- Lesotho has finally completed the national self assessment, opening its doors to be reviewed by its peers under Africa's ambitious programme, the African Peer Review Mechanism, the national governing council of the programme declared today in Maseru.
Lesotho began its national assessment in 2007, and according to the findings, the assessment has revealed irregularities and rife corruption in the control of companies and corporations in the country.
"The Assessment has also highlighted lack of expertise and funds as some of the challenges in doing business in the country," APRM National Governing Council 2nd Vice Chair, Itumeleng Kimane said at a press conference held at the state library in the city centre.
She said some of the challenges as indicated by the business sector, is having to operate under the old Companies Act which they feel it is outdated and should be reviewed as it does not meet the current needs of the business.
The report further reveals poor infrastructure, technology, water and sanitation as some of the challenges for Lesotho if the country has to attract investors.
Lesotho voluntary acceded the APRM in 2004 during the AU Summit in Ethiopia. Its accession was regarded as a courageous political choice and decision not only to agree to be bound by the political principles underpinning the APRM, but to submit to self-scrutiny.
The report has also indicated that on socio economic governance, there are number of cross cutting issues in the development of the people. HIV and AIDS tops the agenda, which has been a major drawback for economic growth in Lesotho, according to the report.
"Although Lesotho government made a brilliant policy, Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper, which is now out dated to address some of the challenges in development, it has to be reviewed to assess its strides in poverty reduction," Dr Kimane said.
According to report, introduction of free primary education in 2000, saw enrolment numbers going up to 85 percent. However the number dropped by 2 percent in 2005, an issue which communities felt the government should investigate.
The report further shows that a number of people consulted, approved that the Constitution as properly written and clear, though they questioned the issue of gender equality in the constitution.
"Women still remain minors under the constitution. This also include children, people with disabilities and the elderly," NGC Chair 'Mapholo Mosebi said.
Lesotho has committed to a number of international conventions and protocols to uplift women, but to date women are still invisible in key decision making position in the country, the group observed.
Lesotho has recently enacted the Legal Capacity of Married Person Act, a law that seeks to give women an equal footing in accessing financial institutions and other economic benefits. It has also met 30 percent quota under SADC protocol on gender by reserving one third of the election seats to women during the local government election, but not at the national parliamentary level.
According to the report, decentralisation still remains a challenge due to lack of resources by local administrators. "Local governance was a good initiative, but without proper tools and resources, the structures are non functional," Ms Mosebi said.
A sample of 2,500 people from rural, foothills and urban areas were consulted during the assessment. The NGC said Lesotho will continue with reviews after every three years.
Lesotho is likely to receive an official Country Review Team visit in February which will visit some of the places of consultation to ensure that the review was all inclusive.
The APRM is an African self-monitoring mechanism, voluntarily acceded to by member states of the African Union (AU) that aims at fostering the adoption of policies, standards and practices that lead to political stability, good governance, high economic growth, sustainable development and accelerated regional and continental economic integration through sharing of experiences and reinforcement of successful and best practices.
Since its establishment in 2004, a number of countries have submitted themselves for self-assessment and scrutiny including Ghana, Angola, Malawi, Sierra Leone and Tanzania among others.
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