African Design Magazine February 2016 - Page 34

PROVIDING T housands Lesotho is the only country in the world where the entire territory is more than 1,000 metres above sea level. Much of the population lives in rugged, mountainous terrain, accessible only on foot or horseback. This beautiful country suffers from one of the world’s highest rates of HIV/AIDS, with around 23 percent of adults aged 15-49 being HIV positive. The HIV/AIDS pandemic has inflicted severe damage on society in Lesotho. In 1996, the average life expectancy was 59 years. By 2006, it had declined dramatically, to just 48.7 years. Yet adversity can be overcome. In 2006 Lesotho scored 54.3 out of 100 in the Human Development ranking of the Ibrahim Index of African Governance, an independent assessment of governance performance in Africa. By 2011 this figure had risen to 59.4 out of 100, helping Lesotho achieve an overall ranking of ninth on the Ibrahim Index. Lesotho’s problems are compounded by extreme poverty, unemployment and poor infrastructure. Floods, late rains and early frost contribute to crop failures and poor 34