Germany and the Kingdom of Lesotho have enjoyed diplomatic relations based on mutual trust since the latter gained independence in 1966. The two countries work together closely in international bodies, especially the United Nations. Even after the closure of the German Embassy in Maseru in 1994, Lesotho maintained its embassy in Bonn and then in Berlin. At the beginning of 2005, Germany and France opened a joint consular office in the Alliance Française building in Maseru. Since mid-2014, EU member states have no longer had their own embassies in Maseru. They are now represented exclusively by the Delegation of the European Union. The only exception is the UK, which opened a new bilateral embassy in Maseru in May 2019 due to Brexit and its desire to revitalise the Commonwealth.
In April 2013, King Letsie III paid an official visit to Germany accompanied by his wife, Queen Masenate Mohato Seeiso. In Berlin, the royal couple met then Federal President Joachim Gauck and then Governing Mayor Klaus Wowereit. Their programme also included a number of engagements in Lower Saxony. The Queen had previously visited Germany in 2008, together with then Foreign Affairs Minister Mohlabi Tsekoa.
Bilateral development cooperation between Lesotho and Germany has largely ended. Germany will nonetheless remain engaged in Lesotho through regional cooperation with the Southern African Development Community (SADC). In mid-2016, for example, a new project to improve civic education and participation was launched with support from the European Union. In addition, non-governmental agencies continue to be active in Lesotho with funding from the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ). The GIZ has an office in Maseru.
German trade with Lesotho is very modest in volume, which means that absolute figures are not particularly meaningful and may fluctuate widely from one year to the next. In 2017, Lesotho imported from Germany goods worth approximately 1.4 million euros and exported to Germany goods worth approximately 2.1 million euros (source: Federal Statistical Office). Lesotho’s main imports from Germany are vehicles, machinery, pharmaceuticals and chemical products. Germany’s principal imports from Lesotho are raw materials, textiles and food.
The regional Goethe-Institut in Johannesburg has set up a German Corner – containing books, magazines and other German media items – in the library of the Alliance Française. A computer has since been added to the range of services offered, enabling users to access the Goethe-Institut’s online library.
In recent years, cooperation in the area of sport has focused on support for football, volleyball and athletics coaches. In higher education, there is cooperation with the country’s only university, the National University of Lesotho, through German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) scholarships.