Ba­sotho need to change: Mets­ing

Lesotho Times - - News - ’Marafaele Mohloboli re­cently in An­talya, Turkey

DEPUTY Prime Min­is­ter Mo­thetjoa Mets­ing (pic­tured) says Le­sotho has made sig­nif­i­cant strides to­wards grad­u­at­ing from the least-de­vel­oped coun­try (LDC) sta­tus al­though more work still needs to be done.

Mr Mets­ing made the re­mark on Fri­day last week while ad­dress­ing del­e­gates at­tend­ing the High-level Midterm Re­view of the Im­ple­men­ta­tion of the Is­tan­bul Pro­gramme of Ac­tion (IPOA) in the coastal city of An­talya in Turkey.

The meet­ing brought to­gether 2 000 par­tic­i­pants in­clud­ing high-level of­fi­cials and rep­re­sen­ta­tives from govern­ment, par­lia­ments, in­ter­na­tional and re­gional or­gan­i­sa­tions, civil so­ci­ety, pri­vate sec­tor, foun­da­tions, think­tanks and the me­dia.

Among the ob­jec­tives of the three-day con­fer­ence was assess­ing the im­ple­men­ta­tion of the IPOA by LDCS and their de­vel­op­ment part­ners as well as shar­ing best prac­tices and lessons learnt.

The gath­er­ing also sought to iden­tify ob­sta­cles, con­straints and ini­tia­tives needed to over­come them for the next five years of im­ple­men­ta­tion, tak­ing into ac­count the 2030 Agenda for Sus­tain­able De­vel­op­ment, Ad­dis Ababa Ac­tion Agenda, Sendai Frame­work for Dis­as­ter Risk Re­duc­tion and Paris Agree­ment.

IPOA refers to the pro­gramme of ac­tion for LDCS in the years 2011 to 2020 that was adopted by the Fourth United Na­tions (UN) Con­fer­ence on the Least De­vel­oped Coun­tries, held in Is­tan­bul, Turkey, on 9-13 May 2011.

The over­ar­ch­ing goal of the IPOA is to over­come struc­tural chal­lenges faced by the LDCS in or­der to erad­i­cate poverty and achieve in­ter­na­tion­ally-agreed de­vel­op­ment goals. It also specif­i­cally seeks to en­able half of the LDCS to meet the cri­te­ria for grad­u­a­tion.

The LDC cat­e­gory was es­tab­lished by the UN Gen­eral Assem­bly in 1971 to en­cour­age in­ter­na­tional sup­port for the most vul­ner­a­ble and dis­ad­van­taged mem­bers of the UN. Cur­rently, there are 48 coun­tries cat­e­gorised as LDCS. The next tri­en­nial re­view will be held in 2018.

Mr Mets­ing said the govern­ment was mak­ing con­certed ef­forts to lift Le­sotho from the LDC sta­tus. The iden­ti­fi­ca­tion of LDCS is based on per capita gross na­tional in­come, hu­man as­sets and eco­nomic vul­ner­a­bil­ity to ex­ter­nal shocks.

The deputy premier said this was be­ing done throughh the im­ple­men­ta­tion of the Na­tional Strate­gi­cate­gic De­vel­op­ment (NSDP), which he said in­cor­po­rated the res­o­lu­tions reached at the e IPOA.

“The com­ingg into be­ing of the Is­tan­bul Pro­gramme me of Ac­tion co­in­cided with the de­vel­op­ment ent of the NSDP. It was there­fore im­per­a­tive er­a­tive to in­te­grate, in the na­tional pri­or­i­ties, ori­ties, the in­ter­na­tion­ally-agreed vi­sionon and strate­gies con­tained in the Is­tan­bul l Pro­gramme of Ac­tion,” said Mr Mets­ing.

Sig­nif­i­cant progress, he said, had been made in Le­sotho’s ef­forts to grad­u­ate from m the LDC cat­e­gory, al­though h many chal­lenges re­main.

“We still facece chal­lenges that con­tinue to limit our pro­duc­tive andnd ab­sorp­tive ca­pac­ity, growthwth in our ex­port base, ad­e­quate trade and in­vest­mentvest­ment in­flows, as well as erad­i­cat­ing our health­care cha­lal­lenges.”

Mr Mets­ing said some of the ef­forts the govern­ment was mak­ing to al­le­vi­ate the chal­lenges in­cluded “ac­tively en­gag­ing” the pri­vate sec­tor in for­mu­lat­ing and im­ple­ment­ing strate­gies that drive eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment and sus­tain­able job-cre­ation. “We have re­dou­bled our ef­forts to im­prove the in­vest­ment cli­mate and im­prove our na­tional com­pet­i­tive­ness in key sec­tors in­clud­ing agri­cul­ture, min­ing, man­u­fac­tur­ing and ser­vice sec­tors such as tourism and con­struc­tion,” he said. On the hu­man-de­vel­op­ment rank­ing, Mr Mets­ing said Le­sotho’s 62.9 was higher than the av­er­age 51.5 for least-de­vel­oped coun­tries. Hu­man de­vel­op­ment is de­fined as the process of en­larg­ing peo­ple’s free­doms and op­por­tu­ni­ties and im­prov­ing their well-be­ing. “Lit­er­acy rates have been im­proved over time through the in­tro­duc­tion of free and com­pul­sory pri­mary ed­u­ca­tion, a higher level of sec­ondary e n r o l ment and adult ed­u­ca­tion,” he said.

“In the case of un­der-five mor­tal­ity rate, there has been a sig­nif­i­cant de­cline from 117 per 1 000 live births to 85. One of the ma­jor fac­tors that could be at­trib­uted to this de­vel­op­ment is the im­prove­ment in im­mu­ni­sa­tion-cov­er­age and child-nu­tri­tion.”

The deputy premier said Le­sotho’s land­locked sta­tus un­der­mined its ex­port com­pet­i­tive­ness. To re­dress this chal­lenge, he said the govern­ment had mod­ernised cus­toms pro­ce­dures and rules to fur­ther im­prove con­di­tions of do­ing busi­ness in the coun­try.

Mr Mets­ing also said the NSDP was be­ing re­viewed t to en­able the govern­ment to stream­line its strate­giesstr “and en­sure syn­er­gies with new glob­al­globa per­spec­tives”.

In an in in­ter­view with the Le­sotho Times on the side-l side-lines of the con­fer­ence, Mr Mets­ing said B Ba­sotho needed to wean them­selves from a de de­pen­dency syn­drome for the na­tion to gradua grad­u­ate from the LDC sta­tus.

“As Bas Ba­sotho, we have a de­pen­dency syn­drome and are frankly quite lazy. We de­pend on for­eign aid so much that we can’t even see our own c ca­pa­bil­i­ties, and it is high time that we do awayawa with this ret­ro­gres­sive ten­dency. We can’t g go on like this.”

He said Ba­sotho needed to go into com­mer­cial agricu agri­cul­ture and not just set­tle for sub­sis­tence farm farm­ing.

“There is so much arable land in Le­sotho, but we arear un­der-util­is­ing it and it is also not well-plan well-planned. We badly need a par­a­digm shift an and to pro­mote the value of food se­cu­rity an and agri­cul­ture.” M Mr Mets­ing said Le­sotho needed a “p “proper” land ten­ure sys­tem to att tract more in­vestors into the coun­try by leas­ing out land.

“The proper leas­ing of land will help im­prove com­mer­cial agri­cul­ture and boost the coun­try’s econ­omy,” he said.

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