12 January 2018

Lesotho: Govt Identifies Drivers of Development Plan

THE government of Lesotho has identified manufacturing, tourism, technology and agriculture as the four pillars that will drive economic growth under the second National Strategic Development Plan (NSDP II).

This was said by Minister of Development Planning, Tlohelang Aumane, during a workshop on the NSDP II in Hlotse in the Leribe this week.

Lesotho's first five year NSDP programme ended in 2017 and the second one is expected to run for five years.

The Leribe workshop is one of a series of seminars which are being held in all the country's 10 districts as part of efforts to develop the NSDP II.

Mr Aumane said the first draft of the plan will be made available this year after consultations among different economic sectors.

He however, indicated that cabinet had agreed to prioritise manufacturing, tourism, technology and agriculture as the four pillars that will drive economic growth.

Last week, Mr Aumane and Agriculture and Food Security minister, Mahala Molapo told a Maseru seminar on the NSDP II that there was a need to overhaul the country's land tenure system in order to realise the immense potential for commercial agricultural production.

"Issues of acquiring land have prevented some projects from getting off the ground and we need to address that as soon as possible," Mr Aumane said.

And this week in Leribe, he repeated his message, saying his ministry had identified limited access to land as one of the challenges inhibiting the growth of business in the country.

He also identified lack of infrastructure and health factors as the other obstacles to development.

With an HIV/AIDS prevalence of about 25 percent, Lesotho has the second highest rates after Swaziland.

However, the country has made huge strides in fighting the HIV/AIDS pandemic amid revelations that 90.6 percent of people living with HIV from the ages of 15 to 59 years have adhered to antiretroviral therapy (ART) leading to viral load suppression.

The revelations are contained in the final Lesotho Population-Based HIV Impact Assessment (LePHIA) report which was released last month. The report shows that the viral load has been suppressed in 88.3 percent of those who were reported to be on treatment.

The 90.6 percent figure surpasses the second of three ambitious 90-90-90 treatment targets seeking to end the Aids epidemic by 2020.

The first 90 target seeks to ensure that by the year 2020, 90 percent of all people living with HIV know their HIV status and the second target seeks to ensure that 90 percent of all people diagnosed with HIV receive sustained antiretroviral therapy. The third target is to ensure that 90 percent of all people receiving ARVs will have viral suppression by 2020.

Mr Aumane concluded by calling on residents of Leribe to identify possible business ventures for inclusion in the NSDP II as well as develop strategies to address challenges hindering the development of their district.


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