision 2020”, issued in 2002; and, the National Strategic Development Plan (NSDP) approved in March 2012.
ITC’s on-going work in Lesotho aims to develop national capacity in the production and marketing of high-value Fresh Fruit and Vegetables (FFVs) and developing of value chains in the agriculture sector. This is important to the country as part of the SADC, SACU and Lesotho will benefit from the tripartite agreement covering SADC, COMESA and EAC. This new development will require serious negotiations on Trade Facilitation issues as well as attracting inward FDI for critical transformation.