The Prime Ministerâ€™s Initiative for Youth Empowerment- SEBABATSO: A Step Forward in Sustainable Development and Empowerment for Basotho Youth
The Government of Lesotho, through the Ministry of Gender and Youth, and with the support of the United Nations in Lesotho, has launched a groundbreaking initiative titled the Prime Ministerâ€™s Initiative for Youth Empowerment- SEBABATSO. The initiative seeks to address the alarming youth unemployment rates in the country, which are amongst the highest in the world. This is a visionary approach proposed by the Right Honourable the Prime Minister to overcome the economic hurdles faced by young entrepreneurs. The central focus is to promote and expedite the growth of innovative youth-driven businesses and prepare them for national and international investment opportunities.
Given the staggering figures from The World Bank Group’s June 2021 report which revealed that nearly 29% of adolescents and 44% of young adults in Lesotho are not in employment, education, or training, the Prime Ministerâ€™s Initiative for young people is timely. It focuses on leveraging entrepreneurship as a potent tool for economic transformation, particularly in fields such as agriculture, arts, science, technology, and tourism.
The Prime Minister recently highlighted the importance of this initiative during the Lesotho Youth Entrepreneurship Mentorship Programme launch on August 12, 2023. In this event, Basotho youth showcased their entrepreneurial ventures, giving the Prime Minister a firsthand experience of the potential within the country. He pledged to invite potential investors to support and mentor these young entrepreneurs, reflecting the core objectives of SEBABATSO.
Key Objectives of the Initiative Include:
- Establishing an annual National Platform for youth entrepreneurs to exhibit their ventures in the presence of top officials.
- Empowering youth innovators, especially those in STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, Mathematics), to propose community-centered solutions.
- Collaborating with the UN and its agencies to groom young entrepreneurs for pitching their innovations for investment.
- Broadening the exposure of Basotho youth to other global and regional empowerment models such as the Youth Connekt initiative which aims to inspire the African youth to drive socio-economic transformation, enhance employment opportunities, and foster a strong culture of entrepreneurship and innovation.
- Partnering with potential investors and mentors to transition youth-driven social enterprises to profit-generating entities.
The initiative emphasizes the potential of STEAM fields, which currently only sees 2% of all Lesotho tertiary graduates. Moreover, the low representation of women in STEAM fields in Lesotho remains a pressing concern. With countries like Ghana and Rwanda reaping the benefits of prioritizing STEAM and technology for economic growth, this Initiative is an ambitious attempt to emulate such successes in Lesotho.
The program will adopt a comprehensive, multi-pronged approach, collaborating with key Ministries, private sector stakeholders, civil society, potential investors, and more
With SEBABATSO, Lesotho is taking a proactive step towards creating sustainable employment opportunities for its youth, fostering innovation, and setting the stage for significant economic growth.
When and where:
- Bootcamp for participating youth: 21- 24th October 2023
- Breakfast Meeting with investors: 25th October, Manthabiseng Convention Centre
- SEBABATSO Conference: 25-27th October, Manthabiseng Convention
The conference will be attended by the participating youth entrepreneurs, the Prime Minister of Lesotho, Ministers, Senior Government Officials, UN agencies, development partners, private sector organizations, civil society, academia, youth and women groups, people with disabilities
Ms Mamolise Falatsa
Public Relations Manager (Ministry of Youth, Sports, Arts and Social Development)
Ms Reitumetse Russell
Associate Development Coordination Officer, Programme Communications and Advocacy
Office of the UN Resident Coordinator in Lesotho
Ms Mantletse Maile
Senior Information Officer
Ministry of Trade, Industry, Business Development and Tourism
Mr Thapelo Mabote
Prime Ministerâ€™s Office
Ms Irene Seme