Secretary General,
Honourable Ministers and Heads of Delegation,
Excellences, Distinguished Delegates,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

The Kingdom of Lesotho would like to join other Member States to congratulate you, Chairperson, on your appointment to guide this august Conference.  In the same token, I would like to applaud our host and the people of the United Arab Emirates for their warm hospitality and generous welcome. I also commend the ITU and our host, for the very considerable logistical achievement of bringing the world together for this Plenipotentiary Conference and the splendid organisation of this landmark conference.  We thank the ITU Secretary General, Mr. Houlin Zhao and his able team for the outstanding work during the past four years.

The International Telecommunications Union has been a dependable partner of Lesotho over the years and through this partnership, Lesotho has reaped a lot of benefits from its membership of the Union. My country has benefitted immensely in the areas of policy and legal development; capacity building; cybersecurity and secure networks; digital economy and e-health; as well as regulatory best practices and general development of the communications sector.


The Government of Lesotho recognises that ICTs play a critical role in economic development and has identified them as one the four pillars that will drive Lesotho’s economic growth under its new National Strategic Development Plan for the next five years. It is my country’s desire to build upon the successes of the past years which include extensive mobile network coverage, which is now at over 96% of inhabited areas, phone ownership of over 79% of the population, teledensity of close to 90% and broadband penetration of 56%.

In line with the Connect 2020 agenda, Lesotho has embarked on an e-Government project which is deploying modern and secure e-government broadband infrastructure. The project is already providing access to some e-services provided by government departments. We hope to aggressively roll out the e-education programmes especially targeting at the primary and secondary schools. On his visit to Lesotho, the Secretary General of ITU, Mr. Houlin Zhao, promised to assist the primary schools in Lesotho with atleast 300 desktop computers. We are grateful indeed. This will go a long way in accelerating our efforts of bridging digital divide in Lesotho. My country has also embarked on programmes on e-health, e-commerce, as well as e-agriculture. Our successful Universal Services Fund continue to address access gap in unserved and underserved areas of our country and we are on course to reach the Connect 2020 targets on access to broadband, affordability and bringing the digital divide between urban and rural areas. 

The above initiatives clearly demonstrate that Lesotho recognise that digitization is increasingly and fundamentally changing societies and economies and will affect many economic sectors in the new 4th Industrial Revolution. We are accelerating our efforts in ensuring that our digitisation programmes cover every aspect of our economy. In this manner, we are confident we will meet our SDG targets, in particular the SDG 9 and related SDGs. 

Chairperson and Distinguished Delegates, 

Though Lesotho is a developing country, it is a classic example of the successes in the communications sector in a liberalised market. Through private sector investments, government support and independent regulation, the people of Lesotho are now enjoying the advanced communications services. To demonstrate this, a few months ago, one of our operators launched the first commercial 5G services in the African continent. 

These achievements are however not without challenges. Two months ago, the ITU Secretary General, Mr. Zhao, witnessed first-hand the difficult conditions under which we develop communications infrastructure. The landscape of my country is dominated by difficult mountain terrain, underdeveloped road and electricity networks and sparsely populated rural areas which make investments in communications services an expensive undertaking. Being landlocked, Lesotho has to rely on backhaul facilities from its only neighbours, South Africa for international bandwidth and prices of these services are high.

Finally, we reaffirm the commitment and availability of the Government of Lesotho, to continue participating actively in ITU activities and contributing to the achievement of the objectives of the Union.

As the Kingdom of Lesotho, we are not contesting any of the ITU positions now, however, we will fully participate in the elections with the hope that all member states here will vote for our candidates in the next ITU elections in 2022.

I thank you all for your attention.