Opening Remarks by the Deputy Resident Representative
National Dialogues for the Lesotho Integrated Financing Strategy
January 25, 2023
Please allow me to pay my respects to:
His Majesty King Letsie III
The Right Honorable the Prime Minister
The Right Honorable Deputy Prime Minister
Members of His Majesty’s Cabinet
Members of the Senate
Members of the National Assembly
Representatives of the UN, and other Development Organizations
Members of the Diplomatic Corps
Government officials, Civil Society
Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen
Good morning to you all.
It is a privilege to be with you this morning to kickstart the three-day consultations to enable formulation of the Integrated Financing Strategy for the Kingdom of Lesotho. It has been a productive journey since 2019 when the Government of Lesotho began its journey to pilot the Integrated National Financing Frameworks (INFF), to determine how the national development will be financed and implemented, what development financing sources may be available. The INFF provides a more holistic approach navigate the complex development financing landscape, as well as to manage and mobilize development financing sources and resources for development.
We have achieved several important milestones in the Lesotho INFF process, with the Ministry of Development Planning and Finance, we have established institutional structures to provide oversight and technical support for the process, and at the beginning of this year, we convened with most of you in the room today, to officially launch the Development Finance Assessment (DFA) and the INFF Roadmap for Lesotho. The Lesotho INFF has provided benchmarks and policy recommendations to guide reforms towards an integrated planning and financing for accelerating progress on the Sustainable Development Goals. Financing is central to the achievement of the SDGs, thus, making it necessary to develop the SDG Financing Strategy for Lesotho.
Bo-Mme le Bo-Ntate,
Lesotho’s reliance on the traditional sources of public revenue such as tax, the procyclical SACU revenue and international public sources (ODA) has compromised its potential for attaining the national development aspirations and the SDGs. This is in addition to the emerging pressure to find alternative mechanisms to stimulate economic activity and recovery efforts to ease the impact of the pandemic. This may only be realized if adequate, predictable, and sustainable funding is available.
In this regard, the SDG Financing Strategy is expected to estimate the overall funding for financing development in Lesotho and provide strategies for effective mobilization of innovative financing sources, and how to best utilize and manage the existing sources of development financing. Lesotho has several opportunities to mobilize alternative financing sources such as internal and external private investment, climate financing and the third sector (charities, NGOs, and philanthropies), as well as the diaspora financing. For this, Government of Lesotho will need to build internal capacities and institutional alignment to attract the untapped financing sources and direct them to where they can make an impact.
In these three days, the Ministry of Development Planning and Finance has convened stakeholders to a dialogue aimed at framing Lesotho’s financing strategy for accelerating sustainable development in Lesotho. The envisaged Strategy will provide sequenced actions for identifying and mobilising development financing resources, to leverage innovative financing opportunities and catalyse financial flows into SDG-aligned investments. These financing dialogues are also expected to establish the foundation to strengthen coordination for development financing in Lesotho, ensure coherence of financing policies, accountability, and oversight support for effective delivery of sustainable development agenda.
Bo-Mme le Bo-Ntate,
Allow me to congratulate the Government once again on the strides taken to ensure private sector participation in the national development agenda. According to the NSDP II, private sector is expected to play a key role to achieving the national targets for economic growth and employment creation. In line with this, the government through the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning has initiated the SDG investor mapping is meant to provide private investors with information on SDG-aligned investment opportunities that exist in Lesotho to facilitate investment decisions into these sectors. The SDG investor map process considers both the external and local private sector to ensure that strategies for MSME development are implemented to boost domestic private sector activities and investment. The recently undertaken private sector assessment has established the willingness of Basotho to invest in economic activities however, most businesses are constrained by issues such as limited access to finance, inadequate business skills, corruption, and poor business support services. We should deliberate how these bottlenecks can be addressed to fully unlock the potential that the local private sector has.
The SDG Financing Strategy further proposes to strengthen national strategies for mobilization and use of remittances, to further improve the livelihoods of the 20% of Basotho who are dependent on remittances income as well as foster development impact. With assistance from the IOM, the government has already developed the Diaspora Strategy and have accumulated knowledge and strategic options to optimize remittance transfers and access in the country. As part of this dialogue, I invite you all to discuss how these maybe taken forward, with a reflection on the existing opportunities for diaspora investment and innovative platforms to mobilize resources, beyond financing from the diaspora.
The dialogue will be in three parts, to review the public finance, the private sector flows and social investment sources that may be tapped for development. All stakeholders, including, the public and private sector development actors, as well as non-state actors, are a critical part of this dialogue, to share perspectives on how Lesotho may unlock potential development financing sources, spur investment, and support national efforts for sustainable development. These will be used to shape the integrated SDG Financing Strategy for Lesotho and proposed multistakeholder mechanisms for monitoring, evaluation and oversight.
Let me conclude, Bo-Mme le Bo-Ntate, by thanking you and especially the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning for their role in ensuring that we convene in this manner, and wish you fruitful deliberations in the coming days as we work towards developing the national financing strategy for Lesotho.
I thank you.