Lesotho desperately needs foreign direct investment (FDI) to stimulate its economy after the destructive effects of the Covid-19 pandemic, Prime Minister Moeketsi Majoro has said.
Dr Majoro said this in his virtual address at the special segment of the United Nations (UN's) 2021 Forum on Financing for Development on Monday.
Dr Majoro said Lesotho, like most low-income countries (LICs) was in dire need for debt relief so that it can focus on reviving its economy which has been battered by the adverse effects of the Covid-19 pandemic.
He said "many of the heavily indebted poor countries (HIPCs) that received relief earlier have relapsed due to the unavoidable need to provide infrastructure amid lack of additional resources for that purpose".
"The bout of current elevated indebtedness among LICs is a direct result of borrowing for providing infrastructure and fighting Covid-19, coupled with lack of debt-free resources.
"Lesotho would therefore, like to encourage all international creditors; both commercial and private, to take bolder action to suspend debt repayments, apply debt cancellation and moratoria and provide additional resources for supporting economic growth," Dr Majoro said.
More FDI would therefore, help Lesotho in supporting trade capacity, employment and growth.
"The pandemic-driven sluggishness of demand as well as supply-side disruptions, due to lockdowns and cross-border restrictions, have trashed industry everywhere. As economies reopen and demand picks up in the productive sectors, investments in a diverse array of ventures are desperately needed."
He also lobbied for a sustainable, inclusive and resilient recovery from the Covid-19 induced downturn and other global shocks. The COVAX facility, which is being spearheaded by the World Health Organisation (WHO), also requires the full support of all stakeholders.
"The COVAX initiative, which aims to secure a wider and fairer distribution of vaccines across the globe, requires our full support. As the impacts of Covid-19 have piled up on top of the effects of climate change as well as inadequate infrastructure, it is critical that the donor community further increases its level of official development assistance until poverty has been eliminated."
He said the pandemic-driven sluggishness of demand as well as supply-side disruptions, due to lockdowns and cross-border restrictions, have trashed industry everywhere.
As economies reopen and demand picks up in the productive sectors, investments in a diverse array of ventures are desperately needed, he said.
He said it is now incumbent on global political and business leadership to re-invest in sustainable and inclusive recovery strategies to accelerate progress towards the full implementation of the 2030 Agenda, "which is now only a short nine years away".
The negative impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on countries' socio-economic balance sheets is of an unprecedented magnitude.
"This has slowed down economic growth, depleted personal savings, disrupted daily livelihood pursuits, raised national debt levels, and increased costs of health care, among others. At the global level, the pandemic has reversed the gains made on sustainable development goals," Dr Majoro said.
He said the discovery of Covid-19 vaccines has given hope across the globe that the coronavirus can be defeated, and that normalcy can be restored to the economies.