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Lesotho Update Summer 2008

Lesotho Update Summer 2008

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Published by: simguybar on Feb 17, 2009
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    L    E    S    O    T    H    O     U    P    D    A    T    E
Te second phase of the ambitious multi-billion dollar Le-sotho Highlands Water Project (LHWP) is set to begin in2009 with the construction of the Polohali Dam 230 milesnorth of Maseru and a 20-mile long tunnel connecting thedam to the Katse Reservoir.
 e project, of unprecedented scale in Africa, will increaseLesothos capacity as a regional exporter of water, and will ex-pand the Muela hydropower station in the northern districtof Botha-Bothe to generate an additional 100 megawatts of electricity for domestic use. In addition, access roads, feederroads and bridges will be built and telecommunications andelectricity lines upgraded.e Governments of Lesotho and South Africa decided inDecember 2008 to proceed with Phase II, estimated at a costof $710 million. South Africa’s Minister of Water Affairs andForestry, Ms. Lindiwe Hendricks, said the new phase wasnecessary to ensure water security in the Gauteng/Johannes-burg area, which is expected to increase its water needs by more than 30% over the next 20 years.e LHWP is Africa’s largest water project, consisting of asystem of dams and tunnels to store and transfer water fromthe catchment area of the Orange River in the highlands of Lesotho over 300 miles to Gauteng, the industrial heartlandof South Africa. Over 40% of South Africa’s population of 44.3 million live in Gauteng, which accounts for almost 60%of the country’s industrial output and 80% of its mining out-put.In Phase 1A, completed in 1998, the Katse Dam was builtas well as the Matsoku weir and tunnel to transport waterfrom the Matsoku River to the Katse Reservoir. e 110-megawatt Muela hydroelectic power station was also builtalong with a 30-mile tunnel between the Katse Reservoir andthe power station. A third tunnel was constructed to draw
Te Katse Dam, completed as part of Phase 1 in 1998, is Africa’s highest at 607 feet 
Continued on page two
Prime Minister PakalithaMosisili was elected firstVice Chair of the AfricanUnion (AU) at the open-ing of the 12th ordinary session of the AU’s Assem-bly of the Heads of Stateand Government in AddisAbaba, Ethiopia, in Febru-ary.
President MoammarGadhaffi of Libya was elect-ed to chair the AU in 2009.He succeeds Tanzanianleader, President JakayaKikwete.e election puts Lesothoin a good position to take over as Chair of the AU in nextyear’s election and contributes further to Lesotho’s growingprominence in Africa.In recent years, Lesotho has established itself as a leadtrade negotiator within the Southern African DevelopmentCommunity (SADC) and as the Chair of the 32-memberLeast Developed Countries (LDC) group at the World TradeOrganization (WTO). In February 2008, the LDC group metin Lesotho and signed the Maseru Declaration outlining theLDC’s objectives for the WTO Doha Round.At the AU summit in February, Prime Minister Mosisilireported on the great strides Lesotho had taken in develop-ing its infrastructure, in particular the development of thecountry’s road and bridge network. Lesotho’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Mohlabi Tsekoa, joined with other Af-rican ministers to discuss the creation of an African UnionAuthority as the next step towards regional unity.Since being elected in 1998, Prime Minister Mosisili hasaggressively courted foreign direct investment in Lesotho by instituting business and investment friendly policies. In ad-dition, he has helped establish Lesotho as Africa’s top export-er of apparel by vigorously embracing the opportunity pre-sented by the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA)to access the US market.In 2007, Lesotho exported over $443 million in goods tothe United States, with textiles and apparel accounting for$383.6 million of that sum. e industry employs about46,000 Basutho, more than 80% of whom are women.Under Prime Minister Mosisili, Lesotho was included inthe first group of countries to be judged eligible for fundsfrom the US Millennium Challenge Account (MCA), basedupon indicators measuring good governance, economic free-dom and investment in people. In 2007, Lesotho signed anMCA compact worth $362.5 million with the US.
Prime Minister Pakalitha Mosisili

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