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Matekane’s five-year strategic plan



MASERU – PRIME Minister Sam Matekane’s government has released a five-year strategic plan on how it intends to turn around the country’s economy.

The 2023 to 2027 National Strategic Development Plan II, released on New Year’s Eve, has four key priority areas (KPAs) of growth progression, social transformation, infrastructure development, good governance and accountability.

The goal of the first KPA, growth progression, is to achieve inclusive sustainable and equitable growth and create private sector-led employment for Basotho.

“The aim is to transform the country from a consumer-based economy to a producer and export-driven economy,” the document reads.

“This is hoped to be achieved through structural transformation of the following productive sectors: Agriculture, Manufacturing, Mining and Tourism,” it reads.

The second key priority area is aligned with food security and agriculture revolution, industrialisation revolution, development finance revolution and extractive industry revolution.

The key priority area aims at increasing agricultural production capacity, developing agriculture commodity markets, and maximizing value from wool and mohair.

Regarding the industrialisation revolution, the key priority area aims at achieving urbanisation and industrialisation, and developing the creative industry.

In regard to extractive industry revolution, the plan is to map and quantify the country’s assets to enhance bargaining power, attract financing in top mining projects, capture maximum value for the Basotho nation, and to establish a Sovereign Development Fund.

As for the development finance revolution, it seeks to provide guidance for credit giving financial institutions, re-engineering and reorganising the Lesotho National Development Corporations (LNDC) and the Basotho Enterprises Development Corporation (BEDCO).

It also seeks to reinforce and enhance the financial inclusion mandate of Lesotho Post Bank.

The government wants to convert the Lesotho Post Bank into a fully-fledged development bank mandated to support, among others, the energy security national priority.

“The goal of this KPA is to achieve inclusive, sustainable and equitable growth and create private sector-led employment for Basotho,” the document reads.

“The aim is to transform the country from a consumer-based economy to a producer and export-driven economy,” it reads.

“This is hoped to be achieved through structural transformation of the following productive sectors, Agriculture, Manufacturing, Mining and Tourism.”

One of the goals is to introduce a social security fund to reduce the risk of exposure of workers to job losses.

The Fund will be a contributory scheme for the employer and employee and will pay benefits to the employee in the event they lose their job or are impaired.

The document says past and current development plans have been formulated to define a desired destination and identify the roles that different sectors of society need to play in order to realise a set goal.

“This requires critical levels of commitment and leadership to strengthen the planning systems within and across all the spheres of government, and collaboration of the private sector, civil society and development partners.”

It says although Lesotho’s planning and fiscal operations have been guided by the national planning frameworks to promote sustainable development, “the country remains vulnerable, with low investment in key areas, low productive capacity, and high-income inequality”.

“The economy is still highly dependent on government for economic activities and fiscal revenues,” it reads.

“Lesotho’s capacity to attract foreign investment is limited and the country remains very dependent on imports.

Poverty and unemployment remain high, especially in the rural areas, affecting mostly women and youth.”

The government says although Lesotho has made critical strides towards sustainable development since independence, “this has neither eradicated multidimensional poverty nor reduced unemployment levels”.

It refers to the 2022 World Bank report on inequality in Southern Africa, which says the unemployment rate in

Lesotho remains high at 22.5 percent (using a strict definition) and 38.3 percent (using the expanded definition that includes discouraged job seekers) in 2019.

As a result, 49.7 percent of the population in Lesotho lives below US$1.90 (about M32) per person per day (Lesotho Poverty Mapping Report, 2018).

In terms of inequality, as measured by the Gini coefficient, Lesotho is among the most unequal countries in the world.

The government says although some progress has been made since 2010, “there is need to focus on income and asset inequality so that Lesotho does not remain one of the most unequal societies in the world”.

“Nearly 50 percent of the population lives below the poverty line,” the document reads.

“Over 20 percent of the labour force is unemployed,” it reads.

“This is evidenced by the deteriorating macroeconomic position of the country.”

It says GDP has declined steadily since 2015 which is attributed to the growing structural gap between the government’s spending and the amount of revenue it collects.

Government spending, the document says, is estimated at around 60 percent of the GDP and is evidenced by the deteriorating macroeconomic position of the country.

The government recognises education and skills development as the cornerstone for any development as it aims to ensure that a person has an opportunity to be productive and be grounded with moral values.

The Matekane-led government says there is a need to identify skills need and labour market trends to avoid unnecessary unemployment and underemployment among the educated.



·       Improve tertiary institutions of agriculture to enhance national expertise.

·       Resuscitate agriculture extension and business support programmes.

·       Introduce tech-driven methods to Lesotho farming, including more climate-change-resilient methods such as smart technology-linked hydroponics.

·       Facilitate sharecropping schemes as a way of reaping the benefits of economies of scale by overcoming the challenge of Lesotho’s land tenure system.

·       Review the land tenure system to facilitate commercialization of agriculture and improve the country’s farm labour productivity as well as export competitiveness.

·       Establish irrigation systems to enable sustainable production.

·       Establish a national seed propagation centre to enable agriculture production.

·       Establish fruits production and processing centres in the mountains.

Staff Reporter

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