Maseru landscape

Lesotho : History

The Kingdom of Lesotho is a small country that sits high above sea level. It is entirely surrounded by South Africa, separated from the larger country by mountain ranges. Most of Lesotho’s population lives on lower land to the west. 

Key facts

  • Region: Africa
  • Population: 2.1 million (2018) 
  • Area: 30,350 square kilometres 
  • Capital: Maseru 
  • Joined Commonwealth: 1966, following independence from Britain 
  • Commonwealth Youth Index: 47 out of 49 countries 

Secretariat support for Lesotho 


The Secretariat is helping the Lesotho government fight corruption. One strategy is to publicise bids and contracts when it buys goods and services. 

With Commonwealth help, Lesotho has made progress in implementing anti-corruption plans. It has a relatively good score on Transparency International’s Corruption Perception Index. 


Lesotho has used the Commonwealth Education Policy Framework to help it improve governance and capacity in its education system. 

The Secretariat is working with Lesotho to address problems in boys’ education. 

Gender equality 

The Secretariat helped Lesotho collect data to measure the economic cost of violence against women and girls (VAWG). It developed a tool to measure this cost, with Lesotho as the second case study. 


In December 2019, the Secretariat experts worked with Lesotho to review its trade policy. They also helped the country explore new products and new markets for export. 

Natural resources 

The Secretariat advised Lesotho on engaging with the International Seabed Authority (ISA) more successfully. It helped the country learn about its legal responsibilities, ISA regulations and the ISA payment system. 

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