The Kingdom of Lesotho is a small country, landlocked by the region’s largest economy, South Africa.
Considered a lower middle income country, Lesotho relies less on external aid than other sub-Saharan African countries, but poverty and income inequality remain high due mainly to a stagnating growth and an economy highly dependent on its main external partners, South Africa and the United States. Meanwhile, the country’s limited natural resources and small agricultural sector are suffering the effects of climate change (drought and soil erosion).
Moreover, Lesotho’s HIV/AIDS rate is one of the highest in the world (23%) and the country suffers from recurrent insecurity and political fragility.
Ever since Lesotho gained independence in 1966 it has maintained a stable and positive relationship with the EU, however, it has also experienced recurrent domestic political instability. Although no Member State has a permanent diplomatic mission in Lesotho, delegated cooperation is possible with their funding agencies, and these are considered as part of this MIP. Our priority areas for cooperation are:
Green and resilient economy – we will support Government initiatives to move towards a circular economy, especially in the areas of energy, water, and sanitation. Improving these areas will promote the creation of decent jobs and economic growth as well as improve population health.
Good governance, peaceful and just society – the aim is to support measures that help overcome political instability, reduce adverse practices, and improve democratic structures and Government services. Gender-based issues are also of importance.
Our programmes in relation to the Green and Resilient Economywill focus on specific objectives regarding the water sector and energy. The former will aim to provide access to safe, sustainable, and affordable water; improve water and land management in order to become climate resilient, and strengthen the water sector’s capacities to improve service cooperation within and across the national borders. The latter will aim to improve energy security and access to reliable and clean energy; increase access across all sectors and improve energy sector leadership.
In relation to Good governance, a peaceful and just society, three specific objectives have been specified. The first concerns enhancing political stability and trust in the system; the second targets upgraded social protection systems; while the third aims to improve the quality of data used in government decision making.
Support measures and TEI initiatives
EU Support measures will aim to enhance the capacity of CSOs to engage in national governance and to establish a cooperation facility in order to enhance joint programming with Lesotho.
The Green Deal TEI targets the green transformation of Lesotho’s economy with aims that are in line with Lesotho’s own national development plans. In particular, it targets the provision of clean water and sanitation; providing decent work and economic growth; providing affordable and clean energy; supporting climate action, and improving life on the land.
In total, €83m has been committed for the 2021-2024 period, with €63m (76%) spent on the green and resilient economy, €12m (14%) on the governance area, and €8m (10%) on support measures.