The 8 November session was part of a comprehensive technical assistance programme launched by UNCTAD in partnership with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) office in Lesotho, to follow up on the recommendations of the Investment Policy Review of Lesotho that UNCTAD carried out in 2003.
Participants in the workshop discussed a number of potential reforms aimed at improving the legal and regulatory framework for investment, and at stimulating domestic and foreign investment within and beyond manufacturing.
Sekh'ulumi Paul Ntsoaole, Lesotho's Minister of Trade and Industry, Cooperatives and Marketing, and Tseliso Mokhosi, Minister of Communications, Science and Technology, who is also the acting Minister of Energy, took part. Also attending were the principal secretaries of the Ministry of Development Planning, Ministry of Finance, and Ministry of Trade and Industry, Cooperatives and Marketing. In addition, several representatives of the international development community were present.
"Today we are witnessing the results of the excellent collaboration that UN agencies have achieved in the Delivering as One programme," said Karla Robin Hershey, UNDP Resident Representative and United Nations Resident Coordinator for Lesotho. Ms. Hershey gave the opening address at the workshop. "The investment policy document and the proposals for a dynamic framework designed to catapult the Kingdom of Lesotho into an investment hub in the Southern African region have been drawn up in record time and are a result of the joint efforts of UNCTAD and UNDP in providing the requested support to the Government," she told the session.
In addition to the recommendations for improving the investment climate, UNCTAD has prepared a draft National Investment Policy for Lesotho. This document, which compiles for the first time the current policies and practices of the Government in dealing with national and foreign investors, fills a key gap in the current regulatory framework for investment.
Lerotholi Pheko, Principal Secretary of the Ministry of Development Planning, told the workshop: "We are faced with the challenge of working in silos, which has resulted in conflicting policies, and we now have to ensure that we coordinate and align future policies in coordination between all ministries." He expressed appreciation to UNCTAD and UNDP for "preparing a draft National Investment Policy that has been well aligned to the National Strategic Development Plan of Lesotho."