Lesotho Country Report
Following elections in June 2017, political instability risks are very high as Prime Minister Thomas Thabane's predecessors incite supporters, including factions in parliament and of the Lesotho Defence Force, to disrupt investigations into political assassinations and implementation of multi-sectoral reforms recommended by the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC). To mitigate coup risks while reforms are rolled out, SADC will deploy a battalion-strong contingent force in the three-month outlook. Economically, continued access to trade benefits under the US's AGOA facility will be dependent on successful completion of SADC recommended reforms. Further, spillovers from slower growth in South Africa will weigh on landlocked Lesotho, which also remains highly dependent ondeclining Southern African Customs Union transfers.
Lesotho is landlocked but has adequate infrastructural links, especially with its larger neighbour South Africa. Lesotho's proximity to South Africa and eligibility for various preferential trade agreements have allowed it to attract investors interested in exporting locally produced goods to larger markets without high tariffs. However, the recurring political instability is undermining Lesotho's eligibility for the US African Growth and Opportunity Act preferential trade scheme, in turn raising risks of demonstrations from workers particularly in the textile and garment sector.
No major organised non-state armed groups are active in Lesotho. Lesotho has suffered intermittent incidents of political violence, including alleged coup attempts in 2014 and more recently, gun attacks against political and security figures, such as the army chief in September 2017. Political assassination attempts are likely to continue as the government pursues investigations in such killings and reforms that target the security sector, but an SADC military deployment will mitigate risks of any coordinated attacks or military insurrection.
Lesotho, which is surrounded by South Africa, does not face an external threat of war. However, recurrent political instability has drawn intervention from the Southern African Development Community (SADC) led by South Africa, which in September 2017 decided to deploy a battalion-strong contingent force following the assassination of the army chief. The SADC deployment, slated for November 2017, will mitigate risks of fighting between rival military factions as Thabane's government resumes SADC-recommended security sector reforms.
As Prime Minister Thomas Thabane rolls out SADC recommended reforms, there is an elevated risk that his predecessors, Mothetjoa Metsing and Pakalitha Mosisili, will incite members of their respective parties – Lesotho Congress for Democracy and Democratic Congress – and allies in the security forces to stage demonstrations or boycott parliament so as to undermine Thabane's government. There are also elevated risks of demonstrations organised by workers and civil society groups over any further delays in governance reforms, which would risk Lesotho's eligibility for US AGOA benefits.
Vaccinations required to enter the country
Proof of vaccination against yellow fever is required for travelers over nine months and for travelers who have been in transit >12 hours in an airport located in a country with risk of yellow fever transmission.
Hepatitis A: A vaccine is available for anyone over one year of age. The vaccine may not be effective for certain people, e.g. those born before 1945 and who lived as a child in a developing country and/or have a past history of jaundice (icterus). These people can instead get a shot of immune globulin (IG) to boost their immunity against the disease.
Hepatitis B: A vaccine is available for children at least two months old.
Diphtheria-Tetanus-Polio: A booster shot should be administered if necessary (once every ten years).
Typhoid Fever: If your travels take you to regions with poor sanitary conditions (for children two years old and up).
Rabies: For prolonged stays in an isolated region (for children from when they can walk).
For Children: All standard childhood immunizations should be up-to-date. In the case of a long stay, the BCG vaccine is recommended for children over one month and the MMR (measles-mumps-rubella) vaccine for children over nine months.
Lesotho's climate is tropical and the country experiences two seasons, a dry season that lasts from May until September and a rainy season from October until April. In the winter (July-August), temperatures fall significantly as elevations increase and snow is relatively common. In the summer, days are pleasant but nights are often cool. Floods are common during the rainy season and in the winter months.
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