Foreign Affairs and International Relations
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By 2025, Lesotho will be a peaceful, prosperous and globally competitive country.
To project, promote and protect Lesotho’s interests and image globally through innovative diplomacy, and contribute towards a just, peaceful and equitable world.
Mandate and functions of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Relations
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Relations is responsible for promoting and effectively representing Lesotho internationally, in order to attain sustainable development for the benefit of Basotho.
Departments of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Relations
In order to carry out its lofty mandate, the Ministry is organized into two programs, namely; Administration and International Cooperation. Administration incorporates the Offices of the Minister, the Principal Secretary and the supporting directorates; and is responsible for providing strategic direction and policy guidance as well as the financial and material resources necessary for the International Cooperation Directorates to carry out their mandate.
The international cooperation directorates are divided into two categories of bilateral and multilateral cooperation, and are responsible for managing Lesotho’s relations with other countries as well as regional and international organisations.
- Political Affairs- Africa and the Middle East
- Asia and the Pacific Realm
- Europe and Americas
- Multilateral Affairs
- Policy and Research
- Legal Affairs
- Consular Affairs
- Diaspora Affairs
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs was established immediately after the political independence of Lesotho in 1966. Lesotho became independent at a time of significant global, regional and sub-regional uncertainties and instabilities. These uncertainties are due to: first, the politics of the Cold War and the competing interests of the super-powers which divided the globe into two rival ideological blocs, raising a serious prospect of nuclear military confrontation. Second, the social and political fluidity in the developing world, caused by the wars of decolonisation and the unconstitutional changes of government, particularly in Africa, were marked by military coups and wide-spread dictatorships. And third, the social, economic and military overtures posed by the system of Apartheid threatened the development, stability and independence of the states neighbouring South Africa, like Lesotho.
As a country which has only the Republic of South Africa as its neighbour, Lesotho relied heavily on the support of the international community and therefore placed great value on the Ministry of Foreign Affairs as an instrument of her policy to mobilise the necessary economic and political support from the international community and to ensure her survival as an independent sovereign state.
From the humble beginnings of two diplomatic missions abroad, understandably, one in the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, and the other at the seat of the United Nations in New York, USA; the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has, today, grown significantly in coverage, to a total of twenty (15) Missions abroad, including four (4) Consulates.
The Missions are located in the areas and countries that have strategic partnerships with Lesotho. However due to limitations of resources, the Ministry has not been able to establish Missions in all countries where it would have desired to do so.
At inception, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs was concerned primarily with political issues, specifically aimed at ensuring the survival of Lesotho amid a volatile and uncertain security environment, particularly in the Southern Africa Region. However, following the end of the Cold War and the demise of Apartheid in the early 1990s, the key objectives and focus of the Ministry underwent fundamental overhaul, placing more emphasis on trade facilitation and mobilization of resources for economic development, including Official Development Assistance, Foreign Direct Investment, negotiation of economic partnerships, facilitation of employment of Basotho in International Organisations and procurement of placements for Lesotho Citizens in academic institutions of friendly foreign countries.
It is because of this fundamental change of focus that in 2007, the name of the Ministry was officially changed to “the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Relations”. This was to take into account the expanded mandate of the ministry which was no longer limited to political issues but covered a wider spectrum of Lesotho’s national interests.
Since 2007, it will be noted again that the two greatest challenges facing the Ministry have been those of resource constraints and the need to professionalise the Foreign Service, to equip the staff with the necessary skills they require to deliver on the diverse objectives and responsibilities of the Ministry. Over time, the ministry has continued to grow significantly in terms of staff complement, scope of activities and therefore logistical and resource requirements.
- Provision of economic and political advice
- Negotiation of bilateral agreements
- Mobilisation of ODA
- Facilitation of Economic growth and development initiatives
- Promotion of International relations and Joint Bilateral Commissions of Cooperation
- Facilitation of trade and investment promotion
- Liaison between missions, line ministries and parastatals
- Negotiation of Multilateral Agreements
- Signing, Ratification and accession of agreements
- Summits, Conferences and Meetings
- Coordination of participation of people in the Diaspora in Lesotho’s development efforts
Lesotho Missions Abroad
- Lesotho New York
- Lesotho Washington
- Lesotho London
- Lesotho Addis Ababa
- Lesotho Ottawa
- Lesotho Berlin
- Lesotho Brussels
- Lesotho Geneva
- Lesotho Rome
- Lesotho Beijing
- Lesotho Pretoria
- Lesotho Dublin
- Lesotho New Delhi
- Lesotho Tokyo
- Lesotho Kuwai
|Names:||The Honourable Mr Lejone Mpotjoane, MP|
|Position:||Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Relations|