unctad.org | Science, Technology & Innovation Policy Review: Lesotho - An Implementation Strategy
Science, Technology & Innovation Policy Review: Lesotho - An Implementation Strategy
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The National Policy on Science and Technology 2006–2011 of Lesotho (S&T Policy) calls on the Basotho to harness science, technology and innovation (STI) as tools to reduce poverty, create jobs and transform the country into a dynamic economy and informed society.

In order to chart the implementation of the S&T Policy, the Government of Lesotho, through the Ministry of Communications, Science and Technology (MCST) requested UNCTAD to undertake a Science, Technology and Innovation Policy (STIP) Review.

The policy implementation strategy proposed in this STIP Review is based on an analytic framework that encompasses technology, human capital, institutions, networking, collaboration and communication and the knowledge base as key attributes of a knowledge society. The analysis was conducted along two dimensions: a sectoral approach and a human capital focus.

What emerges from the analysis is the need to prioritize collaboration and coordination and to bring out shared opportunities for cost-cutting, enhanced efficiency and ultimately improved performance for all sectors and actors. Generally, STI projects and initiatives need to be better coordinated and anchored into the national development strategy. Lead industries and sectors need to be identified, and investments made therein to create the momentum needed to propel other sectors towards an STI-driven productivity gains.

To address these challenges, the present STIP Review has designed a mechanism that would proactively coordinate cross-sectoral linkages, priority setting and fund allocation. It is a mechanism for action that would have a systemic impact on the development of STI in Lesotho in that it would facilitate technology flow, ensure human capital development, engage institutions’ active contribution, promote networking and collaboration and build up the knowledge base. The expected benefits of such a mechanism correspond to the six major strategic priorities identified in a recent UNCTAD study1 for LDCs at the initial and earlier stages of technological catch-up.

These are:

  1. increasing agricultural productivity in basic staples;
  2. promoting the formation and growth of domestic business firms;
  3. increasing the absorptive capacity of domestic knowledge systems;
  4. leveraging more learning from international trade and foreign direct investment (FDI);
  5. fostering diversification through agricultural growth linkages and natural resource-based production clusters; and
  6. upgrading export activities.

At the institutional level, such a mechanism would reinforce the capacity of the MCST/Department of Science and Technology to deliver a broader range of STI information and services in an effective and timely manner, while maintaining its role as the principal promoter and coordinator of science, technology and innovation.

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