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Lesotho’s CSOs call for enhanced partnership with AfDB

Business

Staff Reporter

Lesotho’s civil society organisations (CSOs), operating under the umbrella of the Lesotho Council of NGOs, recently convened to evaluate the African Development Bank’s (AfDB) portfolio performance in the country.

The meeting with Bank representatives aimed to gather input on the Bank’s current Country Strategy Paper (CSP) for Lesotho (2020-24) and to discuss the upcoming CSP for 2025-29.

These CSOs play a pivotal role in implementing development initiatives spanning HIV/AIDS, agriculture, food security, climate change, education, health, child protection, WASH, and budget analysis, among other areas.

Moreover, they are instrumental in advancing sustainable development goals and shaping responses to the COVID-19 pandemic and recovery efforts in Lesotho.

In a demonstration of its commitment to transparency and inclusivity, the bank provided insights into the economic landscape, the existing country portfolio, and its engagement strategy with CSOs.

CSOs, in turn, underscored the nation’s pressing development hurdles, such as soaring youth unemployment, insufficient government-CSO collaboration, a sluggish private sector impeding job creation, and inadequate coordination among governmental entities and other stakeholders.

CSOs urged the African Development Bank and other development partners to increase support for their work through aid and capacity-building initiatives.

They called for more collaborative engagement on projects and for dedicated resources to strengthen their capacities. The CSOs also emphasised the need for stronger institutions in governance, law enforcement, and policy implementation, and better government coordination to avoid duplication of efforts.

CSOs emphasised the necessity of an inclusive development approach that reaches marginalised communities, ensuring no one is left behind.

They advocated prioritising infrastructure development and regional integration under the African Continental Free Trade Area to enhance market access. Addressing food insecurity emerged as another critical concern.

While budgetary allocations for agriculture are in place, CSOs recommended targeted support for farmers to enhance agricultural value chains. Additionally, they called for increased support for private sector development to foster job creation and stimulate economic growth.

The African Development Bank Country Team expressed its appreciation for the valuable insights provided by the CSOs, acknowledging their positive role in improving program and project delivery.

The team also reiterated the commitment to regular engagement as the Bank looks forward to continued collaboration with Lesotho’s CSOs to develop a new CSP addressing the country’s most pressing development needs and fostering a more inclusive and prosperous future.

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