Senior U.S. Official Visits the Kingdom of Lesotho

Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Linda Thomas-Greenfield visited Lesotho November 1-2, 2016 to recognize 50 years of bilateral partnership.  During her visit she met with Prime Minister Pakalitha Mosisili and Minister of Foreign Affairs Tlohang Sekhamane, with whom she discussed the current political environment, continuing concerns over the rule of law in Lesotho, and Lesotho’s eligibility for the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA).  She also met with representatives of the opposition, the Mahao family, the diplomatic community, and prominent Basotho women.

During her visit Ambassador Thomas-Greenfield toured the Khubetsoana Health Center that provides HIV services with support from the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) through the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation (EGPAF). The health center was built with the support of the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) and implements the Ministry of Health’s “Test and Treat” policy which has more than doubled the number of HIV positive patients newly enrolled at the center on life-saving anti-retroviral therapy.

A highlight of Ambassador Thomas-Greenfield’s visit was meeting the sixteen young Basotho leaders who traveled this year to the United States on the Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI) Mandela Washington Fellowship.  From them she heard about their experiences in the United States and their plans to use their new knowledge to benefit their communities and their country.

Describing the objectives of her visit Thomas-Greenfield said, “My visit to Lesotho is an opportunity to highlight the 50 year partnership between our countries.  Our partnership is built on many important programs, including PEPFAR, Peace Corps, and exchange programs like the Young African Leaders Initiative.  I am also here, as a friend of Lesotho and the Basotho people, to emphasize our concerns over Lesotho’s continuing accountability and rule of law challenges.  The lack of concrete action to address such concerns could lead to Lesotho’s loss of eligibility for AGOA and for a second compact grant under MCC.” 

Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield, a member of the Career Foreign Service, has served as the Assistant Secretary for the Bureau of African Affairs since 2013. In this capacity, she leads the bureau in the Department of State focused on the development and management of U.S. policy toward sub-Saharan Africa. Prior to this appointment, she served as Director General of the Foreign Service and Director of Human Resources (2012-2013).

Additionally her 34-year Foreign Service career includes an ambassadorship to Liberia (2008-2012), and foreign postings in Switzerland (at the U.S. Mission to the United Nations), Pakistan, Kenya, The Gambia, Nigeria, and Jamaica. In addition to the Bureau of Human Resources, her Washington postings include the Bureau of African Affairs (2006-2008) where she served as Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary, and the Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration (2004-2006) where she served as Deputy Assistant Secretary.

Ambassador Thomas-Greenfield has won numerous awards including the Warren Christopher Award for Outstanding Achievement in Global Affairs in 2000 in recognition of her work with refugees. Prior to joining the Department of State, Ambassador Thomas-Greenfield taught Political Science at Bucknell University in Pennsylvania.