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Services Policy Review: Lesotho

Policy brief by UNCTAD, 2013

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The Lesotho Services Policy Review (SPR) aims to investigate policy, regulatory and institutional weaknesses, and to make recommendations addressing such deficiencies in Lesotho's key sectors of tourism, and financial and professional medical services. For each of these, an economic overview is followed by an inventory of legislation, regulations, institutions and policy measures.

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SERVICES POLICY REVIEW


U n i t e d n at i o n s C o n f e r e n C e o n t r a d e a n d d e v e l o p m e n t


UN
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Printed at United Nations, Geneva – GE.13-50307 – March 2013 – 447 –UNCTAD/DITC/TNCD/2012/1/Rev.1
New York and Geneva, 2013


UNITED NATIONS




LE
SO


TH
O


New York and Geneva, 2013


U n i t e d n at i o n s C o n f e r e n C e o n t r a d e a n d d e v e l o p m e n t


ServiceS Policy review




ii SERVICES POLICY REVIEW: LESOthO


Note


The symbols of United Nations documents are composed of capital letters combined with figures. Mention of
such a symbol indicates a reference to a United Nations document.


The views expressed in this volume are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the
United Nations Secretariat. The designations employed and the presentation of the material do not imply the
expression of any opinion whatsoever on the part of the United Nations Secretariat concerning the legal status of
any country, territory, city or area, or of its authorities, or concerning the delimitation of its frontiers or boundaries,
or regarding its economic system or degree of development.


Material in this publication may be freely quoted or reprinted, but acknowledgement is requested, together with a
reference to the document number. A copy of the publication containing the quotation or reprint should be sent
to the UNCTAD secretariat, Palais des Nations, 1211 Geneva 10, Switzerland.


For further information on the Trade Negotiations and Commercial Diplomacy Branch and its activities, please
contact:


Ms. Mina Mashayekhi
Head, Trade Negotiations and Commercial diplomacy Branch


Division of International Trade in Goods and Services, and Commodities
Tel: +41 22 917 56 40
Fax: +41 22 917 00 44


www.unctad.org/tradenegotiations


© Copyright United Nations 2013


All rights reserved


UNCTAD/DITC/TNCD/2012/1/Rev.1




iii


Foreword


For many years, the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) has been emphasizing
the importance for developing countries of strengthening and diversifying their service sectors. Since 1990, the
share of services in the national gross domestic product (GDP) in developed countries grew from 64 per cent to
72 per cent. By contrast, in developing countries, the share of services in GDP grew from 46 per cent to 50 per
cent, with services accounting for 37 per cent of formal employment. These figures suggest a large untapped
potential for developing countries to advance the development of their service sectors.


The Accra Accord states that “The services economy is the new frontier for the expansion of trade, productivity
and competitiveness, and for the provision of essential services and universal access”. The Accord calls upon
UNCTAD to assist developing countries and countries with economies in transition to establish regulatory and
institutional frameworks and cooperative mechanisms to strengthen the capacity, efficiency and competitiveness
of their services sector, and to increase their participation in global services production and trade, including
by “providing support in national services assessment and policy reviews”. UNCTAD developed its tailor-
made Services Policy Reviews (SPRs) in response to the Accra Accord. The Doha Mandate reiterates that the
development of, and access to, services, supported by adequate regulatory and institutional frameworks, are
important for sound socio-economic development. UNCTAD members have therefore requested UNCTAD to
continue its work on services.


The services sector in the Kingdom of Lesotho is the largest sector in the economy, with a share of GDP of
59.7 per cent in 2010. This share has, however, declined over the last two decades (from 62.4 per cent in 1990)
as the contribution of industry has expanded. The Lesotho SPR focuses on three areas within the services sector,
namely tourism, and financial and professional medical services.


In conducting the SPR, UNCTAD undertook a desk study on the services sector of Lesotho. The desk study
recommended that national services development strategies should be developed through participative
consultations at the national level with all key actors, including parastatal institutions, potential foreign and
domestic investors, the private sector, labour groups and academia. This will not only ensure buy-in and support,
but will also generate desirable spill-in and spill-over effects among related economic sectors. The study also
suggested that a master plan, which outlines not only national strategies but also defines a process and series
of practical steps through which strategic objectives should be pursued. These strategic objectives should be
based on a national consultation process and should provide a strategy for developing the services sector and
services trade to maximize the expected development gains. The recommendations of the desk study aim to
assist the Government of Lesotho in its development of such a master plan and in its determination of the way
forward in terms of pacing and sequencing of further trade policy and sector reforms.


A team of experts, with support from UNCTAD, engaged with a broad group of stakeholders from the Government,
industry, academia and civil society to identify challenges and opportunities in the three sectors. The stakeholders
were involved through interviews and questionnaires, and provided inputs to the report. They also participated
actively in two national workshops, the second of which served to validate the findings of the SPR report as well
as to refine and adopt horizontal and sector-specific recommendations, in addition to discussing which national
entities could be responsible for leading the implementation of each adopted recommendation.


The UNCTAD team worked closely with Ms. Mary Motebang, Director of Trade, Ministry of Trade and Industry,
Cooperatives and Marketing as well as with His Excellency Ambassador Mothae Anthony Maruping and Mr.
Moshe Kao of the Permanent Mission of the Kingdom of Lesotho to the United Nations Office in Geneva.


The review process included an analysis of the following elements: current policy framework for tourism; financial
and professional medical services; regulatory and institutional challenges inhibiting sectoral development;
national development objectives; prospective policy options to strengthen domestic supply capacity and small
and medium-sized enterprise (SME) competitiveness; the potential impacts of services and services trade
liberalization on sectoral foreign direct investment (FDI), SMEs, efficiency, employment, access to foreign markets
and universal access to basic services.


FOREWORD




iv SERVICES POLICY REVIEW: LESOthO


The resulting wide-ranging recommendations from the SPR are set out in detail in the body of this report and
include cross-sectoral recommendations that are designed to strengthen the services sector broadly. The
recommendations address the following fields:


• The development of a national services development strategy plan;


• An investigation of ways to improve infrastructure services that support the services sector, including the
instigation of innovative financing models and public–private partnerships;


• An exploration of ways to boost the employment creation impact of the main service sectors in Lesotho;


• The adoption of competition law and establishment of a competition authority;


• Enactment of a comprehensive investment code;


• Improvement of Lesotho’s business climate through the implementation of the new Companies Act (2011);


• Further efforts to eliminate red tape and simplify regulatory processes and procedures;


• Greater use of district bodies, authorities and structures in the promotion of tourism, monitoring and evalua-
tion of health professionals;


• Provision of financial services;


• The securing of access to other markets.


The report also includes recommendations and an action plan specific to each of the three sectors analysed in
the review.


I hope that the contents of this publication will contribute to providing a strategic vision for the development
of Lesotho’s services sector, and assist the country to continue to derive development benefits from trade in
services.


Supachai Panitchpakdi
Secretary-General of UNCTAD




vExECuTIvE SuMMaRy


executive summary


Increasingly, services production and trade is moving to the forefront of government agendas in the world.
Boosting services trade is seen as a way to develop economies, boost employment creation and alleviate
poverty. However, inadequate laws and policies, and inefficient institutions hamper countries’ abilities to take
full advantage of the benefits of services trade. The UNCTAD Lesotho Services Policy Review (Lesotho SPR)
aims, inter alia, to investigate policy, regulatory and institutional weaknesses, and to make recommendations
addressing such deficiencies in the sectors of tourism, and financial and professional medical services.


Today, Lesotho’s services sector is the biggest contributor to national GDP and it has shown resilience even in
the wake of the global economic crisis. As the dominant sector in the economy, the services sector has great
potential to generate sustainable growth and create employment opportunities in Lesotho in the future.


Lesotho’s trade in services, measured in terms of export flows, has been expanding since 1995. Despite this
increase, the relative performance of Lesotho’s services exports has been poor in comparison with the country’s
total merchandise exports over the past two decades. Furthermore, Lesotho remains a net services importer.


In the financial services sector, despite relatively high levels of financial inclusion, the majority of financial and non-
financial institutions in Lesotho are based in urban areas (mostly in Maseru), with only limited access to financial
services in the country’s rural areas. Women, in particular, are facing great difficulty in accessing credit. However,
the differences in access to financial services between urban and rural locations have been addressed, to some
extent, through the presence of informal financial services such as unregistered moneylenders. Nevertheless, in
order to enhance the contribution of the financial services sector to the national economy, it is clear that there
remains a need to improve the current levels of access to financial services in Lesotho. This situation could be
addressed in part by the adoption of microfinance legislation in Lesotho to support the creation of microfinance
institutions which would diversify the financial services sector.


Turning to the professional medical services sector, although progress has been made in the provision of health
services to the Basotho people, limited capacity within Lesotho’s health sector remains a major challenge to
addressing and combating the spread of diseases such as HIV and AIDS, and tuberculosis. This problem is
exacerbated by the fact that 80 per cent of the Basotho population live in remote rural villages, often several
hours away from the nearest clinic. The development and expansion of professional medical services can play
an important role in addressing these issues. Some progress has been made in this regard. Specifically, with the
exception of dentists, the numbers of doctors, pharmacists and paramedics in Lesotho have all grown steadily
since 2005. Despite this, the health sector in Lesotho is confronted by a scarcity of skills in the medical and allied
professions. Lesotho continues to suffer from a brain drain of skilled Basotho medical professionals, precipitating
imports of doctors from Nigeria and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and an influx of private practitioners
from South Africa to fill the gaps. Furthermore, the country ranks poorly in terms of the density of health personnel
for every 1,000 members of the population in comparison with other countries in Africa. Among the possible
remedies are the implementation of a retention strategy to avoid the exodus of health care professionals out of
the country, and the establishment of a medical school and of more training institutions for nurses which offer
high level qualifications.


The tourism sector in Lesotho has been promoted as a key element of strategies for national development.
Tourism has significant potential to contribute to economic growth and employment generation in Lesotho.
The labour-intensive nature of the sector means that it can create many direct and indirect jobs. In turn, the
sector boasts a number of backward and forward linkages with other economic sectors. The sector is already
an important contributor to GDP and employment – with close to 36,000 people employed directly or indirectly
in the sector. Despite the potential of the tourism services sector, its recent performance – characterized by
stagnating growth – has been constrained by limited progress in diversifying source markets of arriving tourists,
as the country continues to rely heavily on the South African market. A number of areas require attention in order
to boost the contribution of the tourism services sector to the national economy. These include the need to
distinguish Lesotho from key competitor destinations, develop new tourism products and diversify the country’s




vi SERVICES POLICY REVIEW: LESOthO


tourism product base. There is also a need to create an enabling environment for rapid tourism growth, improve
visitor access to and within Lesotho, and establish appropriate policy, planning, and legal frameworks to manage
the tourism sector in the country.


The laws in the financial, professional medical and tourism services sectors are generally outdated and they
are not keeping pace with current global developments. This is particularly so with respect to the professional
medical and tourism service sectors, in which gaps in existing legislations are wide and need urgent attention.
Encouragingly, however, there are concerted efforts in both sectors to remedy these shortcomings. In comparison,
the financial services sector benefits from more comprehensive and up-to-date regulations, although there are
still some important areas that are devoid of regulation (for example, micro finance and consumer protection). A
few pieces of legislation in the financial sector are also undergoing amendments so that they can address new
challenges.


Generally, policies are shallow across the three sectors as legislations are being adopted without a proper policy
framework. The institutions mandated to support and develop these three sectors suffer from almost identical
problems of underfunding, inadequate staffing and being effective outside the capital city because of centralized
offices. Some face hindrances to their efficacy due to legislation that does not empower them to act decisively in
matters of supervising and taking disciplinary action.


Services liberalization under the Southern African Customs Union (SACU) is non-existent and, although it is
envisioned under the Southern African Development Community (SADC), negotiations are still in the very early
stages. Most of the liberalizations have taken place at the multilateral level under the General Agreement on Trade
in Services (GATS), where Lesotho has liberalized its economy extensively yet has not reaped many benefits from
doing so. This liberalization needs to be considered within a comprehensive, integrated and coherent strategy
of growth, development and trade, accompanied – where necessary – by further sectoral development planning
and macroeconomic, social, investment, competition, and environmental policies.


The Lesotho SPR recommendations include the need to improve the investment climate so as to attract more
domestic as well as foreign investment to develop services. There needs to be greater coordination of cross-
sectoral institutions for greater impact on services growth. Improved infrastructure is critical to the development
of all of the three services sectors. With respect to trade, Lesotho should concentrate on securing access to
other markets (beginning with those of its SADC trading partners) and advance in the implementation of regional
initiatives that may have a positive impact in strengthening regulatory and institutional frameworks underpinning
services trade.




vii


ackNowledgemeNts


This publication presents the result of a SPR undertaken by the Government of Lesotho in cooperation with
UNCTAD. It draws on the ongoing substantive work of UNCTAD in the services sector.


This publication was prepared by a team led by Mina Mashayekhi, Head, Trade Negotiations and Commercial
Diplomacy Branch (TNCDB) of UNCTAD. The team included TNCDB staff members and experts based in
Lesotho and South Africa. Staff members of TNCDB who participated in the drafting of this report are Martine
Julsaint Kidane, Luisa Rodriguez and Mesut Saygili. Experts included Tsotang Tsietsi based in Maseru and Dr.
Milford Soko, Founding Director of Mthente Research and Consulting Services (Pty) Ltd and Associate Professor
at the University of Cape Town Graduate School of Business. Inputs were also provided by the research team
at Mthente Research and Consulting Services under the direction of Neil Balchin, Programme Manager, Senior
Researcher and Consultant at Mthente.


Comments were provided by Mina Mashayekhi, Liping Zhang and Deepali Fernandes (UNCTAD/TNCDB). The
authors are also grateful for the comments of the following external peer reviewers: Inye Briggs (African Union
Commission), Trudi Hartzenberg (Trade Law Centre for Southern Africa), Markus Jelitto (GFA/GIZ SADC Trade in
Services Project), Seth Lartey (Commonwealth Foundation), Calvin Manduna (African Development Bank), and
Laura Paez (United Nations Economic Commission for Africa).


The views expressed herein are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent those of the Government
of Lesotho or of UNCTAD.


The Lesotho SPR project was made possible through financial support obtained through the General Trust Fund
on Services, Development and Trade and the Development Account.


Laura Moresino-Borini designed the cover and Nathalie Loriot carried out the desktop publishing.


aCkNOWlEDGEMENTS




viii SERVICES POLICY REVIEW: LESOthO


acroNyms aNd abbreviatioNs


ACP African, Caribbean and Pacific Group of States


AGOA African Growth and Opportunity Act


ALAFA Apparel Lesotho Alliance to Fight AIDS


BEDCO Basotho Enterprises Development Corporation


CBL Central Bank of Lesotho


CGF Credit Guarantee Fund


CHAL Christian Health Association of Lesotho


CMA Common Monetary Area


DOE Department of Environment


EIA environmental impact assessment


EPA economic partnership agreement


FDI foreign direct investment


GATS General Agreement on Trade in Services


GDP gross domestic product


HSA health service area


IMF International Monetary Fund


LCT Lesotho Council for Tourism


LDC least developed country


LEAP Lesotho Enterprise Assistance Programme


LHWP Lesotho Highlands Water Project


LNDC Lesotho National Development Corporation


LRA Lesotho Revenue Authority


LTDC Lesotho Tourism Development Corporation


MDG Millennium Development Goal


MFA Multifibre Arrangement


MFDP Ministry of Finance and Development Planning


MLG Ministry of Local Government and Chieftainship


MOFDP Ministry of Finance and Development Planning


MOHA Ministry of Home Affairs


MOHSW Ministry of Health and Social Welfare


MPWT Ministry of Public Works and Transport


MTEC Ministry of Tourism, Environment and Culture


MTICM Ministry of Trade and Industry, Cooperatives and Marketing


NGO non-governmental organization




ix


NMDS National Manpower Development Secretariat


SPR Services Policy Review


OBFC One-Stop Business Facilitation Centre


PSCEDP Private Sector Competitiveness and Economic Diversification Project


PHC primary health care


RSCG Rural Savings and Credit Group


SACCO Savings and Credit Cooperative


SACU Southern African Customs Union


SADC Southern African Development Community


SARB South African Reserve Bank


SATSA Southern African Tourism Association


SME small and medium-sized enterprise


SMME small, medium and micro enterprise


SPR Services Policy Review


TDA tourism development area


TNCDB Trade Negociations and Commercial Diplomacy Branch (UNCTAD)


UNCTAD United Nations Conference on Trade and Development


UNWTO United Nations World Tourism Organization


WHO World Health Organization


WTO World Trade Organization


WTTC World Travel and Tourism Council


aCRONyMS aND aBBREvIaTIONS






xiCONTENTS


coNteNts


Note .................................................................................................................................................................. ii


Foreword .......................................................................................................................................................... iii


Executive summary ...........................................................................................................................................v


Acknowledgements ......................................................................................................................................... vii


Acronyms and abbreviations ............................................................................................................................viii


cHaPter i. iNtroductioN .......................................................... 1


A. Methodology ............................................................................................................................................... 3


B. Sectoral coverage ....................................................................................................................................... 3


C. Structure of the publication ......................................................................................................................... 4


cHaPter ii. ecoNomic PaNorama .............................................. 5


A. Economic overview of Lesotho’s services sector ......................................................................................... 7


1. Services and FDI in Lesotho ................................................................................................................. 8


2. The role of services in Lesotho’s international trade ............................................................................... 9


B. Economic growth and development in Lesotho ......................................................................................... 10


1. Lesotho and the Millennium Development Goals ................................................................................. 10


2. Development and economic priorities of the Government of Lesotho .................................................. 10


3. Existing policies and strategies for enhancing growth and performance in Lesotho’s services sector .......12


C. National trade policies for the expansion of key service sectors ................................................................. 14


1. Lesotho’s liberalization commitments under GATS .............................................................................. 14


2. The Doha Round of negotiations ......................................................................................................... 15


3. The SADC–European Union EPA negotiations ..................................................................................... 16


4. The SADC regional negotiations .......................................................................................................... 17


5. Sequencing and coordination of commitments under various trade agreements ............................. 18


cHaPter iii. FiNaNcial services sector .................................. 19


A. Role and performance of the financial services sector in Lesotho .............................................................. 20


1. The contribution of the financial services sector to the national economy ............................................ 21


2. Economic performance of the financial services sector ....................................................................... 24


3. Trends in trade and investment in the financial services sector ............................................................ 25


4. Linkages with other sectors ........................................................................................................................... 26


B. Inventory of legislation, regulations, institutions and policy measures ......................................................... 26


1. General legislation ............................................................................................................................... 27


2. Banking legislation .............................................................................................................................. 27




xii SERVICES POLICY REVIEW: LESOthO


3. Insurance legislation ............................................................................................................................ 27


4. Non-bank financial institutions legislation ............................................................................................ 27


5. Legislative gaps and inadequacies ...................................................................................................... 28


6. Institutions .......................................................................................................................................... 29


7. Policies ............................................................................................................................................... 29


C. Regulation of sector operators .................................................................................................................. 30


1. Insurance business ............................................................................................................................. 30


2. Insurance intermediaries (agents and brokers) .................................................................................... 30


3. Cooperatives ...................................................................................................................................... 30


4. Financial institutions ............................................................................................................................ 30


5. Moneylenders ..................................................................................................................................... 31


6. Societies ............................................................................................................................................. 31


D. Participation of foreign service providers .................................................................................................... 31


E. The role of regulations that support universal access to services ............................................................... 31


F. Trade liberalization commitments affecting the sector ................................................................................ 32


G. Financial services sector: an analysis of strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats ........................ 33


cHaPter iv. ProFessioNal medical services sector ............. 35


A. Role and performance of the professional medical services sector in Lesotho ................................................36


1. The contribution of professional medical services to the national economy ......................................... 36


2. Economic performance of the professional medical services sector .................................................... 37


3. Trends in trade and investment in the professional medical services sector ........................................ 39


B. Inventory of legislation, regulations, institutions and policy measures ......................................................... 40


1. Legislation .......................................................................................................................................... 40


2. Regulations ......................................................................................................................................... 40


3. Legislative gaps and inadequacies ...................................................................................................... 40


4. Institutions .......................................................................................................................................... 41


5. Policies ............................................................................................................................................... 42


C. Regulation of sector operators .................................................................................................................. 43


D. Participation of foreign service providers .................................................................................................... 44


E. The role of regulations that support universal access to services ............................................................... 44


F. Trade liberalization commitments affecting the sector ................................................................................ 44


G. Professional medical services sector: an analysis of strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats ..........45


cHaPter v. tourism services sector .................................... 47


A. Role and performance of the tourism services sector in Lesotho ............................................................... 48


1. The contribution of tourism services to the national economy ............................................................. 49




xiiiCONTENTS


2. Economic performance of the tourism services sector ........................................................................ 50


3. Trends in trade and investment in the tourism services sector ............................................................. 51


4. Linkages with other sectors ................................................................................................................ 52


B. Inventory of legislation, regulations, institutions and policy measures ......................................................... 54


1. Tourism legislation ............................................................................................................................... 54


2. Tourism-related legislation ................................................................................................................... 55


3. Regulations ......................................................................................................................................... 57


4. Legislative gaps and inadequacies ...................................................................................................... 57


5. Institutions .......................................................................................................................................... 58


6. Policy measures .................................................................................................................................. 61


C. Regulation of sector operators .................................................................................................................. 62


1. Laws and regulations on licensing activities......................................................................................... 62


D. Participation of foreign service providers .................................................................................................... 63


E. Trade liberalization commitments affecting the sector ................................................................................ 63


F. Tourism services sector: an analysis of strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats ......................... 63


cHaPter vi. recommeNdatioNs ............................................... 65


A. Cross-sectoral recommendations .............................................................................................................. 66


B. Financial services sector recommendations ............................................................................................... 67


C. Professional medical services recommendations ....................................................................................... 68


D. Tourism services sector recommendations ................................................................................................ 69


References ..................................................................................................................................................... 73


Annex I ........................................................................................................................................................... 76


Annex 2 .......................................................................................................................................................... 78


Annex 3 .......................................................................................................................................................... 79


Annex 4 .......................................................................................................................................................... 80


Annex 5 .......................................................................................................................................................... 81


Endnotes ........................................................................................................................................................ 82


Boxes


1. Moneylender cases ................................................................................................................................ 28


2. Financial services sector in Lesotho – strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats ....................... 33


3. Professional medical services sector in Lesotho – strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats ..........45


4. Tourism services sector in Lesotho – strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats ......................... 64




xiv SERVICES POLICY REVIEW: LESOthO


Tables


1. Contribution of key service sectors to GDP .............................................................................................. 7


in Lesotho, 2003–2006 ............................................................................................................................ 7


2. Percentage distribution of formal and ....................................................................................................... 8


informal employment by sector, 2008 ....................................................................................................... 8


3. Key aspects of Lesotho’s Vision 2020 .................................................................................................... 11


4. General and life insurance gross premiums, total assets and total liabilities, 2004–2007 ......................... 25


5. Total investments in general and life insurance, 2004–2007 .................................................................... 26


6. Total value of Lesotho’s insurance services imports ($ million), 1980–2010 ............................................. 26


7. Total numbers of doctors, dentists, pharmacists, paramedics and other medical professionals
in Lesotho, 2005–2011 .......................................................................................................................... 37


8. Density of health personnel per 1,000 members of the population in Lesotho compared with the
WHO African region ............................................................................................................................... 38


9. Growth of value added in Lesotho’s health and social work sector, 1993–2003...................................... 39


10. The provision of health care services in Lesotho ..................................................................................... 41


11. Nursing Council fees in Lesotho ............................................................................................................. 42


12. Medical Council registration fees ............................................................................................................ 43


13. International tourist arrivals in Lesotho by country of residence, 2009 and 2010 ..................................... 51


14. Starting a business in Lesotho ............................................................................................................... 59


Figures


1. Sectoral composition of national GDP in Lesotho, 1990–2010 ................................................................. 6


2. Lesotho’s total and per capita real GDP growth rates, 1990–2010 ........................................................... 7


3. Total services sector value added as a percentage of GDP, 1990–2010 ................................................... 7


4. Distribution of Lesotho’s trade in services by category (percentage), 2008 ............................................... 9


5. Lesotho’s total services trade export flows ($ million), 1995–2010 ............................................................ 9


6. Relative performance of Lesotho’s services and merchandise exports ($ million), 1980–2010 .................. 9


7. Lesotho’s services exports and imports, 1980–2010 ($ million) .............................................................. 10


8. Lesotho’s levels of financial inclusion in comparison with other African countries ................................................................. 21


9. Comparing levels of financial inclusion in rural and urban parts of Lesotho ............................................. 22


10. Share of Basotho accessing formal and total financial services (per cent) ............................................... 23


11. Relative value of financial and insurance services in Lesotho, 1997–2006 (1995 = 100) ......................... 24


12. Growth rate of financial and insurance services in Lesotho, 1997–2006 (percentage) ............................. 24


13. Access to financial services in Lesotho (percentage of the adult population) ........................................... 31


14. Numbers of enrolled nurses, foreign nurses, general nurses and nursing assistants in Lesotho,
1995–2011 ............................................................................................................................................ 38


15. Existing linkages between the tourism sector and other economic sectors ............................................. 53


16. Tourism development areas in Lesotho .................................................................................................. 55


17. Share of ownership in Lesotho Sun’s equity ........................................................................................... 59




ServiceS Policy review


introduction


I




2 SERVICES POLICY REVIEW: LESOthO


Trade in services has become increasingly important
to both developed and developing economies. Since
the 1980s, world trade in services has expanded at a
faster rate than that of merchandise trade and, today,
many developed economies produce more services
than goods. Services account for approximately
70  per cent of GDP and employment in developed
countries and approximately 50  per cent of GDP
in developing nations. Although trade in services
currently accounts for only 20 per cent of global trade,
it has been predicted that, by 2050, global services
exports will exceed global merchandise exports. The
growing importance of services trade is also reflected
in the growth of liberalization agreements containing
commitments relating to services.


Efforts to boost trade in services are important
for developing countries, which tend to be heavily
dependent on the import of services. Were these
countries to open up their markets to foreign services,
their consumers would perhaps benefit from access
to lower priced, higher quality services of a greater
variety such as telecommunications, business and
professional services. The opening up of markets may
also allow these countries to benefit from increased
inflows of investment, skills and expertise. Moreover,
trade in services can increase employment creation
and income generation, both of which are critically
important for poverty reduction. Furthermore,
developing countries can profit from services trade by
increasing exports of their own services and the gains
from trade can be channelled towards supporting
developmental efforts.


Recently, the onset of the global economic crisis has
raised the profile of the services sector as a tool for
driving economic growth and development. In broad
terms, the global economic crisis has challenged
prevailing economic orthodoxies and has led to a
reconsideration of the role of globalization as a driving
force for growth and employment. The crisis has
underscored the need for active policies (requiring
a greater role of the state, working in collaboration
with the private sector, civil society and other relevant
stakeholders) to foster profound structural changes in
production, consumption and trade patterns. In this
sense, to counter the debilitating effects of the crisis,
countries have adopted measures to promote the long-
term competitiveness of industries and enhance human
capital development, while at the same time seeking
to identify and produce new products and enter new
markets.1


In the midst of the global economic crisis, services
exports proved to be relatively more resilient and
less volatile than merchandise trade. Globally,
during 2008–2009, the services sector grew at a
rate of 9.3  per cent even as the agriculture and
industrial sectors recorded a steep decline.i This
suggests that efforts to develop domestic and
export-oriented services industries can play a
meaningful role in ensuring that economies are
more resilient to external shocks and facilitating
diversification into new markets and exports. More
generally, a vast body of research undertaken by
UNCTAD clearly demonstrates that services can
contribute significantly to enhancing productivity
and economic competitiveness.


Given the enabling and driving role that governments
typically play in the development of service economies,
it is useful for policymakers to devise national services
development strategies.ii Moreover, to ensure buy-in
and support, as well as to generate desirable spill-
in and spill-over effects among related economic
sectors, the development of these strategies should
take place through participative consultations at the
national level with all key actors – including parastatal
institutions, potential and existing foreign and
domestic investors, labour groups and academia. The
inclusion of the latter two are particularly relevant for
the development of services strategies given the need
to ensure adequate labour transformations and the
enhanced levels of human capacity needed to support
growth of the services workforce.


Mindful of this, UNCTAD SPRs are designed to assist
countries to improve their regulatory and institutional
frameworks and utilize trade policies as an instrument
to advance national objectives and interests. Through
a sectoral approach to development that focuses on
specific service sectors, the national SPRs can play an
instrumental role in providing policymakers, regulatory
authorities and other stakeholders with an important
technical understanding of the dynamics of particular
services sectors in an economy and the issues currently
confronting these sectors. In turn, this can form the
basis for the development of effective reforms to the
regulatory and policy frameworks that underpin these
sectors. Ultimately, this can pave the way for policy
reforms that advance both sectoral objectives and
broader national economic and social interests.


The Government of Lesotho – through the Ministry
of Trade and Industry, Cooperatives and Marketing
(MTICM) – with the assistance of UNCTAD, has




3CHAPTER I: introduction


initiated the Lesotho SPR. The intention of the SPR
is to:


• Conduct a national services survey with a view to
assessing the current state of development in the
services sector;


• Identify achievements, weaknesses and challeng-
es in specific services subsectors;


• Identify or determine policy options, including reg-
ulatory, institutional and sector-specific trade poli-
cy reform measures that can enhance the contri-
bution of services to the advancement of national
developmental objectives;


• Articulate ways to ensure the sustainability of the
development gains occasioned by services sector
reforms, including through their contribution to the
achievement of the national Millennium Develop-
ment Goals (MDGs);


• Identify specific measures aimed at strengthening
capacities to effectively engage in services trade
negotiations.


This report has been developed in close
communication and collaboration with the MTICM and
a broad range of national government, business and
civil stakeholders. The report is designed to help these
stakeholders meet four primary objectives:


• Manage the services reform process;


• Ensure sustainable development gains through
services reform, including through the service sec-
tors' contribution to the achievement of the na-
tional MDGs;


• Strengthen capacities related to services trade ne-
gotiations;


• Monitor results achieved through reforms in the
services sector.


a. metHodology
The research process underpinning the Lesotho SPR
began with the preparation of a desk study by UNCTAD.
This study was used as the basis for discussion at the
National Stakeholder Workshop staged in Maseru
on 29–30 September 2011. This multi-stakeholder
workshop provided a platform for discussions that
focused on issues and challenges currently confronting
key service sectors in Lesotho and proposals on
strategic approaches, policy advances and trade
liberalization reforms in specific service sectors.


Thereafter, a national team of experts embarked on a
research process that involved both extensive desktop
research and engagement with key stakeholders
in Lesotho. The former drew on the content of the
UNCTAD desk study, together with a comprehensive
body of statistics, reports, previous studies, policy
documentation, statutes, regulations and laws. In turn,
the engagement process was conducted through a
total of 42 interviews with a wide range of stakeholders
based in Lesotho. These included interviews with
representatives of the MTICM, the Lesotho Tourism
Development Corporation (LTDC), the Ministry of
Health and Social Welfare (MOHSW), the Central Bank
of Lesotho (CBL), the Departments of Tourism and the
Environment, the Ministry of Finance and Development
Planning (MOFDP), the Basotho Enterprises
Development Corporation (BEDCO), the Apparel
Lesotho Alliance to Fight AIDS (ALAFA), the National
University of Lesotho, the Lesotho Revenue Authority
(LRA), the Lesotho Enterprise Assistance Programme
(LEAP) of the Private Sector Competitiveness Project
and various sector operators.


The research findings by the experts were presented
during the second National Stakeholder Workshop,
held in Maseru on 19–20 January 2012. This workshop
provided the opportunity to critically review SPR
findings and conclusions relevant to policy and obtain
further inputs from stakeholders. Discussions led to
further refinement and validation of recommendations
to be submitted to the Government and other relevant
actors. The recommendations should provide the basis
of strategies for the development of the service sectors
and also for the identification of concrete actions and
benchmarks for further services reforms and of the
responsibilities of specific stakeholders in this regard.


b. sectoral coverage
As an initiator of this process, the MTICM has
determined three service sectors to form the focus
of the SPR. Specifically, the review is confined to the
following three key service sectors in Lesotho:


• Financial services;


• Professional medical services;


• Tourism services;


These sectors have been identified by the MTICM
as holding the potential to contribute significantly
to the future growth and development of Lesotho’s
economy.




4 SERVICES POLICY REVIEW: LESOthO


c. structure oF tHe
PublicatioN


The remainder of the report is structured as follows:
chapter II presents an economic overview of the
broad services sector in Lesotho. This is followed in
chapters III, IV and V by comprehensive assessments
of the financial, the professional medical and the
tourism service sectors, respectively. In each case,
an economic overview of the sector in question is
presented, focusing on the contribution of the sector
to the national economy, the economic performance
of the sector, trends in trade and investment in
the sector, and the sector’s linkages with other
sectors within the Lesotho economy. For each of
the sectors, the economic overview is followed by


an inventory of legislation, regulations, institutions
and policy measures, regulations governing sector
operators, an analysis of the participation of foreign
service providers in the sector, trade liberalization
commitments affecting the sector, and an analysis
of the existing strengths, weaknesses, opportunities
and threats characterizing the sector in Lesotho.


Finally, in chapter VI, a set of recommendations are
presented based on the findings drawn from the
desktop research and consultative engagements
with key stakeholders. The recommendations are
separated into a series of general recommendations
applicable to the services sector as a whole, together
with recommendations specific to each of the three
service sectors.




ServiceS Policy review


economic Panorama


II




6 SERVICES POLICY REVIEW: LESOthO


Lesotho boasts a highly open economy in spite of
having only limited natural resources and a narrow
production and export base. The country’s main exports
are ceramics, clothing, inedible crude materials, cut
diamonds, footwear and footwear components, furniture,
miscellaneous manufactured goods and wool. In turn, its
primary imports are cereals, electricity, food ingredients,
machinery, medicines, miscellaneous manufactured
goods, and oil and petroleum products. The ratio of
exports and imports in goods and services as a percentage
of national GDP in Lesotho averaged 163 per cent over
the period 2007–2009. Meanwhile, in 2009, Lesotho
ranked 127th and 121st among world merchandise
exporters and importers, respectively, while it occupied
154th place among world exporters and importers in
services.2 Small, landlocked and mountainous, Lesotho
relies on remittances from Basotho employed in South
Africa, customs duties from SACU,iii and exports for the
majority of government revenue.


The services sector is the biggest contributor to Lesotho’s
GDP (figure 1). However, its relative contribution to national
output has been falling during the last two decades as
the contribution of industry (including manufacturing,
electricity, water, mining and construction) has expanded,
rising from 19.0 per cent in 1990 to 34.1 per cent two
decades later in 2010.3 At the same time, the relative
importance of agriculture in Lesotho’s economy and its
contribution to national GDP has declined steadily over the
same period, to the point where it is clear that Lesotho’s
economy is no longer agriculture-based, despite the
fact that the majority of Lesotho’s population continue
to live in rural areas (estimated at 80 per cent in 2010)4
and most of the labour force is engaged in subsistence
agriculture, especially livestock herding. The contribution
of agriculture to national GDP fell from 18.6 per cent to
8.0 per cent, while the share of manufacturing increased
from 9.6 per cent to 18.6 per cent from 1990 to 2010.
Over the same period, the contribution of the services
sector to national GDP fell from 62.4 per cent in 1990 to
57.9 per cent in 2010.


In conjunction with the decline in the relative importance
of the agriculture sector in comparison with other key
sectors in the economy, the deteriorating performance
of the sector can also be explained by drought
and land degradation. The role of mining has also
declined, evident in the steady decline in the number
of mineworkers in Lesotho over the past several
years. On the other hand, there has been significant
development of industrial and manufacturing activities
and the country represents one of the few countries in


sub-Saharan Africa that has gone through a significant
process of industrialization.


Lesotho’s economy has grown steadily, if
unspectacularly, since the late 1990s. Over the ten-year
period from 1998 to 2008, Lesotho’s average annual
GDP growth rate was 3.2  per cent. In turn, Lesotho
recorded real per capita growth that averaged 2  per
cent between 1991 and 2007 – an above average
figure for sub-Saharan Africa. These average growth
rates do, however, mask significant fluctuations in the
growth of both real GDP and GDP per capita. This
can be explained, in part, by the fact that Lesotho’s
growth path has been closely linked to the external
environment, weather conditions and the strength
or weakness of the South African rand, to which the
Lesotho loti is pegged.iv Real GDP rose 6.7 per cent
in 2006, driven by booming diamond production, a
recovery of the garment industry and good performance
in the agriculture and service sectors. Drought returned
in 2007 and agriculture’s contribution to GDP growth
was negative. Mining, the garment industry and
construction remained vibrant, and overall GDP growth
of approximately 2.3  per cent was achieved. GDP
growth rebounded somewhat in 2008 to approximately
4.4 per cent but was much lower in 2009 (1.1 per cent),
with contractions in the manufacturing and mining
sectors stemming largely from the effects of the global
economic crisis. Thereafter, however, economic growth
in Lesotho rebounded to 2.4 per cent in 2010 and it is
expected to recover further to 3.1 per cent in 2011 and
to 4.1 per cent in 20125 as new diamond mines start
production and construction is boosted by the second
phase of a regional water project.


The fluctuations experienced in GDP growth in Lesotho
since 1995 are illustrated graphically in figure 2, which
outlines Lesotho’s real GDP growth rate and per capita


Figure 1. Sectoral composition of national GDP in
Lesotho, 1990–2010


18.6 13.2 12.0 8.2 8.0


19.0 26.5 30.8 33.2 34.1


62.4 60.3 57.2 58.6 57.9


0%
10%
20%
30%
40%
50%
60%
70%
80%
90%
100%


1990 1995 2000 2005 2010
Agriculture Industry Services


Source: UNCTADstat for 1990–2005 figures and UNData
for 2010 figures.




7CHAPTER ii: Economic panorama


administration, and transport and communication. Data
on the contribution of these sectors to national GDP
are available for the period 2003–2006 (table 1), and
show that education services made the largest relative
contribution to GDP in Lesotho, with the sector’s
share expanding marginally from 9.5 per cent in 2003
to almost 10  per cent in 2006. This was followed
closely by wholesale and retail trade services, whose
contribution to national output remained relatively stable
at 8.5 per cent in 2003 and 8.1 per cent in 2006. Over
the same period, the equivalent contribution of financial
intermediation services increased from just above 7 per
cent in 2003 to 8 per cent three years later.


Figure 2. Lesotho’s total and per capita real GDP
growth rates, 1990–2010


Figure 3. Total services sector value added as a
percentage of GDP, 1990–2010


-8


-6


-4


-2


0


2


4


6


8


10


12


19
90


19
91


19
92


19
93


19
94


19
95


19
96


19
97


19
98


19
99


20
00


20
01


20
02


20
03


20
04


20
05


20
06


20
07


20
08


20
09


20
10


pe
rc


en
t


Annual average growth rates per capita
Annual average growth rates




40


45


50


55


60


65


70


1990 1992 1994 1996 1998 2000 2002 2004 2006 2008 2010


Source: UNCTADstat. Source: UNCTADstat.


real GDP growth rate (based on constant 2005 prices)
for the fifteen-year period between 1995 and 2010.


It is estimated that Lesotho’s current-account deficit
will deteriorate from 19.3  per cent of GDP in 2010
to 23.8  per cent of GDP in 2011, before narrowing
slightly to 13.9  per cent of GDP in 2012 as current
transfers from SACU recover and exports increase.6


a. ecoNomic overview
oF lesotHo’s services
sector


Historically, the services sector has played a dominant
role in Lesotho’s economy. Over the twenty-year period
between 1990 and 2010, the average contribution of
the services sector to total GDP was around 60 per
cent (figure 3).7 The share of the sector had fallen
considerably from around 65 per cent at the beginning
of the 1990s to under 55 per cent at the beginning
of the 2000s. The sector then bounced back up to
58  per cent in 2010. Though the current share of
services in GDP is still less than in the early 1990s,
there are a number of services providers operating
informally and thus the sector’s real contribution to the
economy could be considerably higher.


Nevertheless, despite the recent decline in the
contribution of the services sector to national GDP,
growth within the broad sector has been resilient,
even in the wake of the global economic crisis. Indeed,
between 2008 and 2009 the services sector exports
grew at a rate of 9.3 per cent.8 Despite this, according
to the World Trade Organization (WTO), Lesotho
remains a “net importer of services”.9


In terms of individual contributions to national GDP,
the main service sectors in Lesotho are education,
wholesale and retail trade, financial intermediation, public


Percentage GDP


Services sector 2003 2004 2005 2006


Education 9.5 9.5 9.4 9.9


Wholesale and retail trade 8.5 8.2 8.0 8.1


Financial intermediation 7.9 7.3 7.5 8.0


Public administration 7.2 7.2 7.1 6.8


Transport and communication 4.9 5.1 5.5 5.6


Table 1. Contribution of key service sectors to GDP
in Lesotho, 2003–2006


In addition to these sectors, construction is regarded
as the most dynamic services sector in Lesotho.
Construction growth peaked in the 1990s as a result
of the Lesotho Highlands Water Project (LHWP).
Government procurement is now the main source of
growth in the sector and is expected to be boosted by
the initiation of major works for phase 2 of the LHWP.
According to government projections for 2008/2009–
2013/2014,v infrastructure service sectors such as
construction, finance, transport and communicationvi
are expected to grow well during the period.


Source: International Monetary Fund (IMF) (2008).




8 SERVICES POLICY REVIEW: LESOthO


Growth in the development of infrastructure services is
much needed in Lesotho. Infrastructure services are an
important component of the supporting environment
for many service sectors. Worryingly however, the
current state of infrastructure in Lesotho has been
described as below par even in comparison with other
low-income countries and the SACU economies. This
may stem, at least in part, from insufficient levels of
investment in infrastructure in Lesotho. For instance,
an international benchmarking study of infrastructure
performance in Lesotho in the areas of electricity,
water and sanitation, information and communication
technology and roads (transportation) found limited
investment in infrastructure in spite of the fact that
most of Lesotho’s capital budget goes towards
infrastructural investments, particularly for roads and
water supply projects.10


Turning to sectoral employment, data from the
2008 Labour Force Survey (table 2) show that the
manufacturing, public administration and defence, and
education sectors are the dominant contributors to
employment in the formal sector in Lesotho. In contrast,
employment in service sectors such as financial
intermediation, real estate, renting and business
activities contribute only marginally to employment.


1. services and Fdi in lesotho


Lesotho is open to FDI. The country is often considered
to be a success story in terms of its ability to attract
export-oriented investments as a least developed
country (LDC). With most investment originating from
East Asia, FDI in Lesotho is primarily channelled into
export-oriented manufacturing, especially in the form
of textiles and apparel for the market of the United
States of America under the African Growth and
Opportunity Act (AGOA) preferences.


In broad terms, Lesotho has maintained an inviting
posture to facilitate FDI. Lesotho’s investment climate
is favourable with regards to currency conversion,
monetary transfer policies, and a lack of undue
burdens to investors. According to the United
States Department of State, the main weakness
of the investment climate is an underdeveloped
legal framework for investors (particularly regarding
business taxation) and the need for land reform.11


In the 1990s and 2000s, Lesotho’s economy performed
well above average for low- and middle-income countries
in terms of attracting FDI. Through FDI flows, Lesotho
has been able to take advantage of trade privileges in
United States of America markets under the Multifibre
Arrangement (MFA) and AGOA since April 2001,
thereby kick-starting a rapid process of industrialization.vii


However, FDI inflows have been very unstable, as they
are very dependent on trade preferences unilaterally
conceded by major trading partners and are, therefore,
very vulnerable to trade preference erosion.


As the dominant sector in the economy, the services
sector has great potential to generate sustainable
growth and create employment opportunities in
Lesotho in the future. Given the size of the economy,
much of this potential growth and employment
expansion will hinge on the country’s ability to attract
FDI into the sector. In this respect, the importance
of the link between services – particularly business
and infrastructure services – and FDI cannot be
underestimated.


Industry Formal (%)


Informal
urban
(%)


Informal
rural
(%)


Agriculture, hunting and forestry 1.5 4.6 3.4


Fishing 0.1 0.0 0.0


Mining and quarrying 0.9 2.1 5.6


Manufacturing 46.2 21.2 27.8


Electricity, gas and water supply 1.8 0.0 0.9


Construction 3.7 15.3 11.4


Wholesale and retail sale 5.4 24.8 4.3


Hotels and restaurants 1.1 1.5 1.4


Transport, storage and
communications 2.3 4.6 1.5


Financial intermediation 2.0 1.3 0.7


Real estate, renting and
business activities 0.4 0.5 0.1


Public administration and defence 18.7 3.7 15.3


Education 9.2 3.8 20.1


Health and social work 3.8 0.5 4.6


Other community, social and
personal service security 2.0 5.6 2.2


Private households with employed
persons 0.4 10.4 0.5


Extraterritorial organizations
and bodies 0.7 0.0 0.2


Table 2. Percentage distribution of formal and
informal employment by sector, 2008


Source: The Bureau of Statistics and the Ministry of Finance
and Development Planning of Lesotho (2008).




9CHAPTER ii: Economic panorama


To date, Lesotho has been successful in attracting FDI
into the telecommunications services sector on the
back of a high rate of penetration of telecommunications
services relative to the country’s per capita income.12
However, in other service sectors, such as the air
transportation sector, Lesotho has not been successful
in attracting foreign investment to date.


2. the role of services in
lesotho’s international
trade


Lesotho’s main services exports (figure 4) include
travel (business and personal travel), royalties and
fees,viii and other business services (business and
management consulting and public relations services).
Although the country’s services exports increased
during the period 2005–2009, this trend has not been
stable. Specifically, over this period exports peaked
in 2007 and promptly contracted in 2008, with a
particularly severe decline in the travel subsector.


innovations to simplify transactions, have also played a
part in boosting Lesotho’s trade in services.13


Figure 4. Distribution of Lesotho’s trade in services
by category (percentage), 2008


Figure 5. Lesotho’s total services trade export flows
($ million), 1995–2010


Figure 6. Relative performance of Lesotho’s services
and merchandise exports ($ million),
1980–2010




Other business
services; 0.41


Communications;
7.75


Transport; 0.96


Travel; 50.08


Government
services n.i.e.;


11.23


Insurance; 0.43


Royalties and
licence fees; 29.13


0


10


20


30


40


50


60


70


80


90


100


1995 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010


0


100


200


300


400


500


600


700


800


900


1000


19
80


19
82


19
84


19
86


19
88


19
90


19
92


19
94


19
96


19
98


20
00


20
02


20
04


20
06


20
08


20
10


Services
Merchandise


Source: UNCTADstat.


Source: UNCTADstat.


Source: UNCTADstat.


Lesotho’s trade in services, measured in terms of export
flows, has shown divergent growth paths since 1995.
Figure 5 shows that, when measured in current prices
and current exchange rates, the value of Lesotho’s
total services trade expanded from nearly $39 million
in 1995 to almost $90  million in 1997, before falling
below $20  million in 2002. After that year, Lesotho’s
services exports rose steadily and reached almost
$50 million in 2010. The recent surge in export flows
is likely to have been fuelled by the gradual recovery
of the global economy, and supported by investments
in infrastructure spearheaded by the Government’s
focus on infrastructure development and high levels
of capital expenditure. Strong growth in the financial,
transport and communications service sectors in
Lesotho, together with financial services reforms and


Nevertheless, the relative performance of Lesotho’s
services exports has been poor in comparison with the
country’s total merchandise exports over the past two
decades. Figure 6 shows that services exports have
stagnated in comparison with merchandise exports over
this period. Indeed, the former accounts for only 5.7 per
cent of Lesotho’s goods and services exports and 2.4 per
cent of GDP, while the latter accounts for 94.3 per cent
of total exports and 40.1 per cent of the national income.


Lesotho is a net-services-imported economy and
exports and imports have exhibited divergent paths
during the last 30 years (figure 7). While the country’s
exports of services have remained stagnant during
this period, imports have climbed from $50 million in
1980 to more than $500  million in 2010. Lesotho’s
goods and services imports amounted to more
than 127 per cent of GDP in 2010, which leads to a
$1.7 billion trade deficit (85 per cent of GDP). Trade in
services also plays an important role in widening the




10 SERVICES POLICY REVIEW: LESOthO


gap between exports and imports, with a $468 million
deficit. In the last five years, the main services
imported into Lesotho have included transportation
services (particularly freight sea transport) and travel
services (education-related expenditure). Much of this
dependency on transportation services stems from
the fact that the country is landlocked. Lesotho also
imports communication services (postal, courier and
telecommunication services), insurance services and
business services.


(PHC) strategy. On the back of this strategy, the country
has made remarkable progress in increasing access
to health services. However, persistent problems
related to severe shortages of staff, poor remuneration
packages and equipment have combined to adversely
affect the continued and sustainable implementation
of PHC in Lesotho.


Furthermore, despite the improvements registered in
the provision of basic human services, Lesotho faces
numerous developmental challenges. Chief amongst
these is the high prevalence of HIV and AIDS, which is
the third highest in the world at 23.6 per cent of the adult
population.ix HIV and AIDS are the greatest obstacles to
the achievement of the MDGs in the country. Lesotho’s
social indicators have deteriorated rapidly over the last
decade as a result of increased mortality and reduced
incomes associated with HIV and AIDS-related deaths.


Furthermore, with limited arable land and a
dominance of subsistence-level farming, 25 per cent
of the population in Lesotho is vulnerable to food
insecurity. Poverty is widespread, with more than
half of the population living below the poverty line.
Furthermore, extreme inequality in the distribution
of income in Lesotho remains a major drawback.
Unsurprisingly, within this context Lesotho’s position
in the United Nations Development Programme
human development ranking fell steadily from
134 out of 174 countries in 1995 (United Nations
Human Development Report, 1998) to 160 out of
187 countries and territories (United Nations Human
Development Report, 2011).x


At the same time, as a consequence of the global
economic downturn, the Government’s budget in the
next few years will be considerably constrained due
to slowdown in inflows of workers’ remittances and
receipts from the SACU countries, Lesotho’s important
sources of external income. This situation will make
progress on the MDGs more difficult to attain.xi


2. development and
economic priorities of the
government of lesotho


Lesotho’s national development goals and overall
economic growth strategies have undergone a
series of transformations and structural changes in
the last two decades aimed at poverty eradication,
attaining self-sufficiency and creating prosperity for
the country’s citizens. According to the Government
of Lesotho, the future development of the country will


Figure 7. Lesotho’s services exports and imports,
1980–2010 ($ million)




32 18
41 39 24 36


4850 36
81


61


249


369


516


0


100


200


300


400


500


600


1980 1985 1990 1995 2000 2005 2010


Exports Imports


Source: UNCTADstat.


b. ecoNomic growtH
aNd develoPmeNt
iN lesotHo


1. lesotho and the
millennium development
goals


Lesotho has achieved some success in boosting
the provision of basic human services. For instance,
Lesotho boasts one of the highest primary school
enrolment rates in sub-Saharan Africa (almost 84 per
cent). This is due, at least in part, to the Government
of Lesotho’s adoption of a free primary education
policy in 2000, later buttressed by the Education
Act (2010), which makes primary education not only
free but also compulsory. Public services in Lesotho
have also had some positive impact in improving
the health and welfare of the Basotho people. For
instance, improvements have been registered in terms
of increasing access to electricity as well as access
to water and sanitation services in villages across
the country.14 With respect to health, in 1979 the
Government of Lesotho adopted a primary health care




11CHAPTER ii: Economic panorama


be contingent on the capacity of the Government
to provide sustained support to the country’s
developmental initiatives, the country’s ability to
stimulate local investment and attract FDI, and its
improved access to export markets. Within this
context, the Government’s economic strategy seeks
to improve the management of public finances,
improve the investment climate and strengthen the
financial sector. The Government of Lesotho sees
its core economic function as that of a facilitator
and promoter of private investment in a framework
of flexible planning. In this context, the Economist
Intelligence Unit emphasises the paramount role
of the Government as a provider of key services,
especially in the case of infrastructure:15


The focus of economic policy is … on improving
the business environment in order to encourage
the development of the private sector while em-
phasizing investment in high-return public infra-
structure such as roads and water supply.


These objectives are elaborated in Lesotho’s Vision
2020, a key planning document designed to guide
the country’s long-term development plan. The main
elements identified by Vision 2020 are outlined in table 3.


The Government of Lesotho’s key development and
economic goals outlined in Vision 2020, in the Poverty
Reduction Strategy (2004) prepared in partnership with
the World Bank, and also in the Interim Poverty Reduction
and Growth Facility prepared with the IMF include:


• Employment creation: The establishment and pro-
motion of SMEs play a key role in this respect;


• Sustainable human capacity enhancement
through (a) appropriate education and training that
is accessible to all, (b) quality health services that


are accessible to all, and (c) the control of HIV and
AIDS using a national, multi-sectoral response;


• Improvement of the investment climate.


According to the three strategic documents mentioned
above, the goal of sustainable development, growth
and prosperity is expected to be achieved by:


• The development of an aggressive programme of
entrepreneurship at all levels of the economy;


• The intensification and diversification of agricultural
production;


• Economic diversification, which is seen as the way
to reduce the potential vulnerability of negative de-
velopments in the two main markets, namely South
Africa and the United States of America – diversifi-
cation should take place at two levels – preferential
trade and investment market opportunities.


The Government of Lesotho recognizes the need for
Lesotho to be competitive in regional and international
markets. To achieve this goal, the Government
has embarked on plans to improve the country’s
competitiveness and to increase internal capabilities in
the economy’s manufacturing, services and agriculture
sectors.


Similarly, the National Development Plan, which
replaces Lesotho’s Poverty Reduction Strategy, sets
out the Government’s strategic plan for promoting
economic growth and reducing poverty. The Plan is
set for implementation over the period from 2011/12–
2015/16. The financing of the National Development
Plan will be from government resources, including donor
funds. Some ongoing projects exist, while others are in
the pipeline. Gaps are currently being identified both in
terms of lacking funds and objectives of the Plan that
are not currently addressed by projects/programmes.


Challenges Increasing levels of poverty, escalating unemployment, environmental degradation, economic and political instability, and the HIV and AIDS pandemic


Weaknesses Food insecurity, unemployment, poor strategic and operational planning, inadequate research in science and technology, and an underdeveloped small, medium and micro enterprises (SMMEs) sector


Strengths Government commitment to development, its widely accepted and respected constitution, cultural homogeneity, the electoral system, and high adult literacy


Opportunities FDI and good relations with the Republic of South Africa


Threats Brain drain, donor conditionality, decline in mine labour remittances and increasing competition from international markets


Pillars of development Democracy, unity, peace, education and training, economic growth, management of the environment, and advancement in technology
Factors that are pivotal in
Lesotho’s development Political commitment, FDI and public sector management


Table 3. Key aspects of Lesotho’s Vision 2020


Source: Government of Lesotho.




12 SERVICES POLICY REVIEW: LESOthO


The overarching objectives of the National Development
Plan are to promote good governance, improve public
service delivery and accountability, and reduce poverty.
This is to be achieved by:16


• Pursuing high, shared, sustainable, private-sector-
led economic growth that generates employment by:


— Promoting high levels of private-sector invest-
ment by the removal of unnecessary con-
straints and the development of an investor-
friendly and competitive investment climate;


— Developing legal and regulatory institutions that
will support high levels of investment by the pri-
vate sector and quick decision making by poli-
cymakers and licensing authorities;


— Promoting industrial development and the de-
velopment of SMMEs;xii


— Developing agriculture, tourism, human skills
and infrastructure;


— Reducing social vulnerabilities by enabling the
disadvantaged to participate in the growth pro-
cess and protecting the vulnerable who are un-
able to benefit from the growth process;


• Fighting HIV and AIDS by promoting testing
through the Know Your Status campaign, care and
treatment of the infected and affected persons and
promotion of protection through education and
use of all channels of communication.


Looking to the future, policy reforms and efforts to
liberalize trade and regulations within Lesotho’s service
sectors should be framed within the overarching policy
context of the National Development Plan.


3. existing policies and
strategies for enhancing
growth and performance in
lesotho’s services sector


A thriving services sector is vital for all countries. High
rates of investment and economic growth associated
with services can contribute to poverty alleviation and
human development. For this, the right policies need
to be in place to overcome supply-side constraints
and ensure economy-wide development gains
from services and services trade. As for many other
developing economies and LDCs, Lesotho, while
having moved away from a primary dependence on
agriculture, is still largely reliant on manufacturing
and remittances. However, it is important for the


country to focus on the services sector as a tool for
the diversification of the economy as the country
continues on its development path.


Mindful of this, services are a key strategic component
of Lesotho’s development plan. The Government of
Lesotho has acknowledged the need to develop and
strengthen the existing services sector in Lesotho and
support the expansion of new service sectors. The broad
economic priorities and objectives of the Government of
Lesotho for the services sector (applicable to all service
subsectors) include increasing investment (for example
expanding local investment through increased spin-off
effects from large-scale export-oriented companies to
indigenous small-scale entrepreneurs) and exploring
investment potential in the services sector to maximize
the country’s comparative advantage.


Upgrading and improving legal and institutional
frameworks is also a priority. This issue is particularly
relevant with respect to licensing procedures and
the tax regime, which are viewed as complex and
inefficient and favouring manufacturing at the expense
of the services sector. Land acquisition and transfer
remain complex issues that need further review to
facilitate more investment.


The Government of Lesotho already recognizes the
importance of key social services (health and education)
to underpin the foundations for the development of a
good human resource base in Lesotho. In this sense,
it seeks to increase the efficiency of, and accessibility
to, quality social services, particularly for vulnerable
groups (women, children and youths). As a result,
expenditure on health and education is expected to
grow in the coming years.


In terms of social development in Lesotho, the
critical importance of empowering women and girls
in the country cannot be overestimated. It is widely
acknowledged, most notably by the United Nations,
that the empowerment of women represents the
most effective tool for development.17 Empowering
women can produce a diverse range of developmental
benefits in developing countries such as Lesotho, from
raising economic productivity and improving education
rates, to reducing infant and maternal mortality.18 Such
empowerment must be underpinned by the provision of:


…primary and secondary education for girls,
investing in infrastructure beneficial to women,
increasing their role in policymaking and guar-
anteeing their rights to sexual and reproductive
health, property, ownership, inheritance and
equality in employment.19




13CHAPTER ii: Economic panorama


Lesotho has already developed a National Development
Plan that gives priority to women’s empowerment,
and the country has made notable strides towards
improving gender equality through a number of
programmes aimed at empowering women.20


Lesotho’s Vision 2020 envisages a healthy and well-
developed human resource base. Challenges ahead
relate to HIV and AIDS and geographic inequalities
in the availability of health care due to the country’s
mountainous terrain, which makes access to health
facilities difficult in many rural areas. In this regard, the
Government’s key objectives in looking to overcome
health-related challenges include improving universal
access to reproductive health facilities and creating a
more equitable distribution of health facilities.


The Government of Lesotho has identified the tourism
sector as key in pursuing an export-led economic
growth strategy. Indeed, the tourism sector has been
recognized as an important source of jobs (including
temporary employment through construction works)
and foreign exchange. To this end, the Government
has identified the following actions as necessary to be
able to use this sector as a primary engine of growth
and to tap into its potential effectively:


• Upgrading skills in the sector, supporting educa-
tion to provide the necessary technical and voca-
tional training;


• Creating an enabling environment for private sec-
tor investment, particularly with respect to basic in-
frastructure (road, electricity, communications and
water) and providing appropriate incentives;


• Developing sustainable tourism;


• Introducing new regulation, particularly to (a) im-
pose limits on foreign ownership, (b) require train-
ing and development of local staff, and (c) reform
requirements with respect to land ownership.


Lesotho has also developed a sectoral policy for
the telecommunications sector. In this respect,
the Government established the Lesotho Telecom
Authority in 2000 to promote competition in the
sector, protect consumers, advance universal service
access and manage the electromagnetic spectrum.
The legal framework for telecommunications services
is open and progressive. The sector has succeeded
in achieving continued expansion and investment in
value-added services.


The major policy and regulatory challenges confronting
Lesotho in the telecommunications sector relate to


universal access and affordability. Indeed, high tariffs for
telecommunications services make it more difficult to
enter the knowledge economy and an underdeveloped
telecommunications sector also increases costs of other
sectors in the economy which use telecommunication
services as inputs. To provide an example of the
magnitude of the problem in Lesotho, in 2008 less
than 2  per cent of households had access to fixed-
line services. In addition, in the same year, mobile
operators were given a grace period to roll-out services
to commercially viable, rural areas. They will now be
required to pay 1  per cent of total revenues into a
Universal Access Fund to subsidize further expansion.


The Government of Lesotho has also outlined strategies
and objectives to strengthen the financial services
sector. Currently there are few transnational companies
operating in Lesotho. Furthermore, an underdeveloped
financial sector has contributed to a lack of access to
finance and, hence, remains an important obstacle to
business expansion. In addition, insufficient financing is
likely to be especially harmful to small local business and
start-ups, which cannot rely on parent companies to
provide funding. The Government seeks to encourage
competition through the provision of more banking,
capital markets and insurance services.


More broadly, in the future the Government of Lesotho
seeks to develop a strategy to maintain and enhance
the performance of specific service sectors within the
economy. Lesotho should, therefore, strive to adopt a
strategic approach to the development of its services
sector based on a review of the current situation and an
analysis of areas of potential growth, whilst taking into
account limits and possible constraints stemming from
the country’s endowment in natural and other resources
and its current economic and social development status.


A critical element in the development of many parts of
the services sector (including tourism, transport, and
other services) is the existence and affordability of quality
infrastructure (including roads, telecommunications
and electricity). The relatively poor infrastructure in
Lesotho has certainly contributed to limiting economic
growth and social welfare as well as constraining the
development of the services sector. A study which
sought to carry out an international benchmarking of
infrastructure performance in Lesotho (in the areas
of electricity, water and sanitation, information and
communication technology and roads transportation)
found the prevailing situation to be dire, even in
comparison with other low-income economies and
the SACU countries.




14 SERVICES POLICY REVIEW: LESOthO


As services are becoming increasingly important in
the country, the Government of Lesotho’s emphasis
on finding ways in which the overall performance of
the services sector can be improved is particularly
relevant at this point in time. Lesotho is already
committed to liberalizing trade and investment in its
services sector. In this respect, it has determined
the scope and content of its horizontal and sectoral
commitments under GATS. Furthermore, the country
has demonstrated its commitment to liberalizing
services within the SADC, in the context of the
negotiations for economic partnership agreements
(EPAs) between the African, Caribbean and Pacific
Group of States (ACP) and the European Union, and
at the multilateral level.


c. NatioNal trade
Policies For tHe
exPaNsioN oF key
service sectors


1. lesotho’s liberalization
commitments under gats


Since 1995, the entry into force of the Uruguay Round
Agreements has facilitated an increase in trade and
investment for the service sectors in many countries
which undertook specific GATS commitments to
open their service economies. Lesotho is a founding
member of the WTO. As such, it took commitments
on trade in services at the multilateral level for the first
time during the Uruguay Round. These commitments
were undertaken as part of the first round of
multilateral services negotiations which commenced
in 1986. It has been documented that the MTICM
faced a number of challenges while engaging in these
services negotiations. Overall, there was a lack of
understanding of the technical aspects of scheduling,
and the MTICM did not have much time to meet
with stakeholders to discuss policy and scheduling
options. Furthermore, while some assistance was
received from the WTO secretariat in Geneva, the
MTICM felt it was not fully equipped to provide the
required guidance to the stakeholders involved in the
negotiating process.21


Lesotho agreed to undertake very extensive
commitments for the liberalization of services. Its
specific commitments cover 85 among the 160
subsectors included in the WTO Services Sectoral
Classification List.22 These commitments include


the following broad categories: business services,
communication services, construction and related
engineering services, distribution services, educational
services, environmental services, financial services,
tourism and related services and transport services.
The only sector headings under which Lesotho did not
undertake any commitments are health and related
social services, recreational, cultural and sporting
services, and the catch-all other services not included
elsewhere.


The horizontal commitments by Lesotho (affecting
all the services included in its schedule of specific
commitments) relate to market access commitments
for allowing the supply of services in the domestic
market through the establishment of a commercial
presence by foreign services suppliers (mode 3)
and temporary movement of foreign natural persons
(mode 4). The commitments indicate that foreign-
owned enterprises, including joint-venture enterprises
with Lesotho, must satisfy minimum capital outlay
and foreign equity requirements. Also, the agency
established must have authority to negotiate and
conclude contracts on behalf of the foreign parent
company.


Finally, the schedule states that automatic entries and
work permits are granted for up to four expatriate
senior executives and specialized skill personnel
in accordance with relevant provisions in the laws
of Lesotho. Approval is required for any additional
expatriate workers beyond the automatic level.
Enterprises must also provide for training in higher
skills for locals to enable them to assume specialized
roles. As for national treatment offered, Lesotho did
not inscribe any condition or limitation in the horizontal
section of its schedule. This commitment, although
not referring explicitly to intracorporate transferees
(ICTs), clearly refers to foreign workers in Lesotho
working for a foreign enterprise. The inscription refers
to two common categories of ICTs frequently used in
WTO members’ schedules,xiii namely executives and
specialists. It is noteworthy that Lesotho opted not to
take commitments in relation to the other categories
of natural persons commonly found in members’
schedules, including business visitors (or services
salespersons) and contractual service suppliers (be
they employees of a juridical person or independent
professionals).


The commitments taken by Lesotho are rather
uncharacteristic of commitments taken by LDCs,
which generally were of more limited sectoral coverage




15CHAPTER ii: Economic panorama


(on average, during the Uruguay Round negotiations,
LDCs took commitments in 20 service sectors). Among
the challenges that the Government of Lesotho faced
was the fact that the GATS was a new agreement
and that WTO members lacked experience in drafting
the commitments and in coordinating the negotiating
process, and there was also a lack of service data upon
which to base an analysis of the impact of liberalization
commitments. Furthermore, other stakeholders,
including the private sector, lacked the knowledge,
experience and skills and were poorly organized and
therefore not in a position to convey their interests to
the Government.xiv


By the Government’s own assessment Lesotho has
not witnessed significant growth and investments in
its services sector even with extensive liberalization
commitments under its GATS schedule.xv Some
analysts have suggested that “Lesotho’s performance
on trade in services appears not to have benefited
from a liberalization of the market and indeed trade
in services has actually been dropping for the past
decade… Rather than seeing imports and exports
rise following liberalization at the WTO, Lesotho is
increasingly marginalized from the global services
market”.xvi


2. the doha round of
negotiations


The current round of market access negotiations
under Article XIX of GATS, launched in 2000, aims to
achieve progressively higher levels of liberalization of
trade in services through the reduction or elimination
of the adverse effects of measures which hamper trade
in order to provide effective market access. These
negotiations provide developing countries with an
opportunity to achieve commercially meaningful market
access commitments in sectors and modes that are
of interest to them, and a progressive opening market
access consistent with their development situation
and priorities. This includes the flexibility to open fewer
sectors and liberalize fewer types of transactions. Key
objectives for developing countries, including Lesotho,
should be to ensure developmental gains from
increased services trade (both exports and imports) to
contribute to building a competitive services sector and
maximize of the overall development of the country.


Accordingly, of the sectors where liberalization is
currently possible under GATS, those selected for
early liberalization should contribute to the following
sector-specific or economy-wide objectives:


sector-specific objectives:


• Strengthening of the sector itself by introducing
competition,xvii efficiency and transfer of technology;


• Locking-in the process of domestic reform;


• Attracting FDI where no or only limited service ca-
pacity presently exists;


• Further developing sectors in which the country
has achieved some capacity and competitiveness.


economy-wide objectives:


• Strengthening other goods and service sectors
(producer services);


• Infrastructure building;


• Expansion of exports of goods and services;


• Ensuring the provision of high-quality services in
the domestic market;


• Attracting services and service providers where
only limited capacity presently exists.


Each of the candidate sectors for liberalization
should be screened against the above benchmarks
by stakeholders. This process also needs to be
accompanied by the identification of potential
regulatory barriers in major trading partners which
may prevent greater outsourcing or delocalization
of services of export interest to Lesotho. Moreover,
supportive SME policies providing financial incentives
– including government-sponsored mechanisms
providing start-up financing on attractive and easily
accessible terms – to firms in targeted sectors could
be designed and put in place to facilitate SME entry
and growth.


As a LDC, Lesotho can, however, avail itself of GATS
provisions on special and differential treatment which
take into account the special situation of developing
countries and LDCs. The GATS Articles IV and XIX call
for increasing participation of developing countries
in world trade, including through the liberalization of
market access and in sectors/modes of export of
interest to them. However, favourable language on
objectives and certain flexibilities do not yet, per se,
ensure pro-development outcomes.


Amongst the key development achievements of the
sixth WTO Ministerial Conference of 2005 (Hong
Kong, China) is the clear acknowledgement that LDCs
are not expected to enter into any new commitments
in the Doha Round unless they themselves determine




16 SERVICES POLICY REVIEW: LESOthO


that they wish to undertake such commitments.
Furthermore, the recent eigth WTO Ministerial
Conference held in Geneva from 15–17 December
2011 saw the adoption of a waiver on preferential
treatment to services and service suppliers of
LDCs,xviii which allows members to provide preferential
treatment to services and service suppliers of LDCs
with respect to the application of measures described
in Article XVI (market access) and any other measures
as may be annexed to the waiver, rather than to like
services and service suppliers of other members.
A number of conditions must, however, be fulfilled
including:


• Any preferential treatment must be granted im-
mediately and unconditionally to like services and
service suppliers of all LDC members;


• Preferential treatment with respect to the applica-
tion of measures other than those described in
Article XVI is subject to approval by the Council
for Trade in Services in accordance with its proce-
dures and will be annexed to this waiver;


• Each member according preferential treatment
pursuant to this waiver shall submit a notification
to the Council for Trade in Services;


• Each member granting preferential treatment pur-
suant to the waiver must, upon request, promptly
enter into consultations with any member with re-
spect to any difficulty or matter that may arise as a
result of such treatment;


• Any preferential treatment accorded pursuant to
the waiver shall be designed to promote the trade
of LDCs in those sectors and modes of supply that
are of particular export interest to the LDCs and
not to raise barriers or create undue difficulties for
the trade of any other member.


LDC countries have indicated that mode 4 (supply
of services through the temporary movement of
natural persons) represents for them one of the most
important means of supplying services internationally.
They, therefore, requested other WTO members, to
the extent possible and consistently with Article XIX
of the GATS, to consider undertaking commitments
to provide access in mode 4, taking into account all
categories of natural persons identified by LDCs in
two group requests related to this mode of supply.xix


It is important that the Government of Lesotho
consider all options available for pursuing trade


liberalization in addition to multilateral liberalization,
that is, autonomous liberalization, bilateral, regional
and interregional negotiations. Of particular relevance
concerning the priority sectors identified by the
Government of Lesotho are the ongoing SADC–
European Union EPA negotiations and the ongoing
services work programme in the context of SADC
regional integration.


3. the sadc–european union
ePa negotiations


SADC countries, like other groupings of nations within
the ACP framework, are currently negotiating an EPA
with the European Union. These negotiations are
in the context of the continuation of the Lomé and
Cotonou Agreements but differ in the fact that they
are to conclude a reciprocal agreement between the
parties, departing from the non-reciprocal nature of
the earlier relations. Seven of the SADC countries,
namely Angola, Botswana, Lesotho, Mozambique,
Namibia, Swaziland and South Africa entered into
EPA negotiations with the European Union in 2004.
However, only five of them initialled an interim EPA with
the European Union in November 2007, with Angola
and South Africa deciding to become observers to
the process. Finally, four of them (Botswana, Lesotho,
Mozambique and Swaziland) signed the interim
agreement in Brussels in June 2009.


It can be stated that these negotiations are generally
relevant for SADC countries as the European Union is
the group’s largest trading partner. However, European
Union imports from SADC focus on few (non-services)
products such as diamonds (Botswana), petroleum
(Angola), fish and beef (Namibia), sugar (Swaziland)
and tobacco. Similarly, the European Union’s
$185  million imports from Lesotho in 2010 almost
exclusively consisted of diamonds (98  per cent).
xx SADC mainly imports from the European Union
machinery, vehicles, and chemicals.xxi When it comes
to services, the interim EPA mandates the following:


• Cooperation in supply-side competitiveness, stat-
ing that this cooperation includes, amongst others,
fields such as production, technology develop-
ment and innovation, marketing, financing, distri-
bution, transport, diversification of economic base,
as well as development of the private sector, im-
provement of the trade and business environment
and support to SMEs;




17CHAPTER ii: Economic panorama


• Cooperation in trade in services, with parties
agreeing to cooperate to develop and enhance
trade in services;


• Further negotiation of trade in services as the par-
ties agreed to complete negotiations on services
liberalization to be undertaken in two stages: (i) a
liberalization schedule for one service sector for
each participating SADC EPA State (initially set for
31 December 2008); (ii) an agreement to negotiate
progressive liberalization with substantial sectoral
coverage within a period of three years following
the conclusion of a full EPA. Parties also agreed to
a standstill as specified in GATS Article V(1)(b)(ii),xxii
for all service sectors;xxiii


• Cooperation in services and in particular the Euro-
pean Union party agreed to support capacity build-
ing aimed at strengthening the regulatory frame-
work of the participating SADC EPA States, while
the parties agreed to define the specific coopera-
tion objectives, principles and procedures that will
accompany trade liberalization, by the time of the
establishment of the necessary arrangements for
the liberalization of trade in services.


The negotiations between the SADC EPA group and
the European Union are progressing quite slowly and
the parties failed to meet their self-imposed deadlines
to conclude negotiations, including those of the end
of 2010 and mid-2011. The region is now committed
to concluding negotiations on trade in services and
investment by 2014. Services are considered to
be among the sticking points for the negotiations,
especially since some SADC member States fear that
undertaking commitments in services beyond what
they have scheduled in the WTO may compromise their
ability to negotiate in the future or raise inconsistencies
with existing commitments. For example, aspects
of negotiations such as the definition of the most
favoured nation clause, or what is understood by the
“substantially all trade” requirement of GATS Article V
(economic integration) may preclude the region from
undertaking deep bilateral agreements in the future
with other South–South trading partners, such as
China.


It will be particularly important for countries of the
SADC EPA group to ensure that sufficient levels of
financial and technical assistance, including for the
development of domestic services supply capacities,
are provided to the group during the negotiating
process and also during the implementation


of the services agreement once it is finalized.
Furthermore, in the meantime Lesotho should focus
on strengthening and modernizing its institutional
and regulatory frameworks (including any gaps or
weaknesses identified in this report) so as to ensure
that when the agreement with the European Union
comes into force any such weaknesses will have
been addressed. Finally, the SADC EPA group should
immediately begin to put in place, with the support
of its private sectors and possibly in conjunction
with similar efforts for SADC regional integration,
processes for the relevant professional bodies to
develop recommendations which can be submitted
to European Union counterparts regarding mutual
recognition of requirements and qualifications and
other measures that will underpin market access
commitments, and make them commercially
meaningful opportunities for SADC service suppliers.


4. the sadc regional
negotiations


Lesotho is equally pursuing regional integration efforts
in the area of services within SADC. SADC countries
affirmed their intention to liberalize trade in services
at the time of the signing of the Trade Protocol in
1996. While work has progressed in various service
sectors, including in the case of sectoral protocols
and regional institutions (as in the case of tourism),
SADC countries have not yet adopted and ratified
the stand-alone protocol for the liberalization of
services in the region.


A draft protocol has been negotiated which should
serve as a basis for negotiations. The region has
also identified six key service sectors (construction,
communication, transport, energy-related, tourism
and financial services) in which liberalization would
begin before the liberalization process is then
extended to substantially cover all sectors and modes
of supplying services. The identified target has been
for substantial liberalization of intraregional trade in
services to be achieved no later than 2015.


For Lesotho, any trade-related policies and
negotiating positions, particularly in the case of SADC
regional integration, has to take into account the deep
connection of Lesotho’s economy with that of South
Africa. For example, most of the services exports by
Lesotho were provided to South African consumers,
while the majority of Lesotho’s imports of services
originate in South Africa.




18 SERVICES POLICY REVIEW: LESOthO


5. sequencing and
coordination of
commitments under
various trade agreements


The Government of Lesotho is faced with the difficult
challenge of having to decide what pacing and
sequencing of trade policy reforms it should adopt,
what best practices in the area of services sector
development and services trade it needs to espouse,
and what level of policy space and complementary
policies would be optimal for generating sustained
economic growth, poverty reduction and development
in the country. The Government will need to identify
how coherence can be advanced between trade and
trade liberalization policies and other government
policies, including social safety nets and pro-poor
policies, financial, monetary, technological and labour-
market policies in pursuing sustainable development.
It will also need to determine the optimal and
balanced approach to trade liberalization, including
at the regional, interregional and multilateral levels,
in order to increase its involvement in international
services trade and ensure coherent and beneficial
development outcomes.


It is important to begin by a review of its national
economic, regulatory, institutional and trade policy
environment affecting the services sector, and its
competitiveness. Given that the regulatory framework
in particular seems to be lacking, or is still relatively


weak, in a number of areas, a thorough process of
domestic regulatory review may be an important first
step for the services sector. In seeking to achieve
this, it is important that the country take advantage of
the experiences and lessons learned of neighbouring
and other African countries in strengthening and
modernizing their institutional and regulatory
frameworks, and also the experiences of LDCs in
other regions.


Finally, it is also crucial that the Government of
Lesotho put in place the necessary processes
and procedures for services-related policymaking
and trade negotiations. In this regard, it is indeed
noteworthy that a National Steering Committee,
which was set up to collaborate with the MTICM in
the formulation of national negotiating positions,
has already become functional. This committee will
be instrumental in providing inputs for all the above
negotiations. Government must continue to engage
the private sector in these processes and procedures
since it will be important for the private sector to
be involved in further developing and taking part in
the services economy. In this regard, it is pertinent
to note that although the Government is saddled
with the negotiations, ultimately, when negotiations
are concluded, it is the private sector that will be
looked upon to harness the opportunities therein. A
major challenge will be to increase awareness and
understanding on trade in services and opportunities
(both domestic and for export) among local firms and
other relevant stakeholders.




ServiceS Policy review


Financial ServiceS Sector


III




20 SERVICES POLICY REVIEW: LESOthO


The availability of modern and efficient financial
services is considered to be a key factor for economic
development. While they may not share some of the
characteristics of other infrastructure services (which
are typically network services), financial services
support and underpin growth in the broader economy.
They contribute to improving productivity, facilitating
domestic and international transactions, broadening
the availability of credit for SMMEs and households,
mobilizing and channelling domestic savings,
facilitating firm entry and competition, attracting FDI
and enhancing efficiency. Financial services are also
important in providing trade financing to exporters.


Furthermore, the role played by the financial services
sector in contributing to the development of key export
sectors in Lesotho cannot be overestimated. Financial
services can play a critical role in facilitating much-
needed export credit, as well as serving as a means
to channel investment to build productive capacities
that are geared towards expanding and diversifying
exports. It is widely acknowledged that the presence of
an efficient financial services sector plays an important
role in attracting foreign capital into key export sectors
– such as the clothing and textile sector in Lesotho.
In turn, sustained inflows of foreign capital will play an
important role in enabling Lesotho to access global
value chains and production networks.


The Government of Lesotho has recognized the
importance of the financial intermediation sector in
national economic development. Lesotho’s Vision
2020 calls for the financial intermediation sector
to be diverse and highly responsive to customer
demands and needs. Access to credit and good loan
management and repayment mechanisms are to be
the corner stone for development and promotion of
the SMME and informal sectors.


Furthermore, the Government of Lesotho is looking to
increase competition in the banking sector and improve
access to services for those beyond the reach of the
established banking network in the country. Access
to finance, particularly in rural areas, is very important
as it facilitates the availability of inputs, allows for
diversification in products and enhances research
and development in modern farming methods and
techniques, thereby potentially contributing to poverty
reduction. Microfinance institutions, which provide
banking services to poor households that do not qualify
under the formal banking system, will be important
contributors to efforts to grow the offerings of credit to
micro-entrepreneurs, SMEs and households.


In this respect, strengthening the financial sector and
enhancing access to financial services is one of the key
goals of the Government of Lesotho’s Medium-term
Macroeconomic Programme for 2010–2013, which is
supported by the IMF. These reforms include further
steps to ensure the supervision of banks and non-
banking financial institutions and the establishment
of a Financial Intelligence Unit to combat money
laundering. It is, therefore, considered a priority that
the operations of financial institutions be adequately
supervised by the CBL, with the review of legislation
and regulations a critical element in ensuring that
loopholes are removed and public deposits are
protected. Throughout 2010, the Government,
together with its development partners, continued
to work on reforming and modernizing the financial
sector with a view to creating a better regulatory and
policy environment, and to expand financial access to
entrepreneurs, SMMEs and the poor, particularly in
the country’s rural areas. The Government continues
to support the Lesotho PostBank and the community-
based Rural Savings and Credit Groups (RSCGs).
With the support of the World Bank the country has
embarked on the development of a national policy
for non-banking financial institutions along with the
revision and adoption of the regulatory and supervisory
framework for these institutions.


a. role aNd
PerFormaNce oF tHe
FiNaNcial services
sector iN lesotHo


The broad financial services sector in the country can
be divided into banking and non-banking financial
services, with the latter dominated by the insurance
subsector. At present, Lesotho’s financial services
sector consists of more than 75 banking and non-
banking financial institutions. In terms of the banking
subsector, the country is home to the CBL, four
commercial banks (Standard Lesotho Bank Ltd,
Nedbank Lesotho Ltd, First National Bank and Lesotho
PostBank), and three development corporations (the
Lesotho National Development Corporation, BEDCO
and the Investment Promotion Unit).23 The CBL plays
a central role in the country’s financial sector. It is
responsible for supervising both banking and non-
banking financial institutions (including commercial
banks, moneylenders and insurance companies), and
operates as a financial adviser to the Government of
Lesotho.




21CHAPTER iii: Financial services sector


In turn, in terms of non-banking financial institutions,
there are 51 moneylenders in the country, and
Lesotho has a total of six insurance companies and 12
insurance brokers. For its part, the insurance industry
in Lesotho includes both long-term and short-term
insurance.


Since 2000, the banking sector in Lesotho has
been included in the Government’s privatization
programme. In line with this, many banking products
have been improved to enhance access and efficiency.
For instance, in 2006 a Real Time Gross Settlement
system (also known as Lesotho Wire) was installed to
settle large maloti payments in a timely manner and
speed up bank-to-bank payments.24 Following the
implementation of Lesotho Wire, the value of interbank
payments increased by 59 per cent in 2008 and by
69 per cent in 2009.25


1. the contribution of the
financial services sector to
the national economy


Efficient financial services are acknowledged as a
critical necessary condition for facilitating strong
economic and private sector growth in the national


economy in Lesotho. This is particularly important
for the development of the SMME sector and the
informal sectors of the economy. Indeed, the country’s
Vision 2020 calls for “access to credit and good loan
management and repayment mechanisms” to form the
cornerstone of the development and promotion of the
SMME and informal sectors of the Lesotho economy.


According to the FinScope Lesotho 2011 survey, the
level of financial inclusion in the country is currently
relatively high, especially in comparison with several
other African countries (figure  8). Specifically, the
FinScope survey estimates that 81 per cent of adult
Basothoxxiv are financially included, with 19  per
cent financially excluded.26 Much of this high level
of financial inclusion is due to the level of usage of
products related to funeral cover in Lesotho.27 The
proportion of the adult population that is formally
included is significantly lower, however, at 58 per cent;
and just 38 per cent of Lesotho’s adult population is
banked. In turn, 46  per cent of adults make use of
non-bank formal financial products and services.28


Furthermore, the aggregate statistics on financial
inclusion in Lesotho mask differences in the levels
of financial inclusion between the urban and rural
parts of the country. Figure 9 shows that the levels


Figure 8. Lesotho’s levels of financial inclusion in comparison with other African countries1


0 10 30 50 7020 40 60 80 90 100


38 20 23 19
63 5 9 23


21 7 42 30
41 18 8 33


23 18 26 33
44 6 13 37


34 7 15 44
30 6 17 47


14 7 26 53
19 7 19 55
12 4 28 56
14 9 14 63
12 1 9 78


45 21 52


Have/use bank products/services
Have/use non-bank products/services (no bank products)
Use only informal mechanisms
Have and use no financial products/services


1 Countries where FinScope surveys have been conducted


Lesotho ‘11
RSA ‘10


Uganda ‘09
Botswana ‘09


Kenya ‘09
Swaziland ‘11


Ghana ‘10
Nigeria ‘10


Namibia ‘07
Rwanda ‘08
Malawi ‘08


Tanzania ‘09
Zambia ‘09


Mozambique ‘09


Source: FinScope (2011).




22 SERVICES POLICY REVIEW: LESOthO


of Basotho that have/use bank products and services
is significantly lower in the rural areas in comparison
with the urban parts of the country. Furthermore,
a substantially greater share of Basotho use only
informal financial mechanisms in the rural areas of the
country in comparison with those in the urban areas.
Finally, the percentage of Basotho that have and use
no financial products or services is lower in the urban
areas in comparison with the rural population.


A number of challenges and factors have served to
constrain the contribution of the financial services sector
to the national economy in Lesotho. For instance, in
terms of concentration, the majority of financial and non-
financial institutions in the country are based in urban
areas (mostly in Maseru), with the result that there is
only limited access to financial services in the country’s
rural areas. Lesotho’s commercial banks, in particular,
are concentrated in the country’s urban centres. Given
that the majority of the Basotho population lives in rural
areas (estimated at 80 per cent of the population and
69 per cent of the adult population), the concentration
of formal banking institutions in the urban areas of the
country disadvantages rural communities in accessing
financial services. This problem is most noticeable
with respect to access to bank products. Specifically,
according to the FinScope Lesotho 2011 survey, just
30  per cent of rural adults in Lesotho are banked in


comparison with 58 per cent of their counterparts in the
urban areas of the country.29


The problem is also particularly evident in the case
of women and girls in rural areas, who continue to
face great difficulty accessing credit.30 The continued
minority status of women in Lesotho has meant that
“most women do not meet the compliance conditions
of financial institutions and do not have property to
use as collateral”.31 Encouragingly, however, several
recent legal reforms have provided women with vastly
improved access to productive resources. A significant
development in this regard is the Married People’s
Equality Act (2006), which abolishes the husband’s
marital power and allows a woman to access credit in
her own name and to enter into contracts without the
assistance or permission of her spouse.


Furthermore, the differences in access to financial
services between urban and rural locations has been
addressed, to some extent, through the presence
of informal financial services – such as unregistered
moneylenders – which are more prevalent in rural areas
in comparison with licensed banks and insurance
service providers. Furthermore, development banks
have attempted to bridge the divide by providing
credit to rural dwellers in Lesotho. In this respect,
28 per cent of adults who are not served by the formal


Figure 9. Comparing levels of financial inclusion in rural and urban parts of Lesotho




0 20 40 60 70503010 80 90 100


Total


Rural


Urban


19.7 19.122.838.4


22.3 20.427.829.5


14.0 16.311.857.9


Have/use bank products/services
Have/use non-bank products/services (no bank products)
Use only informal mechanisms
Have and use no financial products/services


Source: FinScope (2011).




23CHAPTER iii: Financial services sector


financial sector in Lesotho’s rural areas are served by
the informal sector.32 The role of the informal sector
in pushing out the boundaries of financial inclusion in
Lesotho is illustrated in figure 10.


Nevertheless, in order to enhance the contribution
of the financial services sector in the country to the
national economy, it is clear that there remains a need
to improve the current levels of access to financial
services in Lesotho. At present, a general lack of
access to financial services in the country affects
the operation of businesses and hampers economic
development.


It is important to note, however, that issues associated
with the lack of access to finance differ according to
the diverging needs of financial service consumers in
the country. For instance, improved access to banking
services for the public is most urgently required in the
rural areas of Lesotho. The majority of the country’s
rural population falls between the cracks of the
formal banking system and is forced to resort to
informal services. Mindful of this, Lesotho PostBank,
which is fully-owned by the Government of Lesotho,
is attempting to fill this void by providing targeted
services to poor and rural citizens. Lesotho PostBank
began operating in 2005 and obtained a full banking
licence from the CBL five years later in 2010. The
bank currently has close to 90,000 clients and holds
approximately M 200 million-worth of deposits.


Some efforts have already been made to extend
loans to SMMEs and boost the availability of financial
intermediation services in rural areas. In this respect, the
Rural Financial Intermediation Programme is expected to


facilitate the development of formal financial institutions
for rural intermediation needs in Lesotho. To meet these
needs, the institutional and operational framework of
the Lesotho PostBank has been strengthened with the
support of RSCGs that are funded by the International
Fund for Agricultural Development.33 Despite these
efforts, the Government of Lesotho believes there
remains great scope for growth in the provision of credit
to the rural poor and SMMEs.


In addition, there are financial operators in Lesotho
that cater to the illiterate, rural or poor members of the
population. However, they primarily provide business
skills or basic checking or savings accounts and require
immaculate credit and/or substantial fees, guarantees
and collateral. Currently, the most promising institution
providing loans to these populations groups is Boliba.
Boliba’s savings and credit working practices are
similar to those typical of credit unions. Most of its
customers belong to rural, illiterate population groups.
However, even Boliba has significant barriers to loan
approval. Before extending a loan to somebody,
the institution usually requires that the beneficiary
maintains an account and deposits a certain sum of
money on a monthly basis in order to ensure his/her
ability to repay the loan. Other financial institutions,
both formal and informal, operate in Lesotho’s rural
areas, including RSCGs, moneylenders, burial
societies, financial cooperatives and rotating savings
and credit groups.34


Despite the presence of these institutions, access
to development finance in Lesotho remains limited.
In particular, there remains a lack of specialized
institutions providing easily accessible capital to
micro and small-scale enterprises. In the past, several
previous attempts at creating development banks
or microfinance institutions in Lesotho have failed.
The most important case was that of BEDCO, a
government-affiliated organization whose main area of
operations is to provide technical and business training
for people who wish to go into business or who are
already in business and wish to get more education. In
the past, BEDCO provided small business loans and
engaged in microfinance activities, but these were
abandoned due to the fact that the rate of default
on these loans was too high. Similar attempts at the
provision of loans and microfinance services by the
Agricultural Bank and Lesotho Bank have also failed.


Furthermore, two international initiatives funded
through official development assistance also failed.
Specifically, the United Nations Capital Development


Figure 10. Share of Basotho accessing formal and total*
financial services (per cent)




Savings


Transactional


Remittance


Credit


Formal
Total


17.5


27.4


Insurance
37.2


61.7
16.6


38.5


34.4


50.0


34.3


42.4


Source: FinScope (2011).
* Total includes formal and informal fiinanced services.




24 SERVICES POLICY REVIEW: LESOthO


Fund project, the Small Scale Enterprise Project that
acted as a guarantee facility for the Lesotho Bank
for the purpose of underwriting the bank’s lending
to small-scale industrial sector entrepreneurs, was
initiated in 1994. The project failed a few years later
due to various factors, including a failure on the part
of the Lesotho Bank to follow appropriate procedures
and agreements, a very high default rate on loans,
and an insufficient information management system.
In turn, the Canada Fund for Local Initiatives was
launched by the Canadian High Commission in South
Africa and aimed to help local communities in Lesotho,
Swaziland, Namibia and South Africa to realize small
development projects. However, only groups and
local institutions were eligible as beneficiaries, not
individuals, and the fund expired on 31 March 2008.


2. economic performance
of the financial services
sector


The value of the finance and insurance sectors in
Lesotho’s national GDP for the period 1997–2006 is
presented in figure 11. Based on this data, the sector’s
value of output expanded significantly over this period
– by 2006 it had reached more than 3.5  times the
equivalent contribution in 1997.


Over the same period (1997–2006), the growth
rate of the finance and insurance sector fluctuated
significantly (figure 12), reaching up to 50 per cent in
2000 but posting negative figures in 1997, 1998 and
2004.


The availability of data on employment in Lesotho’s
financial sector is very limited. Data from the 2008
Lesotho Integrated Labour Force Survey does,
however, show that nearly one third (32.1  per
cent) of those employed in the country’s financial
intermediation sector were “clerks”, followed by
“technicians and associate professionals” (26.1  per
cent). Despite this, there is some evidence to suggest
that there are currently skills shortages within the
financial sector, particularly among public officials. In
this respect, individuals with appropriate technical and
financial management skills are particularly scarce.


Turning to the various subsectors that comprise the
financial services sector in Lesotho, the performance
of the country’s banking sector in recent years has
been steady. Lesotho’s banking sector has not
suffered major losses during the financial crisis. This
was largely due to the minimal integration of Lesotho’s


financial system into global financial markets and,
consequently, the system’s very limited exposure to
risky financial products. At the same time, there has
been an improvement in the credit to deposit ratio in
the country’s commercial banks. This ratio rose from
29.6 per cent in December 2008 to 34.1 per cent at the
end of December 2009, reflecting a willingness on the
part of commercial banks in Lesotho “to extend credit
to the private sector at a faster rate than the rate at
which they mobilised deposits from the same sector”.35


Nevertheless, the Government of Lesotho has
acknowledged the need to increase competition in the
banking sector. This has been motivated, in part, by
reported difficulties faced by local Basotho, especially
those living in the country’s rural areas, in accessing
credit from foreign-owned commercial banks in
Lesotho.


Focusing on insurance, the CBL has noted previously
that the performance of the country’s insurance
industry is inextricably linked to the performance of
the economy as a whole. Table 4 compares aggregate


Figure 11. Relative value of financial and insurance
services in Lesotho, 1997–2006 (1995 = 100)




0


50


100


150


200


250


300


350


400


1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006




-20


-10


0


10


20


30


40


50


60


1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006


Source: Central Bank of Lesotho (2006).


Source: Central Bank of Lesotho (2006).


Figure 12. Growth rate of financial and insurance
services in Lesotho, 1997–2006 (percentage)




25CHAPTER iii: Financial services sector


figures reflecting the gross premiums, total assets,
total liabilities and net worth of the insurance sector
over the four-year period between 2004 and 2007.
In 2007, the total net worth of Lesotho’s insurance
industry increased by 55.6  per cent, reflecting a
sharp turnaround from the reduction in net worth
experienced in 2006.36 In contrast, the industry’s total
assets grew by 8.2 per cent in 2007, dropping back
marginally from the 9.2 per cent growth in total assets
recorded in the industry in 2006.37


The contribution of the insurance industry to national
GDP (measured as the ratio of insurance premiums
to GDP) expanded between 2004 and 2007.
Specifically, the sector contributed 3 per cent of GDP
in 2004, 4.4 per cent in 2005, 4.2 per cent in 2006
and 4.9 per cent in 2007.38 Over the same period,
net income earned in the industry also increased,
rising from 32 per cent in 2006 to 43.8 per cent in
2007.39 At the same time, underwriting results also
improved – by 69.5 per cent in 2006 and by 118 per
cent in 2007.40


3. trends in trade and
investment in the financial
services sector


The banking sector in Lesotho is dominated by foreign
ownership. Specifically, South African banks (First
National Bank, Standard Bank and Nedbank) constitute
the majority of the commercial banks operating in the
sector. It has been argued that, despite restrictions
on investment outside of Lesotho, the majority of the
banking deposits held by these commercial banks are
invested in South Africa. At the same time, it has been
noted that financial institutions in Lesotho remain highly
risk averse, with banks tending to lend only relatively
small shares of their deposits.


The reluctance on the part of commercial banks in
Lesotho to extend domestic credit is due in a large
part to a problematic culture of non-payment in the
country. This is linked to three key issues. First, the
absence of a national identification system means
that banks face a major constraint in terms of the
identification of customers. To date, moves to address
this issue through the implementation of a national
identity card project under the Millennium Challenge
Account have been dogged by controversy. In March
2011, irregularities in the procurement process for
the provision of national identity cards led to the
cancellation of the tender.41 Further controversy related
to the tender process (with, for example, confidential
information being leaked to the public before the end
of the tender evaluation process) has continued to
delay the implementation of the national identification
system.42


Furthermore, in the case of SMMEs, it has been
reported that many of these enterprises do not prepare
financial statements and are not able to adequately
demonstrate their credit histories, both important
criteria upon which banks make decisions regarding
whether or not to grant credit to companies.


Against this backdrop, while there has been
encouraging recent growth in the credit to deposit
ratio among the country’s commercial banks, it
remains below the 40 per cent mark, while it is as high
as 80 per cent in some countries. With these factors in
mind, it has been argued that there is a need to ensure
that a greater proportion of the funds held by banks in
Lesotho are lent within the economy in order to boost
economic growth and development.


The low rate of credit extension in Lesotho is
exacerbated by the presence of an underdeveloped
capital market in the country. Specifically, while
households in Lesotho can purchase treasury bonds


Maloti (thousands)


Particulars 2004 2005 2006 2007 Percentage change 2006–2007


Total gross premium written 376 126 381 322 453 320 569 274 25.6


Total assets 1 273 395 1 630 087 1 779 926 1 925 484 8.2


Total liabilities 1 092 550 1 338 465 1 573 894 1 604 961 2.0


Total net worth 180 845 291 622 206 032 320 523 55.6


Table 4. General and life insurance gross premiums, total assets and total liabilities, 2004–2007


Source: Central Bank of Lesotho (2007).




26 SERVICES POLICY REVIEW: LESOthO


and bills from banks, there is currently no secondary
market for bonds.


Focusing on the insurance industry, data are available
on the total investments made in the industry for the
four-year period between 2004 and 2007. Table 5
shows that after a small decline between 2004 and
2005, total investments in general and life insurance
in Lesotho grew steadily between 2005 and 2007. In
the period between 2006 and 2007, total investments
in the general and life insurance industry in Lesotho
increased by nearly 20 per cent.


Turning to trade in insurance services, Lesotho’s
total imports have increased from very low figures to
$14.1 million in 2010 (table 6). Nevertheless, these are
still very low figures, accounting for 2.7  per cent of
services exports. This percentage barely increases,
to a 3.9 per cent share, when financial services are
added.


4. linkages with other sectors


In theory, the financial services sector in Lesotho should
be inextricably linked to all major sectors in the economy
through its role in the provision of finance and banking
and non-banking financial services to these sectors.
In certain instances, however, insufficient access
to financial services has affected productivity and
expansion in other sectors. For example, inadequate
access to financial services has hampered the expansion
of agricultural activities among the rural population in
the country. This has played a part in precipitating the
declining contribution of agriculture to national GDP. At
the same time, it has been argued that there is a need to
empower subsistence farmers in the country to engage
in commercial agriculture so that they can gain access
to finance from commercial banks.


Similarly, in terms of linkages with the tourism sector, it
has been argued that this sector is not well understood
by Lesotho’s financial institutions, many of which
regard tourism ventures as risky. As a result, it remains
a challenge for many tourism service operators to
gain access to much needed finance. More generally,
linkages between the financial services sector and
SMEs in Lesotho remain poorly developed.43 Financial
institutions in Lesotho tend to focus on the provision
of loans and insurance services to large corporates,
meaning that many SMEs are excluded from access
to these services.44


b. iNveNtory oF
legislatioN,
regulatioNs,
iNstitutioNs aNd
Policy measures


There is a dearth of policies on financial services in
Lesotho. There are many laws, but it is difficult to trace
the roots of the policies behind them and to determine
what was targeted to have been achieved by the
laws. One reason may be that, because of Lesotho’s
membership in various arrangements, the country at
times has to comply with certain international standards
and these involve legislative changes because of the
treaty obligations, rather than legislative changes being
made pursuant to policy direction. For example, the
Money Laundering and Proceeds of Crime Act was
made not pursuant to an internal policy but because
of Lesotho’s participation in the memorandum of
understanding among member governments of the
Eastern and Southern African Anti-Money Laundering
Group, which mandated members to have such
legislation.


Maloti (thousands)


Particulars 2004 2005 2006 2007 Percentage change 2006–2007


Total investments 986 209 923 341 1 136 106 1 352 622 19.1


1980 1985 1990 1995 2000 2005 2010


1.4 1.3 2.7 0.1 5.6 12.9 14.1


Table 5. Total investments in general and life insurance, 2004–2007


Table 6. Total value of Lesotho’s insurance services imports ($ million), 1980–2010


Source: Central Bank of Lesotho (2007).


Source: UNCTADstat.




27CHAPTER iii: Financial services sector


1. general legislation


central bank act No. 2 of 2000


The Act provides for the objectives, functions and
powers of the CBL, its administration and operations.


companies act 2011


The Companies Act of 1967 has recently been repealed
and a new Companies Act enacted, although it has
not as yet entered into force. Financial institutions
must first be registered under the Companies Act.


credit reporting bill


The Bill regulates the collection, use and protection
of credit data. Banks have been hesitant to extend
credit because of a lack of information on applicants’
credit worthiness. The new law proposes to empower
banks with a system to allow them to perform better
risk assessment and, thus, have greater confidence
in extending credit.


2. banking legislation


Financial institutions act No. 6 of 1999


This is the primary Act providing for the regulation
and supervision of financial services in Lesotho. The
Commissioner of Financial Institutions is the CBL.


draft Financial institutions bill 2011


The Bill is at the final stages of enactment. It has passed
before the two houses of Parliament and is awaiting
royal assent. The Bill aims to amend deficiencies in the
Financial Institutions Act and to develop new banking
products. The minimum capital requirements for
financial institutions have been increased and banks
are also empowered to lend out higher percentages
of their paid-up capital. Most importantly, the Bill gives
enhanced investigatory powers to the CBL where
there is suspected illegal banking or credit business
without a valid licence, so that it can act quickly
and decisively to protect investors. The Bill provides
powers to examine documents, fine businesses that
do not cooperate with investigations, and imprison
directors of non-compliant businesses. It also
allows for the appointment of a trustee to ensure the
repayment of investors’ funds should the business be
found to be operating in breach of provisions. Fines
and prison terms have been increased to provide
greater deterrent for breaches.


3. insurance legislation


insurance act No. 18 of 1976


Two classes of insurance business are covered under
the Act, life insurance and general insurance, and
reporting and accounting requirements are imposed
upon insurers.


insurance bill 2010


The Insurance Bill is at a very early stage of enactment.
It has merely received certification and is yet to be
placed before parliament. The Bill addresses the
market conduct of insurance-service providers,
the requirements for new entrants, and prohibits
foreign insurance branches. The minimum capital
requirement for sector operators has been increased
from the former Act and the Bill also introduces a new
procedure of inspection of insurance intermediaries
(agents and brokers) which did not previously exist.
Currently the commissioner relies on submitted
returns and has limited on-site examination powers.


4. Non-bank financial
institutions legislation


societies act No. 20 of 1966


Societies become relevant for discussion because
many societies operate as RSCGs to provide informal
financial services for the poor and marginalized groups
in the rural areas.


money-lenders order No. 25 of 1989


The Order makes provision for the regulation of
moneylending and appoints the Commissioner
of Financial Institutions as the supervisor of
moneylenders.


cooperative societies act No. 6 of
2000


The Act provides for the registration of cooperative
societies as well as the functions of the Commissioner
of Cooperatives in his supervisory capacities. The Act
becomes relevant to the study because, as a result of
exclusion from access to credit from formal financial
institutions, many people form Savings and Credit
Cooperatives (SACCOs) under the Cooperative Societies
Act in order to access credit to establish or expand
businesses.




28 SERVICES POLICY REVIEW: LESOthO


5. legislative gaps and
inadequacies


The financial sector is one of the most extensively
regulated sectors in Lesotho. This is because of its
central importance to a well-functioning economy.
However, the laws are outdated and it has taken
a very long time for repeals and amendments to
be effected. Delays are due to a combination of
internal and external factors. Internally, regulators
must expedite the drafting of laws. Externally, the
process for legislative enactment in Lesotho generally
leads to delays in the passing of laws. The result is
that supervisors have their hands tied and cannot
adequately exercise their mandates because of the
lack of an up-to-date legislative framework.


There is no consumer protection legislation to protect
consumers from practices such as breach of privilege,
misrepresentations, or unfair and dishonest dealings.
Furthermore, there is no microfinance legislation in
Lesotho and this impedes the creation of microfinance
institutions that would diversify the financial services
sector. This is an unfortunate omission because the
majority of the citizens of Lesotho live in the rural
areas and are engaged in small-scale agriculture or
other small-scale activities that disqualify them from
accessing financing from formal financial institutions.


Were they to have access to institutions offering
small loans, this would help them to expand their
production so that they could have better prospects
of escaping the poverty cycle. Instead they have
had to rely on moneylenders who have, in recent
case decisions (box 1), been found to be charging
exorbitant interest rates outside the prescriptions of
the Money-Lenders Order, or else they must rely on
RSCGs or SACCOs.


Although moneylenders are regulated by the CBL,
the cases were taken straight to the courts because
the Money-Lenders Order does not empower the
CBL to deal with conflicts between borrowers and
lenders. The Order refers to judicial proceedings
whenever there is allegation of the breach of any of
its provisions. The CBL has, at times, attempted to
mediate between parties in some conflicts but parties
often lose heart during such proceedings and submit
the conflict before the courts because the CBL has
no real power to render any legally binding decisionxxv
Judgements such as the above bring challenges to
the development of the financial sector in Lesotho.
For example, several moneylending operations have
been shut down, and the few that remain are mostly
engaged in collecting loans due to them, rather than
initiating any new business, for fear that they will not
manage to recover their loans.


Box 1. Moneylender cases


The firms concerned were all locally registered licensed moneylending firms which were charged with breaching the Money-
Lenders Order by charging interest above 25 per cent per annum. The Order regulates interest and permitted charges. All the
cases are from 2009.


Afrisure Finance and Another versus Lechaka and Others, Court of Appeal (CIV) 29/09


The borrowers were all civil servants who individually borrowed money from the appellant, a moneylender licensed under the
Money-Lenders Order. The borrowers alleged that the appellant charged interest in excess of 25 per cent and did not provide
receipts of payments. Also, that the appellant charged initiation, administration and negotiation fees, as well as different types of
interest (for example, induction interest and variable interest) contrary to section 20 of the Order. The court ruled in favour of the
borrowers.


Makhulong Multi Finance (Pty) Ltd t/a B Blue Financial Services versus Nona and Others, Court of Appeal (CIV) 30/09


The borrowers contended that they were not “fairly dealt with” by the appellant because they were not supplied with copies of their
contracts with the moneylender as per the requirements of the Money-Lenders Order. Nor were they supplied with receipts of their
payments and also the charges levied against them were not in compliance with the Order as interest charged exceeded 25 per cent
per annum. The court held that incidental charges and expenses related to loans are unlawful. Interest charged in excess of 25 per
cent is also unlawful. The appellant was prohibited from recovering charges in respect of administrative fees, insurance and initiation
fees from the applicants as such charges are in conflict with Order. The appellant’s failure to issue receipts of payment was adjudged
to be unlawful. Sums of money paid to the appellant in respect of incidental costs, charges or expenses were ordered to be set off
against the amount actually lent to applicants, thereby reducing their loans accordingly.


Select Management Services Lesotho (Pty) Ltd versus Ratlali and Others, Court of Appeal (CIV) 31/09


The Court of Appeal also found the appellants guilty of charging amounts in excess of the ceiling provided in the Money-Lenders
Order andof demanding unlawful charges not permitted by the same Order.


Source: Decisions of the Court of Appeal of Lesotho (references indicated).




29CHAPTER iii: Financial services sector


commissioner of Financial institutions


The CBL is the Commissioner of Financial Institutions
as per the Financial Institutions Act, the Money Lenders
Order and the CBL Act. As part of its supervisory
duties, it is due returns by financial institutions showing
statements of assets and liabilities. The Commissioner
may examine the books and other documents of
institutions and issue directives to institutions, for
example, to implement measures to rectify unsound
business practices. The Commissioner may call for
seizure of a financial institution and the Commissioner’s
consent is required before there can be the dissolution
of any such institution.


department of cooperatives of the
mticm xxviii


The Commissioner for Cooperatives registers and
supervises cooperatives.


In summary, the institutions involved in regulating
and supervising financial services are sufficient. They
cover both formal and informal financial services and
different corporate forms. The need that has to be
addressed, however, is staffing and increasing the
institutions’ geographical reach.


7. Policies


Policy on rural savings and credit
groups


This is a Policy that was adopted by the CBL in 1999.
It discusses the problem of commercial banks being
hesitant to offer credit to rural communities because
of the associated high risk and high transaction costs.
It explains that informal and semi-formal groups have
emerged to fill the gap to mobilize savings in the rural
areas, for example, SACCOs. The Policy has the
objective of promoting rural financial intermediation. The
Policy aims to link the informal sector with the banking
sector to encourage more borrowing for income
generating activities. Pursuant to the Policy objectives,
the Credit Guarantee Fund has been established to
the tune of M 2.5 million. Loans have been extended
to three groups to the value of M 81,030 for purposes
of poultry farming. The Policy has also enabled the
training of groups to strengthen their financial literacy.
This has been achieved in conjunction with efforts by
the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security and the
MTICM through its Department of Cooperatives.


The cases illustrate the importance of not only having
laws and regulations in place, but also of having a
system in place for monitoring the implementation of
the laws, particularly to guarantee consumer protection.
Legislative breaches need to be picked up by the
supervisory body and addressed and rectified before
there is a deluge of court cases and consequent exit of
many sector operators. The regulator ought to be given
more power to make binding decisions. An alternative
would be to have an ombudsman for financial services
to provide quick resolution of complaints at no charge
to consumers. This would allow for disputes to be
settled quickly and impartially and thus safeguard the
growth of the financial services sector.


In a recent development, the CBL has now engaged
a consultant to draft microfinance legislation. The
law will cover both deposit-taking institutions as well
as credit-only institutions. The fact that there is no
legislation on consumer protection could lead to
the potential exploitation of consumers of financial
services. The CBL has engaged a consultant who is
already working on remedying this vacuum in the law.


6. institutions


ministry of Finance and development
Planning (mFdP)xxvi


In Lesotho, the MFDP is the relevant government
ministry governing financial institutions. It is responsible
for overall economic and development policies.


the central bank of lesothoxxvii


The CBL was created in 1978 and is wholly Government
owned, although it has some independence in the
formulation and implementation of monetary policy.
It has approximately two hundred employees and its
main supervisory departments are:


• Bank Supervision;


• Insurance Supervision;


• Non-banks Supervision;


• Policy and Exchange Control;


• Deposit Insurance (new division).


commissioner of insurance


The supervisor of insurance business in Lesotho
is the CBL. It has the power to call for any relevant
information, inspect any documents, investigate
annual statements, examine and also license insurers.




30 SERVICES POLICY REVIEW: LESOthO


regional efforts being undertaken
under the sadc Finance and
investment Protocol


SADC members have agreed, under the SADC
Finance and Investment Protocol (FIP), to, first,
improve the investment climate in each state and
region and, second, to achieve the preparation,
cooperation and harmonization necessary for regional
financial integration. With these aims in mind, the FIP
contains regional commitments (to agree on common,
harmonized policy frameworks) and country level
commitments (strengthening of domestic sectors and
establishing communication and cooperation with
regional neighbours).


Although the FIP as a whole is still some way from full
implementation (and Lesotho ranks among the member
states with the lowest compliance levels),xxix the FIP
contains useful elements that may lead in the long
term to, first, the implementation of policies regarding
access to financial services in rural areas, second,
to increased banking competition and lending and,
third, to the simplification of procedures for SMMEs
to access financing. These actions are likely to have
a positive impact in strengthening the financial sector
in Lesotho and to bring benefits to the end users of
financial services.


c. regulatioN oF sector
oPerators


1. insurance business


There are corporate form and nationality restrictions
with respect to registration as an insurer in Lesotho.
Section 4 of the Insurance Act provides that no
person or entity other than a company incorporated in
Lesotho as a public company, or a society registered
in Lesotho under the Cooperatives Societies
Proclamation (now Act) shall be eligible for registration
as an insurer in Lesotho. There is also a requirement
concerning share capital. It is an offence to carry on
insurance business without being registered as an
insurer under the Act and obtaining a certificate of
registration. Applications for registration are lodged
with the Commissioner of Insurance. The decision on
the application is communicated within 30 days of the
date of application. Certificates of registration are valid
for a period of one year from the date of issue and may
be renewed upon payment of the prescribed fee. It is
possible for further conditions to be imposed on the


insurer upon renewal of the registration. Registration
may be cancelled for reasons such as failure to carry
on insurance business, inadequate margin of solvency
and non-compliance with the requirements of the Act
or of any regulations. Cancellation may be reversed
should the insurer comply with requirements or with
any directives that may be given by the Commissioner.


2. insurance intermediaries
(agents and brokers)


Insurance agents must be licensed under the
Insurance Act. The Commissioner may demand
that the applicant possesses certain professional
qualifications relating to the principles and practices of
insurance before granting the licence. He may further
impose any reasonable conditions on the licence
holder. Licences are valid for one year from the date
of issue and may be cancelled if any disqualifying
conditions arise or are discovered.


3. cooperatives


Persons wishing to carry out activities as a cooperative
must apply for registration to the Commissioner of
Cooperatives and are granted a certificate of registration
upon approval. Refusal of registration must be
accompanied by reasons and appeal lies with the Minister
of MTICM within 30 days of the refusal. Cancellation of
registration is provided for, following winding-up.


4. Financial institutions


It is unlawful for financial institutions to conduct
banking or credit business unless they have been
licensed under the Financial Institutions Act. Local
institutions must be public companies in order
to qualify for licensing. Applicants apply to the
Commissioner and any licence issued is subject to
amendment of terms and conditions whenever it
falls due for renewal. The Commissioner may call
for necessary inquiries to determine whether the
applicant is fit and proper to be granted a licence.
Agents of financial institutions must also be licensed
by the Commissioner as well as ancillary financial
service providers. A licence may be revoked if the
institution fails to commence operations within six
months, is found to have obtained the licence under
false pretences, fails to comply with any conditions
of the licence, ceases to carry on the business, or
breaches any provisions of the Act.




31CHAPTER iii: Financial services sector


5. moneylenders


Licences are required before a person can carry on
business as a moneylender. Applications are made to
the Commissioner of Financial Institutions. The licence
is valid for the carrying on of business at one address
only. Licences are valid for one year and may be
renewed subject to conditions that may be attached
by the Commissioner. Applications may be rejected
on grounds of the poor character of the applicant, and
appeal against such decisions lies with the Minister of
Finance and Development Planning.


6. societies


Societies apply for registration at the Law Office. It is
an offence, punishable by fine and/or imprisonment,
to manage or to be a member of an unregistered
society.


d. ParticiPatioN oF
ForeigN service
Providers


insurance


Section 13 of the Insurance Act provides for records
that shall be kept by insurers. There is no clear
prescription of which records these are. It is simply
provided that all insurers must keep records that
“exhibit clearly and correctly the state of affairs and
explain the transactions and financial position of [their]
business in Lesotho”. However, section 14 goes
further to stipulate records to be kept specifically by a
foreign insurer. These are:


• Record of policies issued showing rights and obli-
gations thereunder;


• Record of premiums received on all policies relat-
ing to transactions in Lesotho;


• Record of claims paid out and those outstanding;


• Record of other disbursements made in Lesotho;


• Record of all investments made and documentary
evidence of assets and liabilities in Lesotho.


This means that foreign insurance service providers
have specific requirements placed on them that are
not placed on their domestic counterparts.


Foreign service suppliers are excluded from some
corporate forms of establishment in financial services.


For example section 10 of the Cooperatives Societies
Act provides that foreign nationals may not organize
themselves under a cooperative society.


e. tHe role oF
regulatioNs tHat
suPPort uNiversal
access to services


the credit guarantee Fund (cgF)


Formal financial institutions have been wary of
extending credit. This is more so when it comes to poor,
rural communities. This has caused some problems of
lack of access to financial services (figure 13).


However, comparing Lesotho with her neighbours in
the region we find that the country has higher inclusion
levels. For example, in South Africa, 23  per cent of
the adult population is financially excluded. Botswana,
Swaziland and Namibia have financial exclusion levels
of 33 per cent, 37 per cent and 52 per cent of the
adult population, respectively.


The CGF was created in 2001 to give confidence
to banks to lend to groups who have organized
themselves for purposes of income-generating
activities. The Government of Lesotho and donors
contribute to the fund. To invoke the guarantee the
lender has to show that they have exhausted all
means of loan recovery. For a group to be eligible
to benefit from the scheme it must be registered
and have been operating for at least six months
and with an active bank account for at least six
months. At least 80 per cent of members should
be Basotho, and at least 80 per cent of members


Figure 13. Access to financial services in Lesotho
(percentage of the adult population)


0


10


20


30


40


50


60


Formally Served
(Total Bank


and/or
Non Bank)


Have/use
bank


product/
service


Have/use
non bank


formal
product/
service


Use
informal


mechanisms


Financially
excluded


Level of inclusion %


Source: FinScope (2011).




32 SERVICES POLICY REVIEW: LESOthO


should not be formally employed. The funds must
be required for investment purposes (income-
generating activities). The guarantee covers
loans of between M 5,000 and M 50,000 with a
maximum loan repayment period of 60 months,
and the group has to have an acceptable record
of savings. Groups apply for the guarantee if they
would like to borrow more than the amount of their
savings from commercial banks.


The CGF envisions shared responsibility upon loan
default. Groups need to avoid misusing loans and
cultivate a good payment record. Banks, in turn,
need to disburse loans in a timely way and monitor
them effectively. Upon default, if the bank can prove
that they have exhausted all means of recovery, then
the fund assumes 50  per cent of the risk and the
remainder is shared by the bank and the group (at a
ratio of 60 per cent to 40 per cent). The rationale is to
induce responsibility in all stakeholders.45


F. trade liberalizatioN
commitmeNts
aFFectiNg tHe sector


As far as multilateral commitments are concerned,
Lesotho’s horizontal commitments inscribed in its
WTO schedule of specific commitments also apply
to the financial services sector. As stated earlier,
these commitments include minimum capital outlay
requirements and foreign equity requirements for
foreign-owned enterprises (including joint ventures with
domestic enterprises) which will also apply to suppliers
of insurance and banking services in the liberalized
subsectors. Further, the enterprise must be empowered
to conclude contracts on behalf of the parent enterprise.
Automatic entry and work permits are granted for up
to four expatriate senior executives and personnel with
specialized skills. Foreign enterprises established in
Lesotho to provide insurance and banking services are
compelled to provide training to locals so that locals
may, in future, gain skills and assume specialized roles.
There are no national treatment limitations inscribed in
the horizontal section.


In terms of sector-specific commitments regarding
financial services, Lesotho maintains partial
liberalization under market access and national
treatment. Lesotho has scheduled commitments
regarding direct life insurance, non-life insurance
services, and reinsurance and retrocession. Cross-
border supply (mode 1) remains unbound, while


consumption abroad (mode 2) is fully liberalized. For
commercial presence (mode 3) the schedule indicates
that to transact business in Lesotho, insurers (foreign
and domestically controlled) must be incorporated
as public companies under the Companies Act. The
acquisition of shares or any other interest (by a resident
or non-resident) in a registered insurer resulting in the
holding of 25 per cent or more of the value of all the
shares or other interest in that business requires the
written consent of the Registrar of Companies.


With respect to banking services, Lesotho has
scheduled commitments with regard to the following
services:


• Acceptance of deposits and repayable funds from
the public;


• Lending of all types, including, inter alia, consumer
credit, mortgage credit, factoring and financing of
commercial transactions;


• All payments and money transmission services, in-
cluding credit, charge and debit cards, travellers’
cheques and bank drafts;


• Guarantees and commitments;


• Trading in, for one’s own account or for the account
of customers, whether on an exchange in an over-
the-counter market or otherwise, the following:


— Money market instruments, cheques, bills, cer-
tificates of deposit;


— Foreign exchange;


— Derivative products including but not limited to
futures and options;


— Exchange rate and interest rate instruments;


— Money broking.


Cross-border supply (mode 1) and consumption abroad
(mode 2) remain unbound for these service sectors.
Market access limitations relating to commercial
presence (mode 3) (for all the above sectors except
money broking which is fully liberalized) are that
foreign banks must establish domestic companies
should they wish to obtain a controlling interest in a
local bank. Further, all banks must be registered as
public companies under the Companies Act.


Among the sectors and subsectors not currently
inscribed in Lesotho’s schedule of commitments are:


• Services auxiliary to insurance (including broking
and agency services);


• Financial leasing;


• Participation in issues of all kinds of securities,




33CHAPTER iii: Financial services sector


including underwriting and placement as agent
(whether publicly or privately) and provision of ser-
vice related to such issues;


• Asset management, such as cash or portfolio
management, all forms of collective investment
management, pension fund management, custo-
dial depository and trust services;


• Settlement and clearing services for financial as-
sets, including securities, derivative products, and
other negotiable instruments;


• Advisory and other auxiliary financial services on
all the activities listed in the WTO document MTN.
TNC/W/50 (page 7, Financial services: Definitions,
1.B. points 1–12), including credit reference and
analysis, investment and portfolio research and
advice, advice on acquisitions and on corporate
restructuring and strategy;


• Provision and transfer of financial information, and
finance processing and related software by provid-
ers of other financial services.


Financial services are among the priority sectors
identified for liberalization within the SADC region,
so when the negotiations begin the Government


of Lesotho may consider if it wishes to provide
preferential access in any financial services sector
to the region as compared with WTO members.
This could be done either by removing some of the
limitations that Lesotho maintains vis-à-vis WTO
members with respect to its trading partners from the
SADC region, or by taking liberalization commitments
in those sectors not currently included in its WTO
schedule of commitments. Such liberalization at
regional level would be underpinned by the common
– harmonized – policy frameworks that the region
seeks to develop under the FIP.


g. FiNaNcial services
sector: aN aNalysis
oF streNgtHs,
weakNesses,
oPPortuNities aNd
tHreats


Box 2 highlights a number of strengths, weaknesses,
opportunities and threats within the financial services
sector in Lesotho.


Box 2. Financial services sector in Lesotho – strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats


Strengths


• Financial sector stability stemming, in part, from its participation in the Common Monetary Area (CMA). This is evidenced by low interest
and inflation rates. In addition, the stability of the sector has been demonstrated by the robustness of the banking system in the aftermath
of the global financial crisis.


• The recent implementation of several financial sector reform initiatives. For instance, the privatization of the banking sector has led to
improved access and greater efficiency of banking products.


• The CBL is a well-organized and efficiently functioning institution that manages to adequately regulate and supervise sector operators.


Weaknesses


• Limited access to financial services in the country’s rural areas – the majority of the country’s financial institutions and intermediaries
are currently concentrated in Lesotho’s urban areas.


• A highly risk-averse commercial banking sector and a comparatively low credit to deposit ratio constrains lending.


• Confusion and a lack of clarity surrounding procedures required to access finance and credit facilities (particularly among SMEs).


• Previous failures of credit guarantee schemes.


• Outdated and ineffective regulation of both the banking and insurance sectors. In particular, there is currently insufficient regulation of
moneylenders and informal suppliers of financial services.


• Limited access to modern technology.


• Small size of the market places an upward limit on the expansion of financial services.


• Outdated legislation and delays in passing and implementing legislative reforms.


• Legislative gaps in certain areas related to microfinance and consumer protection.




34 SERVICES POLICY REVIEW: LESOthO


Opportunities


• Scope to expand the presence of non-bank formal service providers to extend the reach of financial services related to insurance provi-
sion and microfinance.


• Strong demand for microfinance, particularly in rural areas currently underserved by financial institutions, suggests that there are op-
portunities to boost the supply of microfinance products in Lesotho. At present, the existing microfinance options in the country are quite
rudimentary. Similarly, there is potential to develop legislation governing microfinance in the country.


• Significant scope to further develop the capital market in Lesotho.


• Great scope to expand the presence of both banking and non-banking financial institutions in Lesotho’s rural areas.


Threats


• A large number of legal cases between debtors and creditors is hampering the development of the sector. Absence of legislation on
credit reporting and the absence of a credit bureau deter the granting of credit because of the high level of risk involved in such an
environment.


• Demand-side barriers to financial inclusion in the form of an inability to afford financial services due to inadequacy of income and nega-
tive attitudes towards financial matters and institutions that prevent individuals from using financial products or services. For example,
many Basotho (estimated at 71.6 per cent of the population) cannot afford insurance.


• Supply-side barriers to the use of financial products and services, including physical access (distance and convenience of operating
hours), high interest rates for credit products and low interest rates for savings products, and poor customer service and processing
times.


• High cost of banking services by regional standards (particularly in comparison with Namibia and Swaziland) affects the competitiveness
of the banking sector.


• Limited presence of local ownership within the commercial banking sector, with the high level of foreign ownership leading to a low level
of investment of banking deposits in Lesotho.


• Insufficient institutional capacity to implement reforms in the financial sector.


• A lack of monetary policy autonomy due to Lesotho’s participation in the CMA.


Source: UNCTAD, based on interviews with stakeholders, research and literature review.




ServiceS Policy review


ProFeSSional medical
ServiceS Sector


IV




36 SERVICES POLICY REVIEW: LESOthO


a. role aNd PerFormaNce
oF tHe ProFessioNal
medical services
sector iN lesotHo


In Lesotho, health is at the very heart of the country’s
overall development objectives. Indeed, the country’s
Vision 2020 stipulates:46


Basotho shall be a healthy nation with a well-
developed human resource base. The country
will have a good quality health system with
facilities and infrastructure accessible and af-
fordable to all Basotho, irrespective of income,
disabilities, geographical location and wealth.
Health personnel will provide quality health ser-
vice and patient care.


Reforms to health and social welfare policies in
Lesotho in the past decade have stemmed from
the introduction of the country’s Health and Social
Welfare Policy in September 2003, which provides
the agenda for the development of the sector.47 The
Health and Social Welfare Policy was formulated as
an integral component of the national development
strategy outlined in Lesotho’s Vision 2020 framework.
Lesotho’s Health and Social Welfare Policy is guided
by a number of principles, including:48


• Poverty reduction and social welfare;


• A PHC approach to service delivery that relies or
focuses on community participation, inter-sectoral
collaboration, appropriate technology, disease pre-
vention, health promotion and behaviour change;


• Equal access to basic health care and social wel-
fare services and the adoption of strategies that
will redress any existing disparities by giving spe-
cial attention to disadvantaged regions and under-
served communities in the country;


• Affordability of services;


• Community participation in management and
planning for health and social welfare services;


• Integrated service delivery approaches;


• Sustainability of service provision when external
support stops;


• Efficiency in resource allocation so as to ensure
that resources are only used where the greatest
benefit can be realized in the most cost-effective
manner;


• Ensuring that good quality services are supplied;


• According special attention to ensuring that health
and social welfare services are available for wom-
en given their generally lower status in society and
their special role in reproduction;


• Adhering to the highest level of ethics and integrity,
guided and enforced through professional councils
and legislation.


Although progress has been made in the provision of
health services to the Basotho people (it is estimated
that 85  per cent of the population in Lesotho have
access to health services),49 limited capacity within
Lesotho’s health sector remains a major challenge
to addressing and combating the spread of diseases
such as the HIV and AIDS pandemic, and tuberculosis.
These diseases place considerable pressure on an
already overburdened healthcare system. The rise
of the HIV and AIDS pandemic has “dramatically
reversed” previous gains that Lesotho achieved
in health indicators, especially with respect to life
expectancy, which dropped from 59 in 1990 to 44 in
2010.50


This problem is exacerbated by the fact that 81  per
cent of the Basotho population live in remote rural
villages, often several hours away from the nearest
clinic.51 According to the World Health Organization
(WHO), while 75  per cent of the urban population in
Lesotho can reach health care facilities in less than 45
minutes (within walking distance), more than 75  per
cent of the country’s rural population are outside of
walking distance of a health facility.52 Furthermore,
an inequitable distribution of health facilities and the
need to strengthen health institutions in the country
for efficient and effective service delivery remain areas
requiring urgent attention.


1. the contribution of
professional medical
services to the national
economy


The development and expansion of professional medical
services can play an important role in addressing
these issues in Lesotho. In developing countries,
professional services are of particular importance
because they contribute to knowledge generation and
its diffusion to other productive activities and social
endeavours. Such services are typically provided by
highly skilled and trained professionals, many of whom




37CHAPTER iV: Professional medical services sector


are required to be licensed or accredited to provide
these services. In line with the WTO Services Sectoral
Classification List, medical and dental services fall
under this broad category of professional services.
According to the United Nations Provisional Central
Product Classification, medical and dental services are
“chiefly aimed at preventing, diagnosing and treating
illness through consultation by individual patients
without institutional nursing”. It is envisaged that by
helping to ensure a healthy workforce, professional
medical services can contribute to economic growth
and development in Lesotho.


In Lesotho, the professional medical services
sector can be disaggregated into a number of
subsectors. These include nurses, medical doctors,
pharmacy, laboratory, nutrition and dental personnel,
environmental health workers, and community
health workers. More broadly, the main providers of
professional medical services can be disaggregated
into three categories: Government of Lesotho
providers (public-sector providers of health services,
including government health centres and district
hospitals), faith-based providers (referring to the
provision of health services by Christian churches)
and private-sector providers (representing for-profit
providers of health services).


Across Lesotho there are a total of 79 government
health centres, 10 district hospitals and one public
referral (tertiary) hospital located in Maseru. In addition,
the country is home to one private hospital (Maseru
Private Hospital) which has 28 beds, three resident
doctors and two operating theatres. A total of 42 per
cent of the health centres in the country, and 58 per


cent of the hospitals, are Government owned; 38 per
cent of the hospitals and 38  per cent of the health
centres fall under the control of the Christian Health
Association of Lesotho (CHAL), and the remaining
facilities are either privately owned or operated by the
Lesotho Red Cross.53


2. economic performance of
the professional medical
services sector


Lesotho has fewer health professionals than the
African average (WHO, 2006). Focusing initially on
the number of health professionals in the country,
table 7 outlines the growth in various categories of
medical professionals in Lesotho since 2005. With
the exception of dentists, the numbers of doctors,
pharmacists and paramedics have all grown steadily
since 2005. This growth has been largest in the
case of pharmacists and paramedics, the numbers
in these professions having more than doubled
since 2005. There have also been notable increases
in the number of doctors (40.6 per cent) and other
medical professionals (for example, psychologists,
opticians and physiotherapists) (25.7  per cent)
since 2005.


According to the MOHSW, in Lesotho “nurses are the
single largest cadre of health workers in the formal
sector”.54 They account for more than 73  per cent
of all health workers in the country, and 90 per cent
of the personnel directly engaged in the provision
of health services. Furthermore, the number of
nurses in the country has grown steadily since 1995


Doctors Dentists Pharmacists Paramedics Others


2005 165 18 20 4 105


2006 144 22 16 3 69


2007 176 22 20 1 129


2008 198 32 15 9 88


2009 213 27 20 5 130


2010 215 27 21 5 136


2011 232 20 41 12 132


Table 7. Total numbers of doctors, dentists, pharmacists, paramedics and other medical professionals
in Lesotho, 2005–2011


Source: Compiled from registration data (2005–2011) collected by the Medical Council.




38 SERVICES POLICY REVIEW: LESOthO


In comparison, there are very few nutritionists in
Lesotho. According to the Human Resources for
Health development strategy, Lesotho has 0.0002
nutritionists for every 1,000 Basotho. Similarly, the
supply of dental personnel is also very limited, with
just 0.007 dental personnel for every 1,000 Basotho.55
According to the MOHSW, in 2010 “the number of
[dental] staff was so limited that only Maseru had
more than one dental staff employed”.56 Interestingly,
among the existing stock of dental personnel in the


Figure 14. Numbers of enrolled nurses, foreign nurses, general nurses and nursing assistants in Lesotho, 1995–2011


180


160


140


120


100


80


60


40


20


0



















Year
ENROLLED NURSES


Nu
m


be
r o


f N
ur


se
s


FOREIGN NURSES GENERAL NURSES NURSING ASSISTANTS


1995 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011


Source: Compiled from registration data (2005–2011) collected by the Medical Council.


Density of health personnel per 1,000 members of the population


Category Lesotho WHO Regional Office for Africa region average
Physicians (medical doctors) 0.049 0.217


Nurses and midwives 0.623 1.172


Dentists and technicians 0.009 0.035


Pharmacists and technicians 0.034 0.063


Environmental and public health workers 0.031 0.049


Laboratory technicians 0.081 0.057


Community health workers n.a. 0.449


Health management and support 0.010 0.411


Other health workers 0.013 0.173


Total 0.850 2.262


Table 8. Density of health personnel per 1,000 members of the population in Lesotho compared with the
WHO African region


Note: Total numbers and densities of the health workforce in Lesotho (2002).
Source: WHO (2006).


(figure 14). This has been driven by strong growth in
the numbers of general nurses and nursing assistants,
counterbalancing a sharp fall in the number of foreign
nurses working in the country since 2008.


In turn, medical doctors (physicians) represent the
second largest cadre after nurses, accounting for
approximately 5.8 per cent of the health workforce in
Lesotho. The majority of the medical doctors in Lesotho
are employed by the MOHSW, which employed 66 per
cent of all medical doctors in the country in 2006.




39CHAPTER iV: Professional medical services sector


country, most are female (63 per cent) and Basotho
(93 per cent).


Furthermore, a study conducted by Price Waterhouse
Coopers in 2007 found that the health sector in Lesotho
is confronted by a scarcity of skills in the medical and
allied professions. There is a shortage of critical skills,
in particular, in the sector.57 This is exacerbated by the
presence of relatively few training institutions available
to nurses, and the absence of any institution to train
individuals responsible for providing training to nurses.
There are only six institutions in Lesotho that provide
training to nurses: the National University of Lesotho,
the National Health Training College, Maluti Hospital,
Roma College of Nursing, Scott School of Nursing
and Paray School of Nursing. Of these, only the
National University of Lesotho offers nursing degrees;
the others offer diploma programmes.


Similarly, Lesotho ranks poorly in terms of the density
of health personnel for every 1,000 members of the
population in comparison with other countries in
Africa. Table 8 compares 2003 figures on the density
of specific types of health personnel in Lesotho with
the average for the WHO African region, and shows
that, in 2003, Lesotho had fewer physicians, nurses
and midwives, dentists and technicians, pharmacists
and technicians, environmental and public health
workers, and other health workers in comparison with
the African average.


The process of assessing the contribution of the
professional medical services sector to national GDP
is complicated by the fact that much of the available
data are bundled together under the broader health
and social work sector. The health sector contributes
an average of 1.7 per cent to national GDP.58 Growth
in value-added of the broad health and social work
sector has, however, fluctuated significantly since
1993. Data are available for the decade from 1993–
2003 (Table 9) and reveals that after significant
growth in value added in the health and social work
sector in 1993, contractions were recorded in both
1995 and 1997, and more recently value added in
the sector has grown at only modest rates.


3. trends in trade and
investment in the
professional medical
services sector


Trade in professional medical services can occur
through the movement of health professionals (on
a temporary or permanent basis) to supply services
abroad, or where feasible, by supplying services through
new technological means (for example, telemedicine).
In many developing countries, this trade has given rise
to a brain drain in which skilled medical professionals
ply their trade abroad, potentially leading to a lack of
appropriately qualified medical professionals to cater
for local needs, especially those located in the most
remote areas of a particular country.


Lesotho appears to have suffered from this brain drain
of skilled medical professionals. The Transformation
Resource Centre reported in 2005 that over 80  per
cent of qualified Basotho doctors left Lesotho, with
about 75 per cent of Basotho doctors working in South
Africa.59 Other countries that have been recipients of
Basotho doctors are Canada, the United States of
America and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and
Northern Ireland, with estimates suggesting that close
to 20 Basotho doctors are working in these countries.60


The situation pertaining to the nursing profession
is no better. The effects of the rising HIV and AIDS
pandemic have resulted in a greater need for nurses
in Lesotho. In 2005, the Transformation Resource
Centre reported that many rural clinics were without
qualified nursing staff.61 This is due, at least in part, to
a lack of incentives for medical professionals to work
in the rural areas of the country. At the same time, it is
estimated that over 70 per cent of qualified Basotho
nurses were working outside Lesotho in countries
such as the United Kingdom of Great Britain and
Northern Ireland, the United States of America and
neighbouring South Africa.62


The shortage of skilled medical professionals in
Lesotho has been filled, at least in part, through
imports of doctors from Nigeria and the Democratic


Percentage growth


Tertiary Sector 1993 1995 1997 1999 2001 2003


Health and social work 39.4 -6.3 -6.0 2.5 0.8 2.0


Table 9. Growth of value added in Lesotho’s health and social work sector, 1993–2003


Source: Manduna (2005).




40 SERVICES POLICY REVIEW: LESOthO


Republic of Congo. Furthermore, the WHO has
reported that “South African private practitioners
living near the border go to Lesotho to provide
services for two to three days a week, mostly
in Maseru, given its market potential. Yet these
practitioners are not always registered in Lesotho”.63
Moreover, it has been suggested that the provision
of external funding for foreign health professionals
operating in Lesotho has created a situation where,
in certain instances, foreign health professionals are
paid more than their Basotho counterparts, which
can serve as a demotivating factor for local health
professionals.


b. iNveNtory oF
legislatioN,
regulatioNs,
iNstitutioNs aNd
Policy measures


The MOHSW is in the process of amending the
legislation and regulations governing medical
services in the country. Consultants have been
engaged in the process but the work is still in its
very early stages. Drafts of the new laws that will
replace the old ones are still in the process of being
drawn up.


1. legislation


Public Health order No. 12 of 1970


This Order provides for the functions of the MOHSW,
in particular the promotion of health and the prevention
of diseases.


the medical, dental and Pharmacy
order No. 13 of 1970


The Order establishes the Medical, Dental and
Pharmacy Council which is a corporate body consisting
of 10 members. The Council keeps a register of all
registered medical practitioners, dental surgeons, and
pharmacists and paramedical personnel practising in
Lesotho.


Nurses and midwives act No. 12 of
1998


The Act establishes the Lesotho Nursing Council and
regulates nursing education and practice.


Nursing and midwifery bill 2008


This bill, which is still at drafting stage, will repeal the
1998 Nurses and Midwives Act, this latter Act being
considered to be outdated and shallow, and to limit the
powers of the Council. The bill, for example, seeks to
protect the public from malpractices and misconducts
by nurses by setting standards for nurses. It
strengthens disciplinary proceedings and outlines
the procedure to be followed where a practitioner
operates without a licence. It allows the regulation, by
the Council, of nurses in private practice. The new Bill
will also contain provision for continuing professional
development points for nurses as criteria for licence
renewal.


2. regulations


medical, dental and Pharmacy
(degrees) regulations.
order No. 3 of 1972


medical, dental and Pharmacy
(degrees) (amendment) regulations
No. 12 of 1972


Both these regulations provide the degrees, diplomas
and certificates which shall entitle the holders thereof
to registration as medical practitioners, dental
surgeons or pharmacists.


3. legislative gaps and
inadequacies


Firstly, the laws are very outdated and have never
been amended, save for the regulations which sought
only to add to the list of recognized institutional
certificates. However, the MOHSW has currently
engaged consultants to review the laws to lead to
their amendment. The work is still in the very early
stages. Secondly, the powers given to the Medical
Council under its Act are very weak and hinder its
ability to regulate the health care sector. For example,
if medical professionals do not come to renew their
registrations the law does not give the Council power
to take any action against them. There are cases
where professionals have continued for years without
renewing expired registrations. In those cases the
Council will simply make them pay the arrears and
a mere M 50 per year as a penalty. Further, the law
provides that every doctor who practices in Lesotho,




41CHAPTER iV: Professional medical services sector


even those who are not resident in the country and
enter it a few times a week to see patients, must be
registered. However, there are doctors from South
Africa who see patients in Lesotho without being
registered with the Council. Even if it had the capacity
to do so, the Council is unable to monitor or take
action against such practices because of lack of legal
empowerment.


There is no legislation providing guidelines for private
practices. It is only now that the MOHSW is starting to
work on guidelines for private practices to introduce
basic requirements for such practices. This vacuum
currently leaves consumers at a risk of being treated
in practices that do not have adequate facilities.
The danger is compounded by the lack of medical
malpractice law. There is currently no statute to
refer to in cases where negligent conduct is claimed
against a medical professional, either in diagnosing or
treating a patient. This leaves patients with no other
recourse than the general delict of negligence with its
high burden of proof requirements. Were there to be
medical malpractice law this would create an impetus
for professionals and hospitals to take medical
malpractice insurance which would contribute to the
growth and diversification of the financial institutions
sector.


Currently the basis for the renewal of registration is
simply based on the expiration of the registration.
There are no other requirements that the professional
ought to have met in order to qualify for the renewal.
In the pipeline are plans to add a system of continuing
professional development points as qualification for
renewal of a certificate. This means that only those
professionals who have improved on their training,
for example, by continuing education, attending
conferences, and completing courses will qualify for
renewal. It is hoped that this new system will be put
into bill form by the end of 2011.


The current legislation only covers doctors, dentists,
pharmacists, paramedics, nurses and midwives.
This excludes many other health professionals
who operate in the country, such as psychologists,
physiotherapists and optometrists. These
professions are also registered by the Medical
Council but are not mentioned anywhere under the
regulatory ambit of the legislation. Furthermore,
there is a strong reliance on traditional healers in
Basotho society and yet their practices are not
regulated under any law. In 2007, 2,604 traditional
healers were registered in Lesotho.xxx


4. institutions
The Government of Lesotho provides 43  per cent
of health care services in the country (table 10), the
CHAL provides 39 per cent and other NGOs and the
private sector are responsible for the remaining.


the ministry of Health and social
welfarexxxi


This Ministry is responsible for health policy in Lesotho.
The Ministry was given a budgetary allocation of
M 1,033.5 million for the 2011/2012 fiscal year.


the medical, dental and Pharmacy
council


The Medical, Dental and Pharmacy Council is a
corporate body that keeps a register of all registered
medical practitioners, dental surgeons, pharmacists
and paramedical personnel practising in Lesotho. One
major problem affecting the efficiency of the Council
is that it only has two staff members. This means that
it does not have the necessary manpower to be able
to monitor medical practitioners for compliance with
the Act. This problem is further compounded by the
fact that it has no mobility. Lack of ability to monitor
and supervise practitioners means that the Council
can only become aware of alleged malpractices if a
member of the public complains directly to it. However,
very few people know about this procedure and thus it
is never initiated and followed through to completion.
The Council has very few financial resources. Its only
source of income is registration fees. There is no
government funding or allocation from the Ministry.
Their office space is limited to two offices with bare


Health care
service provider


Percentage
of services
provided


Number of
health care
facilities:


WHO Regional
Office for


Africa region
average


Government of
Lesotho 43 12 76


CHAL 39 8 72


NGOs 2.9 0 6


Private sector 15.1 1 30


Total 100 21 184


Table 10. The provision of health care services
in Lesotho




42 SERVICES POLICY REVIEW: LESOthO


minimum equipment. Its operations are centralized
in Maseru, which makes it difficult for practitioners
who are in the remote areas of the country to travel to
renew their registration certificates when they expire.


The disciplinary powers of the Council are weak and do
not deter potential infringements of the Order or acts
of malpractice. The Council’s Disciplinary Committee
sits to hear disciplinary matters and recommends to
the Council what action should be taken. The proposal
must be ratified by the Council in order to take effect.
Penalties are usually suspension for some months or, in
extreme cases, removal from the register.


the Nursing council


This is the institution that is responsible for the
licensing and monitoring of nurses. Challenges to
the Council’s efficiency are that it is centralized and
thus can only provide services from Maseru. It is
manned by only two staff members. Because of these
challenges, the Council is assisted by the Professional
Conduct Committee, which is a committee made up
of six volunteers who supervise nurses in conjunction
with the Council. It undertakes visitations to hospitals
to ensure that nurses, for example, are registered.
However, the committee’s work is further hampered
by transport constraints. Thus, supervisors in hospitals
also assist the Council by checking that all nurses
have licences that are up-to-date. The Council does
not receive any government financial assistance or
donor support and relies solely on fees that it collects
as well as the sale of distinguishing devices.


christian Health association
of lesotho


CHAL was established in 1974 and runs health care
training services in Lesotho. It has a membership
affiliation of six churches: the Anglican Church of
Lesotho, Assemblies of God, the Bible Covenant,
Lesotho Evangelical, the Roman Catholic Church,
and the Seventh Day Adventist Church. Some of the
sources of their funding include the Government of
Lesotho and the Millennium Challenge Corporation.


5. Policies


There are no formal policies on medical professionals
or health professionals in Lesotho. What exist,
however, are unwritten policies and strategic plans.


Past and current position


Past and current policy on the development of health
professionals has been two pronged. Firstly, the
Government of Lesotho would, through the National
Manpower Development Secretariat (NMDS) provide
funding for professionals to study abroad. Secondly,
study leave is granted to professionals in the public
sector to pursue postgraduate study.


The Human Resource Development Strategic Plan
maps out the planned development of different cadres
of health professionals. The Continuing Medical
Education Plan followed a needs-assessment exercise
that was undertaken to assess the knowledge and
skills of health professionals compared with the
expected knowledge and skills. Knowledge and skill
gaps were determined and a plan was drawn up to
bridge the gaps. For example, it was determined that
there was a shortage of skills on emergency obstetric
care. The Continuing Medical Education Plan aims
to provide access to short courses and on-the-job
training for professionals so that they can further
develop their skills to meet the needs of the country.
Furthermore, an agreement has been entered into with
the new National Referral Hospital that every year the
hospital will pay for Basotho doctors to pursue studies
leading to specialization. An agreement has also been
struck with the NMDS to set aside a certain proportion
of funds specifically for medical studies.


Future policy


A retention policy exists but has not as yet been
formalized. It has been reviewed and is awaiting formal
adoption by the leaders of the MOHSW. The expectation


Nursing Council fee categories Fees in maloti


Registration fee M 200


Renewal of licence M 150 (nurses)


M 75 (nurse assistants) 2.9


Late registration M 100 per year


Verification fee M 200


Student registration fee M 100


Affidavit fee for lost certificates M 200


Application fee for foreign nurses M 300


Licensure examination fee M 200


Table 11. Nursing Council fees in Lesotho


Source: Personal interview with Mamohapi Poka, Registrar,
Nursing Council, 2 November 2011.




43CHAPTER iV: Professional medical services sector


is that it will be implementable soon. The policy aims
to retain medical professionals and to curb the current
brain drain. At the moment, approximately twenty
doctors are trained, at government expense, every year
in South Africa at an average cost of R 70,000 per year.
Out of those, only one doctor on average returns to
work in Lesotho. The hope is to tackle conditions that
are responsible for this phenomenon and make the
Lesotho health sector a more desirable environment in
which to work. The policy prioritizes interventions that
are targeted, fairly distributed, and affordable. It takes
off from a holistic viewpoint of examining all the push
and pull factors in the migration of medical personnel
and includes strategies such as addressing working
conditions to enhance worker motivation, remuneration
reviews and financial incentives, as well as personal
development issues.


In addition, it is important to note that several regional
initiatives are ongoing under SADC. These might, if
successful, have a positive impact in the regulatory
and institutional frameworks and lead to increased
trade of health services in the region in years to come.
For instance, a regional health policy was developed in
2006 which deals with a wide range of issues affecting
health in the region. SADC has also developed
programmatic strategic frameworks on different areas
like HIV and AIDS. Countries are in the process of
implementing these frameworks.


A policy on human resources for health is being
developed since 2006. This is meant to govern the
mobility of health professionals in the region. Currently,
this is done through bilateral agreements among
concerned parties that are meant to curb brain drain
within the region. The policy which is being developed
provides a multilateral framework aimed at rationalizing
the movement of health professionals in the region.


There is also work being done at the regional level
concerning identification and establishment of regional
referral hospitals. These will be hospitals which are
known for their specialization in certain areas of health
like cancer or tuberculosis. It is envisaged that there
will be several referral centres in the region. These
referral hospitals should contribute to enhancing trade
in services through consumption abroad (mode 2) and
temporary movement of natural persons (mode 4),
which may be medical professionals in this context.


This is an initiative to develop a standard document
which can be easily carried by patients to other
hospitals in the region. This project is being given


priority and a pilot tuberculosis document is being
tested. There is also work being undertaken concerning
the establishment of supranational laboratories in the
region so as to provide quality assurance and services.


Institutional mechanisms have been put in place in
the context of SADC with a view to examining the
issue of mutual recognition of qualifications for health
professionals and related standards. The ongoing work
is framed by the Draft Protocol on the Facilitation of
Movement of Persons and the Protocol on Education
and Training.


c. regulatioN oF sector
oPerators


medical practitioners, dental
surgeons and pharmacists


Medical practitioners, dental surgeons and pharma-
cists must be registered with the Medical Council
before they can practice in Lesotho. Applicants ap-
ply in writing to the Registrar, submitting educational
certificates and evidence of identity, of good character
and reputation, and of the authenticity and validity of
the degree, diploma or certificate submitted, as the
Council may require. The professional will then be is-
sued with a certificate of registration and a retention
certificate which is renewable every year for a fee. The
fees are subject to an annual 10 per cent escalation.
Examples of current fee levels are shown in table 12.


The Council may refuse registration if, in its opinion,
the applicant, notwithstanding that she/he is otherwise
qualified, is not a fit person to be registered by reason
of the fact that she/he is not of good character and
reputation or has not an adequate knowledge of either
the Sesotho or the English language. A person may be
removed from the register if disciplinary proceedings
confirm breach of any provisions of the Medical,
Dental and Pharmacy Order.


Registration fee categories Fees in maloti


Medical practitioner M 460


Specialist M 570


Dentist M 460


Pharmacy technician M 500


Allied health professional/paramedics M 300


Table 12. Medical Council registration fees


Source: Personal interview with Tentenkie Mohapeloa,
Registrar, Medical Council, 26 October 2011.




44 SERVICES POLICY REVIEW: LESOthO


Nurses


Once a nurse has passed exams at a training
institution, she/he can sit for a licensure exam that
is set by the Nursing Council. If the exam is passed,
the nurse will be given a licence to practice, which is
renewable on a yearly basis. Appeal against refusal to
register lies with the High Court of Lesotho.


d. ParticiPatioN oF
ForeigN service
Providers


Generally it is not difficult for foreign nationals to
participate in the health sector. Lesotho has a long list
of recognized qualifications from institutions all over the
world. Foreign doctors apply for registration in exactly
the same manner as their domestic counterparts.
Even if a medical professional is just coming to work in
the country for a few weeks, they still have to register
with the Medical Council. However, those who provide
services on a consultancy basis (that is, they are called
in to assist a registered practitioner with a patient as
a consultant) do not require registration. Registration
may be denied on the grounds that the applicant does
not possess an adequate knowledge of either the
Sesotho or the English language.


Foreign nurses must apply for a licence from the Nursing
Council before they can practice in Lesotho. Verification
must be sent from the registering authority of the home
state to the Nursing Council to prove that the applicant
was registered in their home country. The Credentials
Committee will review the applicant’s credentials and,
if satisfied, the applicant will be admitted to take the
licensure exam which, if passed, will entitle them
to registration. There are no other requirements or
restrictions on foreign nurse practitioners.


Barriers that may arise are caused by problems outside
the sphere of medical legislation and procedures, and are
related to general difficulties of foreigners accessing work
and residence permits. These barriers face all foreigners
regardless of the sector in which they participate, that
is, they are not unique to the medical profession. The
processing of residence and work permits can take
a very long time, months even, and sometimes the
residence and work permits do not correlate with the
contract of employment (for example, a person can hold
a three year contract and be issued with permits valid for
two years). This is because work permits cannot exceed
two years, and residence permits are issued to tally with


work permits. The permits and their renewals are also
relatively costly (see annex 3) The prices are part of the
general raising of administrative charges in the country
and they are unlikely to be reduced. Delays are primarily
caused by limited staff and no automation. Applicants
must submit the same information and documents year
after year, which is discouraging. One possibility to be
considered that would reduce delays in processing
would be for the MOHSW to adopt a one-stop shop-
like facility within its premises to assist professionals to
secure permits more timeously. The similar facility for
exporters (housed in the Ministry of Trade) has space
and staff constraints and cannot offer such services to
medical professionals.


e. tHe role oF
regulatioNs tHat
suPPort uNiversal
access to services


The first attempt to address access issues came
in 1979 with the Public Health Care Strategy. The
major goal was to bring services closer to rural and
marginalized populations. This was followed by the
creation of the health service areas (HSAs). Lesotho
was divided into eighteen HSAs based on the
catchment areas of existing hospitals. Every hospital
in an HSA would be responsible for the supervision of
all health centres within its catchment boundaries to
ensure their maximum efficiency and outreach.


F. trade liberalizatioN
commitmeNts
aFFectiNg tHe sector


As with all other sectors included in Lesotho’s schedule
of specific commitments, the horizontal commitments
will apply to the professional medical services included
in the schedule. The services concerned fall under the
following subsectors:


• Medical and dental services;


• Veterinary services;


• Services provided by:


(i) Midwives and nurses;


(ii) Physiotherapists and paramedical personnel.


The horizontal commitments impose that minimum
capital outlay requirements and foreign equity
requirements for foreign-owned enterprises (including
joint ventures with domestic enterprises) apply to




45CHAPTER iV: Professional medical services sector


suppliers of the listed subsectors. Furthermore,
such enterprises must be empowered to conclude
contracts on behalf of the parent enterprise.
Automatic entry and work permits are granted for up
to four expatriate senior executives and personnel
with specialized skills. It should be noted that this
would apply to service suppliers in the form of juridical
persons other than hospitals, as commitments for
hospital servicesxxxii are taken separately in the case of
the GATS (they are a subsector of health-related and
social services). This could the case of doctors, nurses
and other medical professionals who provide their
services in the context of a private practice without
institutional nursing. Where such enterprises providing
professional medical services exist, they have an
obligation to provide training to locals so that locals
may, in future, gain skills and assume specialized
roles. No national treatment limitations would be
applied to the professional medical services as part
of the commitments found in the horizontal section.


For medical and dental services, cross-border
supply (mode 1) is left unbound while there are no
limitations to liberalization under consumption abroad
(mode 2) and commercial presence (mode 3). This
implies that professional medical services cannot
be provided by foreign service suppliers via ICT or
through the mail as could have been the case for
tele-diagnosis. With respect to commitments relating
to veterinary services as well as services provided by
midwives, nurses, physiotherapists and paramedical
personnel, Lesotho fully liberalized modes 1, 2 and
3 – cross-border supply, consumption abroad and
commercial presence, respectively. The feasibility of
the provision of such categories of services through


cross-border supply may, however, be less likely than
in the case of medical and dental services. Lesotho
made commitments relating to mode 4 according to
its horizontal section which implies that automatic
entries and work permits will only be granted for up
to four expatriate senior executives and specialized
skill personnel in relation to the establishment of a
commercial presence in the country.


Professional services are not among the priority
sectors identified for liberalization within the SADC,
but eventually this sector would also be a candidate
for liberalization at regional level. As the issues of
qualification and licensing requirements are particularly
important in these as in other professional categories it
is a particularly welcome development that institutional
mechanisms have been put in place at the SADC
level with a view to examining the issue of mutual
recognition. Moreover, given that the process for the
mutual recognition of qualification requires significant
time and efforts it is a good thing that such work has
begun even before SADC countries begin to negotiate
liberalization commitments.


g. ProFessioNal medical
services sector: aN
aNalysis oF streNgtHs,
weakNesses,
oPPortuNities aNd
tHreats


Box 3 highlights a number of strengths, weaknesses,
opportunities and threats within the professional
medical services sector in Lesotho.


Box 3. Professional medical services sector in Lesotho – strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats


Strengths


• Strong partnerships exist between the Government of Lesotho, CHAL, the Red Cross, and private practitioners.


• Prioritization of the health sector by the Government of Lesotho. This is reflected in substantial funding provided by the Government of
Lesotho (and managed by the MOHSW) to support the health sector and health-care services.


• Strong network and cadre of community health workers, community councils and counsellors to assist in the provision of health care.


• High level of donor goodwill, commitment and support for the sector.


• Openness to foreign professionals in order to bridge the human resource gap.


Weaknesses


• Poor access to healthcare facilities and services in rural areas and the Lesotho highlands.


• Scarcity of skills in medical and allied professions, particularly in terms of a shortage of pharmacists, medical doctors and dentists.
This is exacerbated by limited short-term capacity to increase the supply of health personnel in the country.




46 SERVICES POLICY REVIEW: LESOthO


• Training institutions offer qualifications at low levels: certificates and diplomas. Only one institution (the National University of Lesotho)
offers degree programmes in the medical field.


• Shortage of training programmes for nurses as well as a lack of available institutions to train nurses.


• Low density of health professionals per 1,000 members of the Lesotho population.


• Inequities in resource allocation between health centres, especially districts.


• Weak coordination between the MOHSW, the public service and training institutions.


• Limited domestic capacity to finance health-care programmes and, consequently, an excessive level of dependence on donor financing
for expenditure on these programmes (particularly HIV and AIDS programmes), the sustainability of which will be jeopardized in the event
of donor withdrawal. This is exacerbated by the financial crises currently plaguing many donor countries.


• Outdated legislation and legislative gaps; some sector operators are excluded from regulation.


• Weak institutions within the sector.


• Professional development is not a determining factor for the renewal of registrations.


Opportunities


• Scope to boost the supply of training to nurses and other health professionals to optimize the efficiency of human resources for
the provision of health services.


• Potential for further health sector reform and decentralization of processes.


• Scope to develop cooperation in the form of regional initiatives for the supply of health services with a particular focus on health
personnel as part of broader SADC regional integration efforts.


• Potential to develop partnerships with other countries to encourage foreign medical professionals to operate in the country.


• Potential to transfer knowledge and skills among medical professionals operating in Lesotho (both foreign and local professionals).


• Scope to extend the level of harmonization and collaboration between the MOHSW and CHAL.


Threats


• The debilitating burden of the HIV and AIDS pandemic in Lesotho stretches the country’s already limited healthcare capacity, especially
in terms of the demand for services at the district level.


• In turn, limited capacity and an overburdened health sector affect the effectiveness of efforts to curb diseases.


• Significant ‘brain drain’ of skilled medical professionals (particularly doctors) threatens the delivery of health services and the quality of
health care provided to the Basotho people. This is exacerbated by rising regional and international demand for medical professionals,
causing many skilled professionals to migrate to other countries. At the same time, the lack of a retention strategy raises the risk of
emigration by medical professionals to other countries in search of greener pastures. Lesotho suffers a net economic loss when medical
professionals, trained at the public’s expense, migrate.


• Slow progress in the implementation of decentralization strategies and health sector reform processes.


Source: UNCTAD, based on interviews with stakeholders, research and literature review.




ServiceS Policy review


touriSm ServiceS Sector


V




48 SERVICES POLICY REVIEW: LESOthO


Tourism is recognized as an engine for economic and
social development. In addition to producing economic
and employment benefits in the tourism sector itself,
tourism activities promote the development of related
services, as well as of the manufacturing and agriculture
sectors. Tourism can also contribute substantially
to reducing poverty and empowering women. The
employment opportunities created through the
sector may extend to youth and migrant workers
and, increasingly, persons in remote rural areas with
the development of certain niche tourism products
relating to non-mass, cultural and ecotourism. In over
150 countries, tourism is one of the top five export
earners, and in 60 it is the number one export. It is
also the main source of foreign exchange for one third
of developing countries and one half of LDCs, where it
can account for up to 40 per cent of GDP.


Despite the significant developmental potential of the
tourism sector, it is also important to recognize that
the sector can generate negative externalities and is
vulnerable to external shocks. Tourism’s high water
and energy requirements may exceed local sustainable
limits and displace other economic and social uses
of limited water and energy supplies. In localities with
fragile ecosystems, tourism’s negative environmental
impacts can be irreversible, stressing the need for the
prevention of negative impacts. Moreover, tourism
activities are extremely vulnerable to external shocks.
The tourism sector’s share of GDP and exports can
easily be affected by decreased demand associated
with global economic slowdowns, epidemics, natural
disasters, political instability and terrorism, which also
calls for associated mitigation measures and social
safety nets for those working in the tourism sector.


a. role aNd
PerFormaNce oF tHe
tourism services
sector iN lesotHo


Since the country gained independence in 1966,
the Government of Lesotho has sought to promote
tourism as a key element of strategies for national
development. This has been underpinned by the
introduction of several tourism development policies
and strategies to support broader efforts to develop
the economy of Lesotho. However, formal tourism
policies for the sector existed only after the second
democratic elections in 1992. Following the formation
of the Lesotho National Tourism Development Plan


in 1994, which focused on the social and economic
development potential of tourism in the country, the
Lesotho National Tourism Policy (Tourism Policy 2001)
was formulated by the tourism sector in partnership
with stakeholders from NGOs, the private sector and
civil society.64 Thereafter, the Government of Lesotho
began a tourism strategic planning process in 2006
which dealt with inter alia the development of tourism
development zones and an enhanced institutional
framework for the entire sector.65 In 2007 the LTDC
developed a national tourism strategy (Lesotho 2010
Tourism Strategy: Towards 2020) as part of efforts
to remove obstacles hampering the development
of the sector and to enable the tourism sector to
reach its full potential.66 This has included efforts to
promote Lesotho as “high-mountain Africa”, offering
unique culture, adventure, pure air, water and scenery
associated with the mountainous topography of the
country.xxxiii


Today, Lesotho’s broad tourism sector is comprised
of a number of subsectors including accommodation
(hotels, lodges, casinos, self-catering facilities, bed and
breakfast facilities and village stay accommodation)
national parks and reserves, ecotourism, cultural
heritage, outdoor activities, routes and tours.67 These
subsectors can be broadly categorized into the
following three segments:


• Ecotourism, adventure tourism, health tourism,
and cultural heritage;


• Business travel;


• Leisure (including holidays to non-traditional desti-
nations).


Ecotourism, in particular, represents an important
subsector for Lesotho in the international tourist
market. Already, up to 20  per cent of the country’s
international tourist arrivals fall within the ecotourism
segment. The development of ecotourism is
considered to be particularly beneficial from an
economic development perspective, given that the
subsector tends to be dominated by small-scale,
community-led tourism operations. At the same time,
given the country’s cultural traditions and its variety
of unique natural features, it is well placed to offer
events-based tourism services focused on adventure,
cultural and lifestyle events.68


In addition, the business tourism segment has been
identified as an area in which there is great potential
for Lesotho to enhance its tourism services offerings.
In this respect, the Government of Lesotho has




49CHAPTER V: Tourism services secTor


already prioritized efforts to promote Maseru as a
destination for government meetings and multilateral
engagements, conferences and business meetings.69
Capacity within Lesotho to host conferences and
business meetings has grown steadily in recent years,
and the country now boasts a total of 13 conference
venues, with many hotels offering conference facilities.
The country also boasts one convention centre, the
Manthabiseng Convention Centre, owned by the
Ministry of Tourism, Environment and Culture (MTEC),
which can host a total of 1,160 people in four different
halls. Government workshops and conferences are
already a major source of income for hotels in Lesotho.
Indeed, in the case of the majority of the hotels in the
country, 90–95 per cent of their business is generated
through the hosting of government workshops and
conferences.70 These workshops and conferences
have become “easy cash cows” for tourism enterprises
given that they do not need to source the business
and the business is considered to be fairly predictable
on a seasonal basis.71


1. the contribution of tourism
services to the national
economy


Tourism has significant potential to contribute
meaningfully to economic growth and generate
employment opportunities in Lesotho. In terms of the
latter, the labour-intensive nature of the sector means
that it can create many direct and indirect jobs. In this
regard, the tourism sector is well-placed to impact
positively on poverty reduction and the empowerment
of women.72 In this respect, the development of
tourism can result in a number of “pro-poor effects”
that contribute to poverty alleviation. For instance,
the development of tourism in the country can result
in economic gains associated with the creation of full
or part-time employment opportunities, or, through
the development of income-generating opportunities,
for SMEs to boost sales of tourism-related products
to tourism businesses or tourists.73 Furthermore, the
development of tourism-related infrastructure can bring
about improvements in areas such as the quality of road
infrastructure and accessibility to remote areas, access
to potable water and access to health care facilities.


Similarly, the importance of the sector from a rural
development perspective cannot be underestimated.
Niche tourism products such as cultural tourism and
ecotourism can serve as income-generating activities


for youths, migrant workers and individuals based
in remote rural areas.74 The expansion of tourism
in the country through investments in major hotel
developments in both urban and rural areas has
already meant that the sector represents an important
source of job opportunities and employment for the
Basotho people.75 By 2021, it is estimated that the
contribution of travel and tourism to employment in
Lesotho, including jobs both directly and indirectly
supported by the sector, will account for 5.9 per cent
of total employment in the country.76 Taken together, it
is clear that the tourism sector can play an important
role in advancing efforts to reach the targets enshrined
in the MDGs.


At the same time, the high share of SMEs in Lesotho’s
tourism sector is important from a national economic
development perspective. Indeed, in comparison
with other sectors (commercial farming, finance,
agro-processing, industry, manufacturing and retail)
the tourism sector boasts a relatively high proportion
of SMEs – which are estimated to account for
approximately 55 per cent of the enterprises operating
in the sector.77


Despite this potential, a number of areas have been
identified as requiring further attention in order to boost
the contribution of the sector to the national economy.
These include the need to distinguish Lesotho from
key competitor destinations, develop new tourism
products and diversify the country’s tourism product
base. These are seen as important elements in efforts
to increase the length of stay of tourists in the country
and induce a higher level of tourist expenditure per
visitor. More generally, it has also been noted that there
is a need to create an enabling environment for rapid
tourism growth, improve visitor access to and within
Lesotho, and establish appropriate policy, planning,
and legal frameworks to manage the tourism sector
in the country.


It has been argued that the expansion of the sector is
currently affected by the presence of anti-competitive
practices. These include the monopolization of
the hotel market by government workshops and
conferences, the marketing of tourism products that
actually do not exist or have no effective management,
and inconsistencies in licensing that have seen some
tourist properties being licensed that are not yet ready
to serve tourists.78 Furthermore, the limited access of
players within the tourism sector to travel distribution
systems, such as information technology, has been
highlighted as a potential constraint to growth. In this




50 SERVICES POLICY REVIEW: LESOthO


respect, previous studies have shown that relatively
few tourism enterprises operating in the country have
a website (22 per cent in 2004) or use email (49 per
cent).79 These levels of usage of information technology
are “very low for an industry that is increasingly relying
upon such technologies for exposure, bookings and
general marketing”.80 Finally, despite the strategic
importance of the tourism sector from an economic
development perspective, it has been argued that, to
date, due to limitations in infrastructure development,
developing countries are sometimes not able to fully
capitalize on the potential of its tourism sector.81 These
limitations include poor quality of the road infrastructure
leading to the tourist sites, and inconsistency in basic
services such as electricity and water.


2. economic performance
of the tourism services
sector


Back in 2007, the Government of Lesotho – through
the MTEC – acknowledged that the contribution of the
tourism sector to national GDP could be improved and
that there had been stagnation in the growth of the
sector due to the reality that Lesotho had not managed
to fully capitalize on its abundant tourism assets
(which include natural resources, great potential for
outdoor activities and the rich Basotho culture). The
performance of the sector in Lesotho has also been
constrained by limited progress in diversifying source
markets for tourist arrivals, with the country continuing
to rely heavily on the South African market.82


Moreover, in global terms, Lesotho ranks poorly
in the World Economic Forum Travel and Tourism
Competitiveness Index. Specifically, Lesotho was
ranked in a low 135th position out of 139 countries in
the Forum’s 2011 Index,83 with the travel and tourism
sectors in the majority of the other African LDCs
outperforming the sector in Lesotho. Indeed, only
Mauritania, Burundi, Angola and Chad were ranked
below Lesotho in the Index. Lesotho ranked 26th out
of 30 countries on the regional Index for sub-Saharan
Africa.84


Nevertheless, the tourism services sector is already
an important contributor to GDP in Lesotho. Between
2009 and 2011, the total monetary contribution of
the travel and tourism sector in Lesotho exceeded M
1 billion. This was primarily driven by activities in the
hotels, travel agents, and airline and other passenger
transportation services industries.85


Growth rates in the contribution of the tourism services
sector to national GDP have fluctuated significantly in
recent years, expanding considerably in some years
and contracting in others. In general, these growth rates
fluctuated most significantly between 2005 and 2007
and began to stabilize from 2008 onwards. This volatility
stemmed primarily from sharp fluctuations in the numbers
of visitors to Lesotho over this period and, correspondingly,
significant differences in the income generated. Hospitality
and good quality services have been highlighted as key
contributory factors to the stabilisation and growth in
the sector since 2008. However, according to the World
Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC), in comparison with
competing tourist destinations in Africa, Lesotho lagged
behind nine other African countries (South Africa, Kenya,
the United Republic of Tanzania, Senegal, Namibia,
Botswana, Zimbabwe, Swaziland, and the Gambia)
and the world average in terms of the contribution of the
sector to GDP.86


Much of the revenue that Lesotho derives from the
tourism sector stems from international tourists
visiting Lesotho for overnight stays. Revenue
from international overnight visitors has increased
significantly since 2005, expanding from M 131 million
in 2005 to an estimated M 336  million in 2011.87
The substantial rise in revenue from international
visitor arrivals points to a rapidly expanding tourism
economy in Lesotho.88


Table  13 highlights the trends in international tourist
arrivals in Lesotho in 2009 and 2010 by specific source
markets. Currently, South Africans dominate the influx
of international tourist visitors to Lesotho. From 2007–
2008, 85–90  per cent of foreign visitors to Lesotho
were South African.89 This is unsurprising given the fact
that Lesotho is wholly enclosed within South Africa,
with easy access via rail, road or air from South Africa
into Lesotho. Other leading source markets for foreign
visitors to Lesotho are Botswana, China, France,
Germany, the Netherlands, Swaziland, the United
Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and
the United States of America.90 However, while tourist
arrivals from South Africa continue to increase, rising by
approximately 30 per cent in 2010, arrivals from almost
all other countries declined in 2010.91


Turning to employment within the tourism sector,
according to the WTTC, in 2010 the total contribution of
travel and tourism to employment in Lesotho (both direct
and indirect) was approximately 36,000. In financial
terms, the total contribution is estimated to have grown
from M 5.7 million in 2005 to M 15.2 million in 2009.




51CHAPTER V: Tourism services secTor


The WTTC also states that in 2011 the travel and
tourism sector in Lesotho is expected to generate up
to 14,000 direct jobs. This expansion is expected to
be driven by employment in hotels, travel agencies,
airlines and other passenger transportation services,
restaurants and leisure industries. However, there
remain gaps in skills within the existing workforce that
could serve to constrain future growth in employment.
These include shortages of skills required in the
catering and hospitality industries, in areas such as tour
guides, in front office operations, facility management
and the operation of niche tourism activities such as
ecotourism and sports tourism.92


The accommodation industry is an important source
of employment within the broad tourism sector. In
2008, a total of 2,195 people were employed in the
accommodation industry in Lesotho, with 73 per cent
of these employed in hotels, followed by 15.8  per
cent and 11.2  per cent employed in lodges and


other types of accommodation establishments,
respectively.93 This total figure increased to 2,626 in
2009. This was, however, followed by a 5.6 per cent
decline in employment in Lesotho’s accommodation
industry in 2010, with the number of people employed
in accommodation establishments declining to 2,480.


3. trends in trade and
investment in the tourism
services sector


In nominal terms, the value of visitor exports in Lesotho
is expected to reach M 338.6 million in 2011 and is
forecast to triple by 2021 to M 950.9 million.94 There
has, however, been significant variation in the growth
rates of visitor exports since 2005. Specifically, visitor
exports contracted in 2005 (by 41.3 per cent), 2008
(by 40.9 per cent) and 2010 (by 13.5 per cent).95 The
contractions in 2008 and 2010 may have stemmed


Rank (2010) Country 2009 2010 Difference Percentage change


1 South Africa 302 655 390 849 +88 194 29.1


2 Other Europe 5 832 4 582 -1 250 -21.4


3 Germany 5 017 4 425 -592 -11.8


4 Netherlands 4 257 3 886 -371 -8.7


5 United Kingdom 4 620 3 826 -794 -17.2


6 Zimbabwe 4 513 3 819 -694 -15.4


7 United States of America 3 212 3 077 -135 -4.2


8 Other Africa 2 349 2 319 -30 -1.3


9 Other Asia 2 772 2 210 -562 -20.3


10 Botswana 2 060 1 922 -138 -6.7


11 China 2 233 1 596 -637 -28.5


12 Swaziland 1 406 874 -532 -37.8


13 Zambia 806 707 -99 -12.3


14 Canada 805 662 -143 -17.8


15 Malawi 430 333 -97 -22.6


16 India 256 285 +29 11.3


17 Other America 105 168 +63 60


18 Taiwan, Province of China 145 132 -13 -89


19 Middle East 177 70 -107 -60.5


Table 13. International tourist arrivals in Lesotho by country of residence, 2009 and 2010


Source: Lesotho Tourism Development Corporation, Department of Research and Development (2010).




52 SERVICES POLICY REVIEW: LESOthO


from the adverse effects of the global economic crisis
on the volume of global tourist travel. In contrast,
growth was strongest in 2009, when visitor exports
grew by 58.2 per cent.96 Lesotho’s estimated growth
rate of visitor exports for 2011 is 4.3 per cent and this
is forecast to reach 5.8 per cent by 2021.97


Turning to investment, FDI in the form of major hotels
and smaller resorts developed by foreign investors
and operated in Lesotho by local residents has made
an important contribution to economic development,
both by expanding the availability of holiday
accommodation and by generating employment. This
has seen foreign participation reach significant levels
in certain segments of the tourism sector in Lesotho.
For example, most major hotel developments within
both urban (for example, the two Sun International
hotels) and rural (for example, small resort-type hotels)
areas involve foreign capital. Recent investments also
include the M 45  million South Africa-owned Afriski
resort in the north-east of the country, as well as
the luxury Maliba mountain lodge in the Tselanyanne
National Park.98


From 2006, the number of new entrants to the
accommodation industry in Lesotho increased, but
this growth has been confined mostly to the capital
city of Maseru.99 This has been driven primarily by
growth each year in the number of other types of
accommodation establishments outside that of
traditional hotels and lodges. In contrast, the number
of hotels in Lesotho has remained unchanged since
2008, suggesting that no new investments had been
made in this component of the accommodation
industry.100 Furthermore, the last new lodge was
established in 2009.101 As of 2010, there were a total
of 137 accommodation establishments in Lesotho.
This figure was comprised of 20 hotels, 23 lodges and
94 other types of accommodation establishments.


Looking ahead, reforms to the regulatory framework
governing the tourism sector have been identified
as a key area requiring attention. Collaborative
efforts involving multiple stakeholders – including the
MTEC, Ministry of Local Government, communities
and the private sector – are looking to improve the
accessibility of the tourism sector to both domestic
and foreign investors. These efforts will focus on
the development of an investor-friendly investment
framework and concessions to attract and sustain
the necessary investment levels. Furthermore, the
Government of Lesotho has resolved to support
tourism development through the creation of guidelines


and parameters for mutually beneficial partnerships
between big businesses, small businesses and local
communities.102


Lesotho’s tourism strategy up to the year 2020 makes
additional suggestions in lieu of changes that are
required within the regulatory environment governing
the sector. These include the need to review and
evaluate the Tourism Act and accommodate changes
to the Act where necessary. Essentially, this is intended
to ensure that the Act remains aligned with Lesotho’s
new tourism strategy and speaks to responsible
tourism growth in the country. In this respect, it has
been suggested that there is a need for existing
licensing procedures and practices in the tourism
sector to be simplified and harmonized. Furthermore,
the development of an appropriate regulatory
framework for tour operations in the country has been
identified by the Government as a necessity.103


The Government of Lesotho has prioritized a number
of areas in which improvements are required in order
to boost trade and investment within the tourism
sector and ensure that the sector serves as a catalyst
for economic growth and development in Lesotho.
These include the following:


• Upgrading skills in the sector and supporting edu-
cation to provide necessary technical and voca-
tional training;


• Creating an enabling environment for private sec-
tor investment, particularly with respect to basic
infrastructure (road, electricity, communication and
water) and providing appropriate incentives;


• Developing sustainable tourism;xxxiv


• Introducing new regulations such as limits on
foreign ownership, requirements for training and
development of local staff, and reforming require-
ments with respect to land ownership.


4. linkages with other
sectors


The tourism sector in Lesotho already boasts a
number of linkages with other economic sectors
(figure  15). The sector has backward linkages
with basic infrastructure services such as energy,
telecommunications and environmental services, and
agricultural, manufacturing and construction services.


In turn, forward linkages have been established with
sectors supplying services that are consumed by
tourists such as financial, telecommunications, retail,




53CHAPTER V: Tourism services secTor


recreational, cultural, personal, hospitality, security
and health services.104 In this respect, tourism services
make up a crucial component of the country’s overall
policy of economic diversification,105 particularly with
respect to the sector’s potential role in creating value
chains in other sectors.106


Despite these existing linkages, there is still room
to extend linkages with Lesotho’s other economic
sectors. In cases where linkages between tourism and
other sectors in Lesotho remain weak, there is a need
for government policies to focus on stimulating the
development of supply capacity in national markets
and the availability and further development of tourism-
supporting infrastructure (airports, ports, roads
and hospitals) and quality basic services (financial,
telecommunications, water, energy, sanitation and
health services). It has been argued that only when
suppliers of tourism services have appropriate access
to these inputs will they be in a position to offer tourism
products at more competitive prices.107


In order to strengthen the relationship between tourism
and other economic sectors, the linkages at regional
level would have to be prioritized. Lesotho can benefit
significantly from tourists that visit South Africa and
other countries within the Southern African region, and
include a visit to Lesotho during the course of their trips.


Several institutional and regulatory frameworks
currently exist at the regional level with a view
to establishing a positive environment for the
development of the tourism sector and enhance the
regional attractiveness to investment. For instance,
the Regional Tourism Organization of Southern Africa
was established to promote and market the SADC
region as a tourism destination.


In addition, the regional agenda under the SADC
Protocol on Tourism seeks to enhance cooperation
among member states in tourism education policy,
training institutions and standards. A requirement
also exists to create a unified system of collection and
analysis of tourism statistical data, based on guidelines
established by the World Tourism Organization. The
SADC Protocol on Tourism also indicates that member
states shall create a regional tourism research and
statistics and information exchange network, and
individually or jointly undertake product development
and diversification initiatives through private and
public sector cooperation with a view to enriching
the region’s product range. However, it appears that
several regional initiatives (such as the ones mentioned
before or the harmonization of standards for providers)
have not been fully implemented to date. Prioritizing
the regional path to leverage tourism development will
require additional concerted efforts within SADC.


Figure 15. Existing linkages between the tourism sector and other economic sectors


TourismConstruction


Agriculture


Fishing


Food
Processing


Furniture
manufacturing Utilities:


• Internet
• Electricity
• Phone


Transport


Infrastructure


Crafts,
Microfinance,
Entertainment


Services:
• Beauty
• Massage
• Security


Source: Lesotho SPR first National Stakeholder Workshop, 28–29 September 2011.




54 SERVICES POLICY REVIEW: LESOthO


b. iNveNtory oF
legislatioN,
regulatioNs,
iNstitutioNs aNd
Policy measures


Lesotho has always recognized the potential for
tourism development to have a positive effect on
overall economic development. This is why there has
been a policy or a plan on tourism since 1973, when
the Development Plan for Tourism for the Kingdom
of Lesotho was developed and carried out between
September 1973 and February 1974. Following this first
policy, many tourism-related acts were promulgated,
such as the Lotteries Act, the Betting Control Act
and the Casino Act. This first policy was revised and
amended in 1994 with the support of the European
Union. This was, in part, because of the dismantling
of apartheid in South Africa and the resultant surge in
inflows of tourists into this country. There was a need
to revise how Lesotho could position itself to benefit
from the change of events. The Accommodation,
Catering and Tourism Establishment Act was enacted
three years later to encourage the establishment of
tourism enterprises. Policy revision came again when
the National Tourism Policy was formulated in 2000 by
the then Ministry of Tourism, Sports and Culture, with
technical assistance from the United Nations World
Tourism Organization (UNWTO). There was a marked
shift in policy towards guarding against the possible
negative consequences of tourism development.
This objective was buttressed by the enactment of
the Environment Act (2008), which seeks to avoid
environmental degradation as a consequence of
tourism development.


1. tourism legislation


accommodation, catering and tourism
enterprises act No. 13 of 1997


The Act provides for the regulation of accommodation,
catering and other tourism enterprises. It makes it an
offence for a person to carry out an accommodation,
catering or tourism enterprise without a licence from
the Accommodation, Catering and Tourism Board.
The Act is in the process of being overhauled with
the main objective of dismantling the Board, because
its licensing procedure is too cumbersome and not
cost effective. The Board travels from district to
district dealing with licensing issues and meets for


several days on a quarterly basis. The idea is to
replace the board with an official at the One-Stop
Business Facilitation Centre (OBFC) housed in
the MTICM. However, steps to begin the changes
are still in the preliminary stages and the MTEC is
undertaking further investigations on the modalities
to be adopted.


Another reason for seeking the overhaul of the Act
is that its provisions inhibit tourism development.
Its requirements for compliant accommodation,
for example, are too inflexible and detailed. The
requirements prescribe the precise structure of
buildings, their size, layout and even furnishings
that accommodation has to have in order to qualify
for a licence under the Act. They do not leave it
up to investors to choose their own designs
and architecture and this is both unreasonable
and unnecessary and may discourage potential
investors. Furthermore, the new Act that will replace
the current one will accommodate a grading system
that, it is hoped, will encourage more visitors to the
country. A consultant was engaged and the Grading
Manual has been compiled and is awaiting final
approval before it can be implemented.


tourism act No. 4 of 2002


The Act was passed to provide for the promotion and
development of the tourism industry. It establishes
the LTDC and provides for its duties. However,
the problem with the activities that the LTDC has
been tasked with is that they are too numerous and
also some are better suited to be executed by the
MTEC as the policy-making body. For example,
the Ministry, and not LTDC, should develop the
National Tourism Plan. The LTDC role should be to
implement the plan in its role as implementing arm
of the Ministry.


To develop tourism services in the country, section 24
allows the Minister of MTEC, in consultation with the
Minister of Local Government, to designate certain
areas as tourism development areas (TDAs). These
areas are then subject to planning restrictions and
may enjoy financial assistance in the form of grants,
loans or exemptions. These areas are meant to house
projects providing tourist amenities, preservation of
sites of cultural significance, or the promotion of cultural
activities. This is an inducement that is meant to lure
developers into taking advantage of the incentives in
order to develop tourism in the country. Areas have
been identified in Maseru, Katse and Mohale, the




55CHAPTER V: Tourism services secTor


LHWP dams, Mahlasela, Malealea, Semonkong,
Sehlabathebe National Park, Quthing, Sani Top and the
King Moshoeshoe Historical Route (figure 16).


The TDAs have experienced mixed success. For
example, at Mahlasela a ski resort has been built, but
although other investors have expressed the desire to
build a spa and conference centre in the area further
development has not been forthcoming. This is due in
part to the inability of investors to secure credit from
their banks to invest in the area due to the fact that they
only hold subleases and not leases of the land where
they propose to develop. Very few tourist facilities
have been established in both Katse and Mohale.
With the help of the Private Sector Competitiveness
and Economic Diversification Project (PSCEDP), the
Sehlabathebe National Park has been developed but
is awaiting management. Thaba Bosiu, in the King
Moshoeshoe Historical Route, has very impressive
tourism structures but is still lying unopened and
unused while management is sought. Most TDAs
are selected on the basis of scenic beauty and
environmental surroundings as well as the potential
for certain tourism activities. However, a problem
that arises when it comes to attracting investment in
these areas is that often they are in places which lack
access to roads, water or power. Therefore, although
the interest may be there, without the supporting
infrastructure, development does not take place.


tourism (amendment) act No. 1 of
2006


The Tourism Act was amended to clarify the relationship
between the Ministry and the LTDC, as well as to make
provision for the creation of a Tourism Development
Fund. The Fund was envisioned as a pool for levies from
tourism enterprises to be deposited for use in tourism
development in Lesotho. However, despite the statutory
provision, the Fund has still not been created to date.


2. tourism-related legislation


the Historical monuments, relics,
Fauna and Flora act No. 41 of 1967


This is a very outdated Act which was meant to provide
for the protection and preservation of monuments,
relics, antiques, fauna and flora. The Act is currently
in the process of being repealed to make way for a
new law which will be called the Heritage Resources
Act. Its function will be to protect sites with heritage
significance in order to protect the heritage of Basotho.


the Pioneer industries encouragement
act No. 19 of 1969


The purpose of the Act is to, inter alia, provide tax
incentives for hotel and casino-keepers establishing or
expanding their operations in Lesotho.” It creates the


Figure 16. Tourism development areas in Lesotho


Source: Tourism Masterplan, 2007.




56 SERVICES POLICY REVIEW: LESOthO


Pioneer Industries Board whose function is to grant
such approvals. Applicants for hotels and casinos must
be Lesotho companies or cooperatives seeking to
establish or expand an undertaking. Approved hotels
and casinos are eligible to make certain tax deductions.
These fiscal incentives could thus contribute positively
to the development of hotels and casinos in Lesotho for
the good of the tourism industry.


lotteries act No. 10 of 1975


The Act regulates the conduct of state as well as private
lotteries. The Minister of Finance and Development
Planning is empowered to conduct state lotteries.
The Minister may also issue licences to promoters to
establish and conduct private lotteries.


betting control act No. 21 of 1975


The Act regulates totalizatorsxxxv and bookmakers.xxxvi
They are regulated by the Minister of Finance and
Development Planning. The Ministry is looking into
combining the provisions of the Lotteries Act and of
the Betting Control Act into a single piece of legislation,
because the areas are similar and thus it is felt that there
is no need to have multiple legislation on related activities.


the basotho enterprises development
corporation act No. 9 of 1980


The Act established BEDCO to promote the
development of Basotho-owned enterprises and of
indigenous entrepreneurial skills. It can play a role in
tourism development by equipping local people and
SMEs to start and expand tourism enterprises.


casino order No. 4 of 1989


The Act provides for the management, control and
licensing of casinos. It established the Casino Board
which issues, amends, renews, suspends and revokes
licences.


lesotho National development
corporation order No. 13 of 1990


The Lesotho National Development Corporation
(LNDC) primarily concentrates on the promotion
of industrial investment and development, mostly
through FDI. However, the Corporation also has a role
in tourism development.


liquor licensing act No. 8 of 1998


The MTEC is planning to halt its liquor licensing and to have
such establishments licensed by the MTICM because


the Ministry finds the issue of liquor licensing to not be
central to its mandate. The MTEC wishes the MTICM to
reciprocate by ceasing its licensing of tour operators and
tour guides and transferring such duty to the MTEC, since
it is more in line with its sphere of influence.


environment act No. 10 of 2008


This is an Act “to make provision for the protection and
management of the environment and conservation
and the sustainable utilization of natural resources of
Lesotho”. The Act establishes the National Environment
Council to set policies and priorities for environmental
protection, on the recommendations of the Minister,
and to ensure the harmonization of cross-sectoral plans
and policies as well as the coordination of ministries,
the private sector and other organizations engaged
in environmental programmes. The Environment
Coordinating Committee is to focus on ensuring that
coordination takes place between ministries and other
organizations, and that procedures exist for prompt
consultation and information sharing. Every ministry
is to have an environmental unit in-house with the
responsibility of ensuring that the line ministries comply
with the Act. A National Environment Action Plan
is to be devised every five years to form the basis of
environment planning and programmes. The structure
that is created in the Act is very impressive and touches
all the bases to ensure that coordination and efficiency
is achieved. However, none of the entities that have
been created under the Act exist in practice. The MTEC
must prioritize the implementation of these structures if
the goals of the Act are to be attained.


The Act provides that an environmental impact
assessment (EIA), or project brief, shall be undertaken
for tourism projects. Projects are approved if, to the
satisfaction of the Department of Environment (DOE),
the project will not have any significant impact on the
environment.


the land act No. 8 of 2010


The land tenure system is a leasehold system rather
than a freehold system. Leases for residential land
are for thirty years, renewable, while leases for
commercial sites are for sixty years. Allocation of a
commercial site cannot be effected until it has been
considered and recommended by the MTICM. A new
innovation brought about by the Act is that it is now
possible for a foreign national to be allocated a lease
but that requires approval from the Ministry of Local
Government and Chieftainship (MLG).




57CHAPTER V: Tourism services secTor


3. regulations
betting control regulations
No. 5 of 1976
casino regulations No. 146 of 1990
accommodation, catering and
tourism enterprises regulations
No. 4 of 1999
liquor licensing regulations
No. 5 of 1999


The above regulations contain relevant application forms
and fees for the licences required under the governing
Acts. The fees are very low and would not be a hindrance
to potential investors. The trend with accommodation and
liquor establishments is that the regulations differentiate
in fees depending on whether an establishment is in
the rural or urban areas (making it cheaper to run an
establishment in the former). This is supposed to be
an incentive to locate developments in the rural areas
so that rural populations can also potentially benefit
from employment and tourism development. Larger
establishments also have steeper fees.


4. legislative gaps and
inadequacies


A general observation is that Lesotho’s tourism
legislation and regulations are very outdated and
their provisions have not kept pace with industry
developments. Laws that have not been amended
since the 1960s and 1970s cannot meet the demands
of the industry today and do not allow Lesotho to be
competitive in terms of tourism products. Furthermore,
there are some tourism subsectors which are
completely devoid of regulation. These are travel
agencies, tour operator services and tourist guide
services. These are not regulated or licensed by the
MTEC, but instead by the MTICM, even though they
should rightly fall under the supervisory responsibility
of the former Ministry. The MTEC is taking steps
to have these sectors at least brought under their
licensing umbrella in the near future, and to have a law
governing their regulation in the medium term.


The current licensing system also inhibits the operations of
tour operators. The licence does not empower a tour op-
erator to generally operate tours around the country. For
every tour they must be granted a public service licence
from the Ministry of Public Works and Transport (MPWT)
and the licence restricts them to a particular route. This
limits their ability to expand their service delivery. The li-


cence should allow them to generally provide tours follow-
ing different routes according to the needs of their clients.


There is also fragmentation in terms of licensing in some
tourism subsectors, for example, food serving services.
Currently, only restaurants are licensed by the MTEC,
while the smaller food serving establishments, such as
snack bars and refreshment stands, are licensed by other
ministries, such as the MTICM. Therefore, establishments
that should fall under the same sectoral umbrella are sub-
ject to different licensing requirements and procedures.
This fragmentation should be brought to an end by having
all food serving establishments, regardless of their size, li-
censed and regulated under one Act, The Accommoda-
tion, Catering and Tourism Enterprises Act.


Furthermore, there is no policy on the implementation of
community beneficiary programmes by investors to en-
courage them to ensure that tourism activities positively
contribute to the development of the areas in which they
are undertaken. This leads to the potential poverty reduc-
tion impact of tourism development not being fully real-
ized. However, there are some success stories in Lesotho
where partnerships have been formed between opera-
tors and the community, leading to positive results for
both. For example, at Malealea in the Mafeteng district,
the lodge owners use the horses of local people for tour-
ist pony trekking, and hire locals as tour guides to give
local tours. Produce is bought from the local farms and
community homes are used for stopovers during long
treks. A local band entertains guests at the lodge every
evening. The lodge even has a fund that contributes to
projects in the community.108 These types of arrange-
ments might increase and be more effective if there was
a deliberate policy to encourage them. However, the ar-
rangement should not form the subject of any mandatory
requirement as that might have the opposite effect of dis-
couraging investment. Moreover, any such collaboration
should not add to the operating costs of the operator.


The absence of regulations on grading hampers
growth in the sector. If tourism products are to be
effectively marketed then they must be capable of
objective quality assessment, preferably by reference
to international standards. A Grading Manual has
been prepared but is yet to be implemented due to
lack of human resources and the requisite institutional
framework to implement it.


The laws on land ownership in Lesotho have improved
because, in the past, foreign nationals could not own
title to land in Lesotho. This is now possible with
ministerial consent from the MLG. However, this is




58 SERVICES POLICY REVIEW: LESOthO


still not a guarantee to all investors that they will be
given leases in Lesotho. The result is that this poses
an impediment to the attraction of FDI into the tourism
sector because, many times, in order for an investor to
be granted credit by a bank to develop a tourist site, the
bank will want evidence of ownership of the land where
the facility is to be situated. This has been the case with
many potential investors in the Afri-ski resort project in
Mokhotlong who were unable to access financing from
their South African banks because they did not have a
lease, but only a sublease from the MTEC.


Lesotho’s environmental management laws do not
restrict adventure activities within sensitive areas
such as biodiversity. In South Africa, by comparison,
activities such as quad biking are limited to demarcated
areas. In Lesotho tourists engage in such activities in
any place, unrestricted. This has lead to the destruction
of flora and fauna. For example, many tourists enter
Lesotho through the Sani Pass border post in the
KwaZulu-Natal province into Mokhotlong in Lesotho
for adventure sports such as quad biking and off-road
driving. There are no restrictions on the routes that
must be followed and, as a result, some have driven
through wetlands and have destroyed flora, such as the
spiral aloe, which is endemic to Lesotho. Sustainable
tourism development requires the establishment of
environmental protection standards and environmental
impact assessment guidelines. However, no regulations
have been made under the Environment Act on these
issues. Guidelines on EIAs and standards for tourism
activities are only currently being drafted and are at the
very early stages of the drafting exercise.


There are implementation problems when it comes to
enforcing the Liquor Licensing Act. There are many
premises which don’t have licences. The MTEC,
police and the Maseru City Council are responsible for
monitoring compliance with the Act, but lack of funds
hampers such monitoring and inspection. The MTEC
is seeking an amendment to the law, which would
allow the Minister to be empowered to freeze the
issuance of licences for a certain period of time while
they catch up with legitimizing those that are already
operating. It is envisaged that this would also control
the spread of such establishments, a desirable option
given the negative social consequences associated
with them such as under-age and public drinking.


The Tourism Act overburdens the LTDC with too many
functions and also allocates functions to it which
should be in the domain of the MTEC. This has been
the cause of some strife between the two institutions.


The Act at times gives the Corporation functions that
it cannot fulfil, for example section 4(f) of the Act – to
provide, maintain and safeguard employment in the
tourism industry. At best, the LTDC can only facilitate
employment but cannot provide it. The Act should
also not give the Corporation policy-making functions,
as that lies in the domain of the Ministry.


5. institutions


Effective institutions are crucial in encouraging the growth
and development of the tourism sector. Policymaking
institutions must devise sound strategies and the
executing agencies must be equipped to be efficient and
effective in their implementation role. The main institutions
for the tourism sector in Lesotho are the MTEC and the
LTDC. However, there are other institutions which also
play a role in the development of the sector.


the ministry of tourism, environment
and culturexxxvii


A tourism ministry has existed in Lesotho since its
independence in 1966. The current MTEC was gazetted
in 2004 to replace the former Ministry of Tourism, Sports
and Culture. It was allocated M 53.8  million for the
2011/2012 fiscal year. It is the policy-making institution
which is responsible for the creation of an enabling
tourism policy, laws and operating environment. It is
responsible for monitoring the implementation of policies
and strategies by the LTDC, ensuring compliance with
product standards (for example, by inspections of tourism
establishments) and issuing licences to sector operators.
The office for EIA clearance needs to be capacitated in
terms of staffing if it is to be more effective in ensuring
that tourism is developed in an environmentally sensitive
manner. Currently, there are three staff members who
are responsible for reviewing project briefs, issuing
clearances and monitoring projects.


lesotho tourism development
corporationxxxviii


The LTDC was created in 2002 as the executing agency
of the MTEC. The Corporation promotes Lesotho
as a tourist destination. It works to attract tourism
investment, and is involved in product development
to ensure that tourism products are of a standard that
is attractive to tourists. Some of the impediments that
the Corporation faces in being effective in its mandate
include the following:
• There are no tourism-specific incentives to attract


investment in the sector. A reduced income tax rate




59CHAPTER V: Tourism services secTor


of 15 per cent (from 35 per cent) has just been ap-
proved for the tourism industry by the MFDP but has
not as yet been implemented. This makes it difficult
for the Corporation to induce investment into the
sector. The investment incentive framework in man-
ufacturing industries is much more developed and,
hence, has achieved greater success in attracting
investment in comparison with the tourism sector.


• The business climate in general in Lesotho is not
conducive for attracting investors. The coun-
try suffers from problems such as delays in reg-
istering companies, high tax rates and high cost
of credit, which also hampers investment pro-
motion by the LTDC. Table  14 compares the
length of time and cost of starting a business
in Lesotho with that required in South Africa.


Steps to rectify the time and cost impediments
have started with the creation of the OBFC, housed
in the MTICM. The facility brings together officials
from the LRA, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MOHA)
and the Ministry of Labour and Employment to
bring together and deliver a streamlined and inte-
grated suite of business services for enterprises
and investors. In this way the OBFC contributes
to the investment climate, the ease of doing busi-
ness, and the facilitation of increased trade and
investment in Lesotho. The reforms aim at halving
the costs of registering a company and reducing
the process from taking twenty days to one day.


• Infrastructural development is inadequate and the
country is not able to offer investors serviced sites.
Many areas which have the potential for tourism de-
velopment lack access to roads, electricity and com-
munications infrastructure. The problem is further
exacerbated by the fact that there is lack of coordina-
tion by the institutions providing such infrastructure.


• There are other institutions that purport to have a
tourism promotion mandate and they sometimes
encroach upon the work of the LTDC, sometimes
causing duplication of efforts or even hampering
the work of the Corporation. For example, the
LHWP believes that it is solely responsible for pro-
moting tourism in its project areas.


• The Corporation has limited funding. It survives
on government subvention, which generally only
manages to cover the cost of salaries and admin-
istration. This leaves very little income to promote
tourism. The Corporation is expected to raise or
source funds for its activities and it has not always
been successful in doing so. For example, they
have been unable to conduct feasibility studies for
some of the projects they are attempting to sell to
investors and they have been unable to embark
on a branding strategy for marketing purposes.


However, some financial assistance has trickled in.
For example, during the fiscal year 2005/2006, the
Highlands Natural Resource Rural Income Enhance-
ment Project provided funds for LTDC members to
attend to the travel trade show, ITB Berlin, in 2006,
for advertising costs and the cost of some promo-
tional materials. They have also received some as-
sistance from donors such as the African Develop-
ment Bank and the World Bank, but donor support
is generally inadequate to completely bridge the re-
source gap. The Corporation needs technical assis-
tance in fundraising if it is to reach its targeted goals.
A larger allocation from the MTEC would alleviate
resource constraints. The Government should also
provide funding or a large subvention for training/
capacity-building in fundraising so that the corpo-
ration will be more independent. The Corporation
could also consider forming agreements with sec-


Table 14. Starting a business in Lesotho


Procedures Days Cost (GNIpc) Minimum capital Rank (out of 183)


Lesotho 7 40 26.0 12.0 140


South Africa 6 22 6.0 0 75


Source: World Bank (2010).


Figure 17. Share of ownership in Lesotho Sun’s equity


Gol
Sun International
LNDC


36,4%


46,9%


16,7%


Source: Sun International (2011).




60 SERVICES POLICY REVIEW: LESOthO


tor operators for the joint funding of product cam-
paigns. Lastly, the Tourism (Amendment) Act pro-
vides for a tourism levy which is not currently being
charged. If that would be implemented then some
of the proceeds could go towards the Corporation.


• The LTDC has suffered from staff retention problems.
Currently they are operating on a very small staff
complement of 52 staff members, and are unable to
decentralize their operations so that in every district
there could be a tourism information office manned
by tourism officers. These officers would preferably
be placed in every district to ensure that investors
in the districts get immediate support and guidance
and to provide the Corporation with information on
tourist arrivals for statistics and strategic planning
purposes and to organize events in the district.


ministry of local government and
chieftainshipxxxiv


Together with the MTEC, the MLG is involved in the
designation of TDAs to develop certain identified areas
as tourism areas.


lesotho National development
corporationxl


This is a parastatal body established by the LNDC Act of
1967 as amended. It is wholly owned by the Government
of Lesotho and falls under the MTICM. It is primarily
involved in the promotion of manufacturing industries
to develop Lesotho’s economy. Its role is to promote
Lesotho as an attractive investment location for both
foreign and indigenous investors. Its mandate does not
exclude involvement in tourism development. The most
prominent role it is playing is in its stake in the Lesotho
Sun Hotel and Casino. The Government (through the
MFDP) has a share in the hotel and a representative of
the Government sits on the board of the hotel. Figure 17
shows that the Government possesses 36.4 per cent
of Lesotho Sun’s equity, and another 16.7  per cent
belongs to the LNDC. A further 46.9 per cent is owned
by the South African company Sun International.


basotho enterprises development
corporationxli


This is a parastatal body under the MTICM. It was created
by the BEDCO Act of 1980 and currently operates
with a staff complement of 112. It primarily promotes
indigenous businesses and entrepreneurship skills. It
has an informal cooperative arrangement with the LTDC.
However, BEDCO’s services are general for all types


of industries and they do not have any programmes
or projects specifically targeting the tourism industry.
Their impact on tourism growth and development has
therefore been minimal. This has been the case because
BEDCO does not want to appear to be competing with
the LTDC, but merely supporting it. However, much
more use could potentially be made of this partnership
by creating tourism-specific training in line with the
tourism development plans of the MTEC. A written
memorandum of understanding should be agreed upon
to ensure collaboration and not encroachment upon the
LTDC’s activities. Adding a tourism dimension would not
necessarily detract from BEDCO’s other projects.


various industry associations


There are various associations in each tourism
subsector, for example:


• Hotel and Hospitality Association;
• Lesotho Restaurants and Liquor Association;
• Tour Operators Association;
• Caterers Association.


the lesotho council for tourism (lct)


This was created as an umbrella body of the above as-
sociations and to be a mouthpiece of the industry. It was
created in 1996 to represent individual sector operators as
well as the associations. Its goal was to contribute to the
growth and expansion of the tourism industry in Lesotho.
However, since its inception, the LCT has been fraught
with legitimacy issues. The private sector did not like its
top-down approach. It was viewed as government trying
to organize the private sector whereas the private sector
wanted to organize itself. The Council became ineffective
in representing the private sector and rallying cooperation
between the Government, operators and communities for
tourism development. It lay dormant until the World Bank,
through the PSCEDP, attempted to resuscitate it. Howev-
er, the attempts failed and currently the Council is inactive.


It is recommended that the associations themselves
should spearhead the creation of a new LCT that will
meet their needs and expectations. Such a Council is
needed to improve the dialogue of the private sector
with the government. The MTEC and LTDC must
know the challenges on the ground before they can
devise and implement strategies to grow the sector.
The Council is also necessary to lobby financial
institutions to provide credit to operators and lobby
other relevant institutions to create more favourable
business conditions and incentives for investors.




61CHAPTER V: Tourism services secTor


Private sector competitiveness and
economic diversification Projectxlii


The PSCEDP is a project funded by the World Bank
which began in 2007 and is set to end in June of
2013. Its objective is to stimulate the participation of
the private sector in economic development. Any role
it plays in tourism development must be instigated by
a request from the MTEC or the LTDC.


The role of the PSCEDP in tourism development can
be described as follows:
• Developed the Sehlabathebe National Park con-


cession manual;
• Established an online booking system (www.trav-


el-lesotho.com);xliii


• Assists tourism sector operators with investment
promotion;


• Engaged a consultant to help MTEC develop a
tourism strategic plan, as yet unimplemented. It
aims to actualize the contents of the National Tour-
ism Policy.


• Engaged a consultant who will help with the imple-
mentation of the grading system;


• Will help MTEC automate its licensing system and
link it with the OBFC.


Operators are also helped directly (for example,
through the LEAP or for funding to attend training).


6. Policy measures


National tourism Policy


Lesotho has a National Tourism Policy that dates
back to December 2000. It was formulated with
technical assistance from the UNWTO. The key
objectives of tourism development are provided as
being poverty alleviation, employment creation and
economic growth.


areas of effectiveness


The Policy realizes the importance of buy-in from the
private sector and members of communities in and
around the country if it is to be successful. The Gov-
ernment’s role is to be that of a facilitator, coordinator,
regulator and monitor of tourism and is to stimulate
and promote the industry, while the role of the private
sector is to drive tourism growth and development.


There is a strong thread throughout the Policy of
avoidance of mass tourism in place of quality tourism.
The strategy is to attract tourism but not to the detriment


of the culture and values of the people and of the
environment. It contains the catchphrase “tourism that
is sustainable and responsible”. The Policy recognizes
not only the economic but also social and environmental
objectives of tourism growth and expansion. The Policy
prioritizes the promotion of both domestic as well as
foreign tourism. Tourism cannot grow sustainably if it is
wholly dependent on foreign tourists.


There is also focus given to tourism for the economic
upliftment of the poor, especially the marginalized
unskilled, rural communities and women in tourism
initiatives. This is in recognition of the country’s particular
economic structure, in which most of the population
inhabit the rural areas, the majority are women and
they tend to be unskilled or semi-skilled. There is thus
a direct correlation between the Policy and practical
challenges that can be observed on the ground.


There are stipulations that Lesotho should partner with
South Africa and other neighbouring states in tourism
development; for example, to eliminate delaying and
cumbersome border procedures. Because of the inter-
connectedness of today’s world, tourism development
can never take place in isolation. The LRA and its South
African counterpart, the South African Revenue Service,
meet on a regular basis to discuss border impediments
and possible cooperation to reduce them.


areas of weakness


The Policy does not address some of the other
potential negative social costs of tourism, for
example, sex tourism. It also ignores the potential
for regional tourism opportunities. The policy does
not tackle the problem of the mushrooming of similar
types of establishments offering the same types
of services, thereby compromising diversification.
Furthermore, it is somewhat limited in its scope of the
notion of tourism. For example, it concentrates more
on cultural tourism (that is, tourists coming to enjoy
the culture and historical resources of the country) and
sports tourism (such as the High Altitude Sports Training
Centre) but not other types of tourism, such as medical
tourism, which are also potential areas for development.
South Africa has spearheaded the development of
medical tourism in the region. Tourists can combine
medical and cosmetic procedures with activities such
as safaris. Lesotho should also consider marketing
itself as a destination for receiving medical treatment
within a serene environment for recuperation and other
tourism activities. However, it will have to address issues
such as the upgrading of hospitals and clinics, building




62 SERVICES POLICY REVIEW: LESOthO


medical facilities in vacation settings, and securing the
international accreditation of medical professionals.


In addition to this broad policy framework, there is
an urgent need to implement the Tourism Strategic
Development Plan. Tourism developments that have
taken place in Lesotho have been largely uncontrolled
and with little consideration of how they fit into the
overall framework.


c. regulatioN oF sector
oPerators


There are some instances where regulation may hinder
operations to the detriment of sectoral growth.


1. laws and regulations on
licensing activities


accommodation, catering and tourism
services


The Accommodation, Catering and Tourism Enterprises
Board issues licences for these establishments.
The Board travels throughout the districts to deal
with licensing applications. There are no corporate
restrictions or requirements that the licensee be
locally incorporated. Licences are transferable and
may be suspended or terminated. The Board also
investigates and determines complaints relating to
licences and recommends minimum requirements for
establishments to the Minister of the MTEC.


establishments selling alcoholic
beverages


They are licensed by the Liquor Licensing Board. The
applicant must be a holder of a licence under the
Accommodation, Catering and Tourism Enterprises
Act. The licence is valid for one year from the date of
issue and may be cancelled by the Board.


casinos


An application for authorization to establish and
operate a casino is made to the Casino Board.
There is a restriction that the applicant may only be
a company. Approval for authorization is dependent
upon proof that the applicant has the requisite financial
means to develop the casino industry in Lesotho
and that the directors are persons of integrity. After
authorization, the applicant applies for a licence. It
is provided that no person shall be granted a casino
licence for slot machines unless that person operates


a hotel with not less than 100 accommodation units
and, furthmore, that no person shall be granted a
casino licence for slot machines and tables unless
the person operates a hotel with not less than 200
accommodation units. This appears to be rather
arbitrary and unnecessarily restrictive. Complaints
concerning authorizations and licences are to be
directed to the Minister of MTEC. The applicant
may also apply for a review of the decision of the
Board or of the Minister before the High Court within
thirty days of the decision. Where authorization and
licence has been granted, it shall be valid for a period
of ten years. Authorizations and licences are not
transferable and either may be revoked by the Board.


lotteries


Tenders are published for the issuance of a licence to
run a private lottery. Not more than one licence can
be issued for a non-state lottery at any one time. The
Minister of the MTEC may approve the renewal for a
period not exceeding 24 months from the date of ex-
piry. Subsequent renewals may be applied for under
the same conditions. The Minister may impose any
conditions on the licence holder “as he deems fit” as
well as stipulate what fees are to be paid. The Minister
may revoke a licence should a promoter fail to comply
with any stipulated condition.


betting


Licences are issued by the Minister of Finance and
Development Planning. Licences are valid for periods
stipulated on the licence and are not transferable within
their validity period. The Minister may revoke such
licences. The governing act is overly prescriptive and
tedious and may deter participation in the business,
especially of small scale operators. More flexibility
should be considered in the reporting requirements.


all tourism establishments


It is an offence for a person to carry out an activity
listed in the first schedule to the Environment Act
unless the person has received EIA clearance from the
DOE. All licensing authorities in Lesotho are prohibited
from issuing a licence in respect of such activities
without the applicant proving they have obtained
such clearance. This means, for example, that a
hotel cannot be licensed under the Accommodation,
Catering and Tourism Enterprises Act unless the
hotelier submits to the Accommodation, Catering and
Tourism Enterprises Board proof of EIA clearance.




63CHAPTER V: Tourism services secTor


A developer applying for an environmental impact
assessment licence must conduct an EIA study and
submit the findings in the form of an environmental
impact statement to the DOE and relevant line min-
istry. The study should highlight, inter alia, the envi-
ronmental impacts of the project and measures to
mitigate anticipated adverse effects. The statement is
laid open for public inspection and the DOE may invite
public comments on it. If the DOE is satisfied that the
environmental impact statement is adequate, it may
issue an environmental impact assessment licence.
The licence is transferable but the Director must be
notified of the intention to transfer. Transfer will be ef-
fective from the date on which the Director was noti-
fied. There are firms in the country which are qualified
to conduct EIA studies but these studies are quite
expensive. Prices range around M 100,000 and that
may be prohibitive for some would-be investors in the
tourism sector, especially for smaller-scale projects.


The Act empowers the Ministry to cancel environmental
impact clearance should the terms and conditions of
the licence not be adhered to. However, the Ministry
tends to take a more mediatory approach by engaging
the project owner on why she/he may be in breach
and trying to enter into dialogue to find solutions
that would allow the applicant to comply with the
conditions. In general, the cancellation of licences and
the stopping of projects is avoided where possible,
because the benefit to the economy of the country is
understood and appreciated.


d. ParticiPatioN oF
ForeigN service
Providers


In the tourism sector, there is little discrimination in
terms of the treatment of foreign nationals and foreign
companies vis-à-vis their domestic counterparts. For
example the same guidelines and procedures are
applied. Furthermore, there is no tourism subsector
in which foreign participation is expressly prohibited.
Neither are there any discriminatory aspects in terms of
conditions of market access. The rules, regulations and
procedures are standardized and do not take cognizance
of nationality. Tax rates also apply in an equal manner.
Foreign service providers are not subject to different or
additional licensing conditions nor to different conditions
than domestic suppliers in relation to public service
obligations. However, one potential restriction to foreign
participation in tourism development is the difficulty in
obtaining land ownership rights.


e. trade liberalizatioN
commitmeNts
aFFectiNg tHe sector


Under the GATS, Lesotho has undertaken trade
liberalization commitments under tourism and travel-
related services in three categories: (a) hotels and
restaurants, including catering; (b) travel agencies
and tour operator services; (c) tourist guide services.


The commitments for the categories of hotels and res-
taurants and of travel agencies and tour operator ser-
vices largely keep the sectors unbound for all the modes
of supply. For tourist guide services, cross-border supply
(mode 1) is left unbound, suggesting that Lesotho did
not want to allow the provision of such services via ICTs.
Meanwhile consumption abroad (mode 2) and com-
mercial presence (mode  3) maintain no limitation and
are therefore fully liberalized with the exception of the
horizontal commitmentsxliv which have been described
above, and which also apply to all these subsectors.


Tourism services have been identified as one priority
service sector for liberalization under the SADC, so
Lesotho could certainly decide to move beyond these
partial commitments in the regional context as there
is scope for deeper liberalization of these sectors. As
with other service areas covered by various SADC
protocols, the cooperation taking place in relation to
tourism education policies, training institutions and
tourism standards would serve to facilitate movement
of services and service suppliers in the region. Similarly,
improvements in the collection and analysis of tourism
statistical data through the adoption of a unified system
would allow SADC countries to determine themselves
with respect to further liberalization options in a more
informed manner. Moreover, joint product development
and diversification initiatives through private and public
cooperation should benefit the region as a whole
through the pooling of scarce national resources.


F. tourism services
sector: aN aNalysis
oF streNgtHs,
weakNesses,
oPPortuNities
aNd tHreats


Box 4 highlights a number of strengths, weaknesses,
opportunities and threats within the tourism services
sector in Lesotho.




64 SERVICES POLICY REVIEW: LESOthO


Strengths


• Abundant tourism assets and natural resources, including natural beauty, biodiversity and cultural heritage that support the development
of tourism activities.


• Reputation for hospitality and good quality tourism services.


• Strong efforts to overhaul current legislation and replace it with modern, extensive, pro-development legislation.


Weaknesses


• Anti-competitive practices with respect to distribution, transportation and airline services within the sector.


• Limited access of local tourism enterprises to modern technology (particularly information technology and travel distribution
systems).


• Deficiencies in infrastructure services relevant to the support environment for tourism enterprises.
• Barriers to entry for new tourism enterprises, particularly in terms of difficulties to secure access to finance from financial institutions


(which see the tourism sector as risky).


• Lack of basic education and vocational training in customer care and service quality.


• Presence of poor employment conditions in the sector.


• Outdated legislation and regulations and a lack of specific legislation governing the sector. This includes legislative gaps such as the
exclusion of tour operators from regulation.


• General legislation (such as the prohibition of foreign ownership of land) impedes the development of the sector.


• Lack of coordination between relevant ministries and other institutions. This extends to a lack of clarity and agreement on the respective
roles and responsibilities of the MTEC and LTDC.


• Lack of incentive framework for tourism investment.


• Lack of full implementation of the Environment Act.


• No grading system for tourism products.


Opportunities


• Scope to diversify Lesotho’s tourism product offerings, particularly in terms of expanding ecotourism and the country’s offerings in niche
tourism products and events-based tourism (such as adventure tourism, water sports, cultural tourism and lifestyle events).


• Similarly, potential to promote Lesotho as a leading destination for business tourism – for instance, as a destination for government
meetings, multilateral engagements and conferences.


• Scope to strengthen linkages between the tourism sector and other sectors in Lesotho as a means to promote economic development.


• Potential to develop regional tourism activities and joint marketing efforts as part of SADC regional integration efforts.


Threats


• An over-reliance on the South African tourist markets and a lack of diversification of source markets for tourist arrivals.


• Restrictions in the form of market access controls for hotels and restaurants, which may constrain investment. In the case of hotels,
for example, market access is only guaranteed for hotels that exceed a certain size in terms of numbers of rooms. Smaller hotels are
required to undergo an economic needs test.


• Threat of economic leakage, whereby financial benefits from tourism in Lesotho are not being kept within the country.


• Possible negative social effects associated with the growth of the sector, including human trafficking, and disruption or relocation of local
communities.


• Possible negative environmental effects stemming from expanding tourist activities, including harm to natural resources and sensitive
ecosystems. These are exacerbated by the fact that tourism development requires high water and energy usage.


• Vulnerability of the sector to decreased demand associated with global economic slowdowns, epidemics, natural disasters and terrorism.


• Insufficient institutional capacity to implement tourism reforms.


• Institutional weaknesses within the LTDC.


• Competition from South Africa for tourist arrivals.


• Conflict between multiple institutions claiming a tourism development mandate in certain areas.


Source: UNCTAD, based on interviews with stakeholders, research and literature review.


Box 4. Tourism services sector in Lesotho – strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats




ServiceS Policy review


recommendationS


VI




66 SERVICES POLICY REVIEW: LESOthO


The recommendations outlined below stem from
the findings drawn from the desk research and
consultative engagements with key stakeholders
(stakeholder interviews, the first National Stakeholder
Workshop held in Maseru on 29–30 September
2011 and the second National Stakeholder
Workshop held in Maseru on 19–20 January 2012)
that underpinned the development of this Lesotho
SPR. The recommendations are separated into a
series of general recommendations applicable to
the services sector as a whole, and sector-specific
recommendations for each of the financial services,
professional medical services and tourism service
sectors.


a. cross-sectoral
recommeNdatioNs


Several broad recommendations are made below
that are designed to strengthen the services sector
in Lesotho and boost the positive impact that trade
liberalization and reforms can have in the sector.


The Government of lesotho needs to develop a
national services development strategy plan: The
plan should focus on identifying ways to maintain
and enhance the performance of specific service
sectors within the economy. For a national services
development strategy to be effective, it must not
only look towards ways to support the development
and/or expansion of new service sectors, but also
examine those sectors which are already successful
and identify ways to maintain and enhance their
performance.


There is a need to investigate ways to improve
infrastructure services that support the services
sector: This is particularly urgent in the areas of
transportation, electricity, water and information and
communications technology infrastructure, where
much-needed improvements are necessary in order to
enhance the supporting environment for the provision
of services in Lesotho and attract FDI into key service
sectors in the country. Innovative financing models
and the potential for public–private partnerships
should be explored as means to fund investments to
improve key infrastructure services. The MTICM will
have to liaise with the Lesotho Water and Sewerage
Company, the Lesotho Electricity Corporation, the
Ministry of Public Works and Transport as well as
the Lesotho Telecommunications Authority to seek
coordination between all stakeholders in projects to
improve the provision of infrastructural services.


Ways should be explored to boost the
employment creation impact of the main service
sectors in lesotho: At present, relative to the
dominant contribution of services to GDP in Lesotho,
the contribution of most key service sectors remains
relatively low in the context of total employment in the
country. With this in mind, greater attention should be
given to government policies, strategies or initiatives
to boosting the employment creation potential of the
country’s main service sectors.


There is need for competition law and a
competition authority in lesotho: Presently, there is
no competition policy, but there is a draft Competition
Bill (2011) by the MTICM. The regulation of anti-
competitive behaviours by companies is integral to a
well-functioning market.


Similarly, there is need for a comprehensive invest-
ment code if investment into service sectors is to
be encouraged: At present there is neither an invest-
ment policy nor investment law on either the promotion
of domestic or foreign investment and this has ham-
pered the attraction of investment across all sectors. The
responsibility falls on the MTICM to increase efforts to
actualize the creation of these policies and laws.


There is a need to improve lesotho’s business
climate in order to encourage investment: The
improvement of the business climate has, to some
extent, been addressed by the formation of the
OBFC, housed in the MTICM. The centre aims to
achieve increased numbers of businesses, increased
exports and investment, reduced turnaround times,
reduced costs of conducting business, as well as
reduced numbers of registration procedures. Its
tasks are issuing trade licences, industrial licences,
export visas, import rebates, work permits, residence
permits, company registration and tax registration.
However, what is needed in addition to the OBFC is
the implementation of the new Companies Act (2011).
The provisions of the Act simplify incorporation, allow
for the formation of sole proprietorship businesses,
and allow for the electronic submission of company
documents for registration. It eases company
registration and operation. The Act was intended
to come into operation in October 2011 but there
have been delays and it remains inoperative. The
MTICM must continue to do all that is necessary to
expedite the coming into force of the Act. At the same
time, greater attention should be given to efforts to
eliminate red tape and simplify regulatory processes
and procedures in order to reduce the cost of doing




67CHAPTER VI: Recommendations


business in Lesotho and make it simpler, faster and
easier to operate and grow businesses within the
country’s service sectors.


Greater use must be made of district bodies,
authorities and structures in the promotion of
tourism, monitoring and evaluation of health
professionals, and provision of financial services:
Most institutions that are involved in the promotion of
the growth and development of financial, tourism and
medical services are centralized in Maseru. In its current
state, the impact of such a centralized system is limited.
The relevant ministries (MTEC, MOHSW and MFDP)
must strategize on how to decentralize the provision of
their services. The same argument could apply to making
better use of the regional setting in terms of advancing
strategies and implementation of ongoing initiatives that
may have a positive impact in strengthening regulatory
and institutional frameworks underpinning services trade.


The trade liberalization strategy of lesotho should
focus on securing access to other markets as
lesotho’s market is already open to foreign
services: Trade liberalization has been pursued, and
continues to be pursued, in the quest to develop the
country’s services industries. However, the reality
has been that Lesotho has not gained much tangible
benefit from years of trade liberalization. This is
because liberalization alone is not sufficient to develop
an economy. There should also be focus on factors
such the business climate, social and political stability,
regulatory predictability, and the quality of institutions.
These can determine whether much needed investment
is attracted for the benefit of growing the economy.
Moreover, as in the three sectors analysed in this report,
Lesotho still faces supply-side constraints. Policymaking
should focus mainly on the development of competitive
capacities. Wherever possible, regional cooperation
in the SADC context should be used to support such
capacity-building efforts. Also, given the country’s scarce
human, financial, institutional and other resources,
these efforts should be developed in the context of a
national services strategy of services trade policy which
identifies, inter alia, a priority matrix of exportable service
products and of target export markets.


Despite the new land act (2010) and its efforts at
improving security of tenure for foreign nationals,
there is still room for improvement: Under the Act,
leases for commercial sites are 60 years. It would be
more attractive for potential investors if leases could
be valid for 90 years in order to encourage long-
term investment. However, this is one example of


where the Government of Lesotho seems to prioritize
heeding social and cultural sensitivities regarding land
ownership over the objective of potentially attracting
foreign investment.


Improvement is needed in the processing of work
and residence permits: Delays in the processing of
these permits negatively affect the potential growth of all
sectors of the economy. The OBFC currently provides
a one stop shop where investors in the manufacturing
industries can apply for all their permits under one roof
and in an expedited manner. For example, many foreign
medical professionals have pointed at delays in the
processing of permits as one factor that dissuades them
from prolonging their stay in Lesotho. The MOHSW
might consider dialogue with the OBFC on whether
foreign medical professionals could also be included
in the access to their services. However, the MTICM
would have to assist the OBFC with more space and
staff members and funding were it to expand its service
provision to further categories of people.


In addition, a number of sector-specific recommen-
dations should be considered. These are outlined
separately below in the case of each of the financial
services, professional medical services and tourism
service sectors.


b. FiNaNcial
services sector
recommeNdatioNs


More detailed and up-to-date data on the financial
services sector in lesotho need to be collected
and publicized: There is an urgent need to collect and
publicize up-to-date, sector-specific information on the
economic contribution of the financial services sector
in Lesotho. In this respect, the focus in data collection
efforts should include the following areas:


• The output of the financial services sector as a
share of total services output;


• Growth rates of output in the financial services
sector;


• The total value of output in the insurance subsector;


• Total employment in the financial services sector
and growth rates of employment in the sector;


• Total employment in the following subsectors:


— Public financial institutions;


— Commercial banks;




68 SERVICES POLICY REVIEW: LESOthO


— Development corporations;


— Insurance companies;


— Informal financial institutions;


• The total value of imports and exports in the finan-
cial services sector and in the following subsectors:


— Public financial institutions;


— Commercial banks;


— Development corporations;


— Insurance companies;


— Informal financial institutions;


• Growth rates of imports and exports for the finan-
cial services sector as a whole as well as for the
following subsectors:


— Public financial institutions;


— Commercial banks;


— Development corporations;


— Insurance companies;


— Informal financial institutions;


• Inward flows of FDI into the Lesotho financial ser-
vices sector.


There is a need to develop appropriate financial
policies to guide the development of the financial
services sector: Many Acts have been created in the
absence of policies. Legislation is supposed to be
based on policy so that the legislation advances policy
objectives. It becomes difficult to ascertain whether
laws are doing what they are supposed to be doing
in the absence of policy instruments. Furthermore,
there is a need to develop policies on microfinance
and on consumer protection because these areas can
become subject to legislative intervention.


Improvement is required in access to both formal
banking and non-banking financial services in
the rural areas of lesotho: While the level of financial
inclusion is relatively high in Lesotho (estimated at
81  per cent), much of this is concentrated in the
country’s urban areas. The levels of access to financial
services in Lesotho’s rural areas are considerably
lower, particularly with respect to banking services,
meaning that rural communities in the country are
disadvantaged in accessing financial services.


It is necessary to increase competition and
lending in lesotho’s commercial banking sector:
At present, Lesotho’s commercial banking sector is
dominated by a small number of South African banks.


In this respect, there is a need to raise the level of local
ownership within the country’s commercial banking
sector. At the same time, there is a need to raise the
level of lending by Lesotho’s commercial banking
sector through, for example, efforts to raise the credit to
deposit ratio among the country’s commercial banks.


Procedures need to be simplified for SMMEs to
access finance and credit facilities in Lesotho:
Currently, many SMMEs in Lesotho, particularly in
the tourism sector, struggle to access much-needed
finance as they are considered to be risky by the
country’s commercial banks. Within this context,
there is a need to implement improvements to existing
arrangements for loan management and repayment
mechanisms for SMMEs operating in Lesotho.


c. ProFessioNal
medical services
recommeNdatioNs


More detailed and up-to-date data need to be
collected and publicized on the professional
medical services sector in lesotho: There is
an urgent need for the MOHSW and the councils
to collect and publicize up-to-date, sector-specific
information on the economic contribution of the
professional medical services sector in Lesotho. At
present, much of the available information is grouped
together under the broader health and social work
sector. Consequently, the focus in data collection
efforts should include the following areas:


• The value of the total national supply of profes-
sional medical services;


• The value of output of professional medical ser-
vices as a share of total services output in Lesotho;


• Total employment in the professional medical ser-
vices sector and its constituent subsectors;


• Growth rates of output and employment in the
professional medical services sector;


• The value of imports and exports in the profes-
sional medical services sector and its constituent
subsectors;


• Inward flows of FDI into the sector.


The MOHSW should urgently approve and
implement its retention strategy to avoid the
exodus of health care professionals out of the
country: Most professionals would prefer to stay in
Lesotho, but it is the working conditions and lack of




69CHAPTER VI: Recommendations


incentives that cause them to seek greener pastures
elsewhere. Greater access to training and bursaries,
improved infrastructure in health care facilities and
more competitive salaries would go a long way
towards slowing down the emigration of health care
professionals.


Similarly, there is a need to increase the number
of medical professionals in lesotho: This should
be addressed by the MOHSW in conjunction with
the Ministry of Education as well as the MFDP as it
will involve the participation of the NMDS to provide
scholarships and bursaries. The establishment of a
medical school should be prioritized. With respect to
nurses, in particular, there is a need for more training
institutions which offer high level qualifications. In
the short term, consideration could also be given to
utilizing the services of retired medical professionals in
the country on short-term contracts to boost capacity
in terms of the supply of health care services.


There is a need to increase the presence of
medical personnel in the country’s rural areas:
In this respect, consideration should be given to
the MOHSW and CHAL incentives, such as rural
allowances to entice medical professionals to
work in the rural parts of the country. In addition, a
community service requirement could be introduced
for Lesotho’s doctors to practice in rural areas as
part of their training to become registered medical
professionals. At the same time, there is a need to
improve access to healthcare facilities and services
in rural areas in Lesotho. This could be achieved, for
example, by abolishing user fees charged to the poor
for health services at all health centres operated by
the Government and CHAL (fees are internationally
known to dissuade the very poor from utilizing health
services).


lesotho should continue to seek and form
partnerships with other countries so as to attract
health professionals from those countries to
work in lesotho: It has been noted by the WHO that
there is an inadequate supply of health professionals
in Lesotho, a gap which could be bridged by an influx
of health professionals from other countries. However,
there should be no discrimination in terms of the hiring
and remuneration of such foreign professionals vis-à-
vis local professionals. This should be spearheaded
by the MOHSW.


The institutions responsible for the registration
and monitoring of medical professionals in the


country (the Nursing Council and the Medical
Council) should be capacitated: The powers of
these two councils are being enhanced by legislative
amendments, but they also require practical support
in terms of staff, office space, transport and training in
order to enable them to better discharge their duties.
There is only one registrar and one secretary in both
institutions. It is not possible for them to register, mon-
itor and deal with complaints and other issues with
such a small staff complement. Neither institution cur-
rently receives government subvention for their opera-
tions. The MOHSW must consider channelling part of
their budgetary allocation to meet the resource needs
of these institutions so that they can more effectively
contribute to professional development.


d. tourism
services sector
recommeNdatioNs


Collect and publicize more detailed and up-
to-date data on the tourism services sector
in lesotho: There is an urgent need to collect and
publicize up-to-date, sector-specific information on
the economic contribution of the tourism services
sector in Lesotho. In this regard, the focus in data
collection efforts should include the following areas:


• Output of the tourism sector as a share of total
services output in Lesotho;


• Total output and employment by tourism services
subsector;


• The share of local versus foreign employment in
the tourism services sector and its constituent
subsectors;


• The share of Basotho nationals holding manage-
ment positions in the sector;


• The total value of tourism services sector imports
and exports and by tourism services subsector;


• The value of inward flows of FDI into Lesotho’s
tourism services sector.


The MTEC should consider use of the Tourism Satellite
Account.


There is need for lesotho’s tourism policy to
include a focus on potential negative externali-
ties associated with the expansion of the tour-
ism sector: The current tourism policy focuses on
preventing negative impacts on culture due to tourism




70 SERVICES POLICY REVIEW: LESOthO


expansion. However, other potentially negative atten-
dant costs of such expansion are largely ignored, such
as sex tourism and human trafficking. These must be
included when the MTEC revises the current policy.


Tourism policy should include the pursuit of a
joint development agenda between lesotho
and South africa on a formal basis: South Africa
has experienced a boom in the number of tourists,
with 9.9  million visitors in 2009. Lesotho, through
the MTEC, should seek greater cooperation in order
to benefit from tourists visiting South Africa. Another
potential benefit would be knowledge transfer and
potential technical assistance to grow Lesotho’s
tourism industry. Partnerships should be forged at the
macro as well as micro level. For example, there should
be partnerships between Lesotho sector operators
and their South African counterparts. More broadly,
efforts should be made to expand regional linkages
with the tourism sectors of neighbouring countries
and to prioritize joint marketing efforts for Southern
Africa as a tourist destination. The Agreement on the
Facilitation of Cross-Border Movement of Citizens
(2009) between South Africa and Lesotho should be
expeditiously implemented to avoid the possibility of
the movement of tourists leaving room for the cross-
border movement of criminals.


There should be a deliberate policy on maximizing
the poverty alleviation benefits of tourism devel-
opment: This should encourage partnerships between
tourism establishments and communities. Tourism de-
velopment should lead to locals benefitting from em-
ployment opportunities, a market for their products or
even equity shares in establishments. In addition, there
is need for incentive-based policies that encourage
tourism industries, such as hotels and restaurants, to
purchase supplies locally as well as to strengthen link-
ages between tourism and other sectors of the econo-
my. This should be addressed by the MTEC.


It is necessary to undertake detailed research
and analysis into the existing linkages between
the tourism services sector and other sectors
of the lesotho economy: The focus in this respect
should be on the extent to which the tourism services
sector has contributed to the growth of sectors such
as construction, agriculture and retail, as well as the
current levels of consumption of financial, recreational,
cultural and security services by tourists in Lesotho.
The research effort could be undertaken jointly by the
MTICM and the LTDC.


attention should be given to developing and
strengthening supply chain linkages between
multinational tourism enterprises and local
suppliers of tourism-related products and
services in lesotho: Linked to this, efforts should
be made to create opportunities for mentoring and
technology and skills transfer from multinational
tourism enterprises to local enterprises operating in
the sector. Viable industry associations would help in
this effort.


The MTEC should address the human resource
constraints that are limiting tourism development
in lesotho: Education needs must be addressed
in collaboration with the Ministry of Education and
Training. Training and skills development initiatives for
SMMEs operating in the tourism sector should also
be prioritized, with these initiatives focusing on the
development of business management, marketing and
technical skills. Aligned to this, there is a need to improve
the level of coordination of existing institutions providing
training to tourism SMMEs in the country. Tourism
has been touted as an industry which is favourable
for least-developed economies to pursue, because it
is not highly skills dependent. However, this does not
mean that the sector would not benefit from policies
on skills development in order for sector operators to
be capacitated with knowledge and skills that meet
industry needs. Tourism qualifications should be
created at the formal level. In addition, institutions such
as BEDCO could be strengthened to provide specific
training to the sector and, ultimately, increase the quality
of tourism services. This may increase the likelihood
of visitors having longer stays as well as returning and
recommending Lesotho as a tourist destination. Training
and skills promotion can also potentially affect investment
promotion. Investors are attracted to an environment
where potential labourers possess skills that they need.
Through training, locals can learn entrepreneurial skills
to enable them to participate in the industry, as well as
being better equipped to deliver certain services such as
catering, tours, arts and cultural services.


an incentive framework might improve
investment in tourism: Such incentives could include,
for example, reduced tax rates for tourism enterprises,
similar to those that exist for manufacturing industries.
The MTEC must propose and motivate the MFDP for
such a tax policy to be implemented in Lesotho.


The development of the tourism sector requires
a broad, multi-sectoral approach: Coordination is
required between the MTEC and other ministries and




71CHAPTER VI: Recommendations


institutions. This can also help tourism development to
serve as a catalyst for overall economic development.
For example, coordination with the Ministry of Agricul-
ture and Food Security could be enhanced to encour-
age the creation of programmes to assist agricultural
producers to expand the quantity, quality and reliability
of their produce so that it can be consumed by tourism
establishments. In this way, the current leakages that
are taking place, whereby most produce is imported
into the country from South Africa, could be reversed.
Collaboration is also required with institutions such as
the electricity and water authorities (Lesotho Electricity
Corporation and the Water and Sewerage Company,
respectively). All stakeholders should have a forum for
information sharing and joint planning so that all of their
initiatives correlate.


Supporting infrastructure for tourism, particularly
in terms of airport transport infrastructure and ser-
vices, ports and roads as well as basic services,
needs to be developed and scaled up: In the case
of transport infrastructure, a greater level of coordination
is required between the MTEC and the MPWT for the
development of road infrastructure in areas identified for
tourism development. According to 2007 statistics, only
58 per cent of roads were paved at that time,109 yet most
tourists in Lesotho travel by road. Coordination to boost
infrastructural development is also needed between in-
stitutions responsible for water and electricity supply.
This would not only benefit the tourism sector but also
the lives of the Basotho people more generally.


There should be dialogue between the lNDC,
BEDCO and lTDC so as to expand their role in
tourism development and determine in which
areas cooperation could be viable: At this stage,
neither the LNDC nor BEDCO have tourism-specific
programmes, yet both organizations are empowered
in their governing legislation to participate in tourism
development. Cooperation agreements with the LTDC
should guide collaboration. However, the expansion of
the role of LNDC and BEDCO in tourism will depend
on their financing and staff capacity limitations being
resolved. They both fall under the mandate of the MTICM,
which is the proper body to address those issues.


Memoranda of understanding should be drafted
between the lTDC and other tourism promotion
institutions so that they can work harmoniously
with the lTDC to develop the tourism industry:
At present there are other institutions in Lesotho
that purport to have a tourism promotion mandate
and they sometimes encroach upon the work of the


LTDC, hampering its work. For example, the Lesotho
Highland Development Authority believes that it is solely
responsible for promoting tourism in its project areas.


lesotho’s existing tourism legislation needs
to be brought up-to-date and gaps filled. For
example, there must be legislation governing
tour operators: Leakages can be reduced by
strengthening the legal capacity of tour operators
to provide their services in Lesotho. The MTEC is
currently involved in an extensive legislative overhaul.


There should be full implementation of the Envi-
ronment act in lesotho: Such implementation of the
Act is necessary because the institutions and proce-
dures provided therein are important to ensure that tour-
ism and other developments do not take place in a way
that damages the natural environment, which remains
a key asset for Lesotho. The MTEC must take steps to
address delays in the full implementation of the Act.


If tourism products are to be effectively marketed
then they should be subjected to objective qual-
ity assessment, preferably by reference to interna-
tional standards: It would be important for the Grading
Manual to be speedily passed and implemented and
an institution established to execute this process. The
MTEC must address the human resources and institu-
tional constraints to the implementation of the manual.


Clarity is required on the respective roles and
responsibilities of the MTEC, on the one hand,
and the lTDC on the other: At present, the LTDC
is overburdened with tasks under the Tourism Act,
whereas it should be concentrating on the development
and marketing of tourism products. Greater clarity in
terms of roles and responsibilities would eliminate the
potential for any confusion, duplication of efforts and
gaps in tourism service delivery. In this respect, the
following role-sharing mechanism is proposed (to be
agreed upon by the MTEC and LTDC):


• The MTEC should be responsible for policy for-
mulation and the development of a sound legal
framework to develop the sector. This means that
it should concentrate on tasks (a), (j) and (m) in the
Tourism Act.


• The LTDC should focus on being the implementing
arm of the MTEC. It should be solely responsible for
tasks (b), (c), (d), (e), (h), (i), (k) and (l) in the Tourism Act.


• There are other functions that are suited for col-
laboration between the Ministry and the Corpora-
tion. These are (f), (g) and (m).




72 SERVICES POLICY REVIEW: LESOthO


• The last function in the Act, (n) – grading, and
classifying accommodation, liquor, and tourism-
related establishments – should be undertaken
by a separate institution that should be created:
a grading council akin to the Tourism Grading
Council of South Africa. This is a body which is
comprised of 20 members drawn from the sub-
sectors of the tourism industry: hotel industry,
bed and breakfast establishments, the airline in-
dustry, tour operators, travel agencies and game
lodges. It is responsible for implementing the
grading system, which at present is voluntary, but
which provides incentives for participation, such
as marketing benefits.


There is a need to empower industry associations
to play a more prominent role in the development
of sector operators: Currently, the Hotel and
Hospitality Association, the Lesotho Restaurants and


Liquor Association, the Tour Operators’ Association
and the Caterers’ Association are all in place in
Lesotho. However, these associations are generally
not very active and a strategy is necessary to address
how they can be empowered to better serve their
members. In addition, the LCT, which was the umbrella
association that was meant to empower operators in
terms of organizing themselves, accessing finance,
lobbying for government assistance and facilitating
improvements to the business environment, has
crumbled. It would be beneficial from a sectoral
development perspective if the MTEC addressed the
resuscitation of the LCT so that sector operators were
able to contribute more fully to tourism development.
This may require donor assistance but, fortunately,
the PSCEDP (which is funded by the World Bank) still
prioritizes assistance to develop the tourism industry
and has, in the past, been keen to work to help revive
the LCT.




73


reFereNces


African Economic Outlook (2011). Lesotho: recent economic development and prospects. Available at http://
www.africaneconomicoutlook.org/en/countries/southern-africa/lesotho/.


Bogetic Z (2006). International benchmarking of Lesotho’s infrastructure performance. World Bank Policy
Research Paper 3825.


Bureau of Statistics and Ministry of Finance and Development Planning of Lesotho (2008). 2008 Lesotho
Integrated Labour Force Survey.


Central Bank of Lesotho (2001). Blueprint for Rural Savings and Credit Groups. Rural Finance Division.


Central Bank of Lesotho (2006). Annual Report 2006 – Statistical Tables. Available at http://www.centralbank.
org.ls/scripts/statistics/2006%20Annual%20Report%20Tables1(final).pdf.


Central Bank of Lesotho (2007). Annual Report on the Insurance Act 1976 and the Insurance Business 2007.
Available at http://www.centralbank.org.ls/publications/ISD%20Annual%20Report%202007.pdf.


Central Bank of Lesotho (2008). List of money lenders March 2008. Available at http://www.centralbank.org.ls/
banks%20&%20non-banks/List%20of%20Money%20Lenders%2003%202008.pdf.


Central Bank of Lesotho. What is Lesotho Wire? Available at http://www.centralbank.org.ls/news/Lesotho_Wire.
htm.


Consultative Group to Assist the Poor & World Bank (2009). Financial access 2009. Available at http://www.
cgap.org/gm/document-1.9.38735/FA2009.pdf.


Development Network Africa (2008). SADC study on trade in services. SADC secretariat.


Economic Commission for Africa (2011). Economic Report on Africa 2011: Governing Development in Africa - the
Role of the State in Economic Transformation. Addis Ababa.


Economist Intelligence Unit (2011). EIU Country Report – Lesotho 2011.


FINMARK Trust and GIZ (forthcoming). Protocol on finance and investment (FIP) baseline study: regional report.
SADC secretariat.


FinScope (2011). FinScope Lesotho 2011.


Imani Development (2009). Options for developing service sector exports. Report prepared for the Ministry of
Trade and Industry, Cooperatives and Marketing.


International Monetary Fund (2008). Kingdom of Lesotho: Selected Issues and Statistical Appendix.


International Monetary Fund (2011). World Economic Outlook April 2011 Database.


Jamieson W, Goodwin H and Edmunds C (2004). Contribution of tourism to poverty alleviation: pro-poor tourism and
the challenge of measuring impacts. Available at http://haroldgoodwin.info/resources/povertyalleviation.pdf.


Lesotho (2009). Interim National Development Framework 2009/10–2010/11.


Lesotho, Bureau of Statistics (2010). Statistical Yearbook 2010.


Lesotho, Bureau of Statistics (2009). Tourism Statistics 2008. National Statistical System of Lesotho Statistical
Reports No 25: 2009.


Lesotho, Ministry of Tourism, Environment and Culture (2007). Tourism Towards 2020: Tourism Strategy For
Lesotho. August 2007.


Lesotho, Ministry of Trade and Industry, Cooperatives and Marketing (2011). Session VII: Consideration in
WTO and Regional Trade Negotiations: Lesotho’s experience. Presentation at the National Stakeholder
Workshop, 29–30 September, Maseru.


REFERENCES




74 SERVICES POLICY REVIEW: LESOthO


Lesotho, Ministry of Trade and Industry, Cooperatives and Marketing (2008). The State Of Small Enterprise in
Lesotho. Final report.


Lesotho, Ministry of Finance and Development Planning (2008). Growth strategy paper. Available at http://www.
trade.gov.ls/documents/Growth_Strategy_June-Complete_Draft1.pdf.


Lesotho, Ministry of Health and Social Welfare (2010a). Annual joint review report.


Lesotho, Ministry of Health and Social Welfare (2010b). Lesotho health systems assessment.


Lesotho, Ministry of Health and Social Welfare (2011). National Continuing Education Implementation Plan for
Lesotho health sector (2011–2012). Available at http://archive.k4health.org/system/files/Lesotho%20
Continuing%20Education-%20Implementation%20Plan.pdf.


Lesotho. Vision 2020. Available at http://www.gov.ls/documents/National_Vision_Document_Final.pdf.


Lesotho Times (2011). Are we really empowering women? 26 January 2011. Available at http://www.lestimes.
com/?p=5297.


Lesotho Tourism Development Corporation (2010a). Accommodation statistics report.


Lesotho Tourism Development Corporation (2010b). Annual arrival statistics report. Department of Research and
Development.


Lesotho Tourism Development Corporation (2008). Comparative analysis of visitor’s surveys, August–September
2007 and December 2007–January 2008.


Lievens T and Manu A (2008). Lesotho Health Expenditure Review: Non-Public Sector. Oxford Policy Management.
Oxford.


Maanela TM (2008). Community-based ecotourism for conservation and development in Lesotho: a case of
Ha-Kome. MPhil Thesis. University of Fort Hare, Eastern Cape, South Africa.


Manduna C (2005). The challenges facing least developed countries in the GATS negotiations: a case study of
Lesotho. Tralac working paper No. 8.


Masia S (2008). Lesotho’s Uruguay Round commitments in liberalisation of trade in services. Presentation by
Sekone Masia, Trade Relations Officer, Ministry of Trade and Industry, Cooperatives and Marketing, 20
February 2008.


McKeeman J and Rozga Z (2007). Private Sector Competitiveness Report, Strengthening the Tourism Market in
Lesotho: A Content Collection and Market Readiness Audit Exercise. Prepared for the Ministry of Trade,
Industry, Cooperatives and Marketing and Ministry of Tourism, Environment and Culture.


Medscape. Healthcare in Lesotho. Available at http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/583443_4.


Motsoeli N (2010). World Cup: Will Lesotho gain? Lesotho Times, 13 Jan 2010. Available at http://www.lestimes.
com/?p=2932.


National MDG report 2012 (draft). Cited at http://www.undp.org.ls/millennium/default.php.


South Africa Gender Protocol Alliance (2011). Lesotho takes steps to empower women economically.
Available at http://www.genderlinks.org.za/article/lesotho-takes-steps-to-empower-women-
economically-2011-09-30.


Sun International (2011). Integrated Annual Report 2011. Available at http://suninternational.investoreports.com/
sun_ar_2011/downloads/sun_ar_2011.pdf.


The Economist Intelligence Unit. Lesotho report.


Tlali C (2011b). Controversy dogs ID tender. Lesotho Times, 30 June 2011. Available at http://www.lestimes.
com/?p=6520.


Tlali C (2011a). ID tender scrapped. Lesotho Times, 9 March 2011. Available at http://www.lestimes.com/?p=5588.




75


Transformation Resource Centre (2005). Health sector in crisis. Available at http://www.trc.org.ls/events/
events20051.htm.


UNCTAD (2010). Successful trade and development strategies for mitigating the impact of the global economic
and financial crisis. TD/B/C.I./7. Geneva. 22 February.


UNCTAD (2011a). Strategies for advancing the development of the service sectors of Lesotho: Introductory note
to the Lesotho Services Policy Review. Trade Negotiations and Commercial Diplomacy Branch.


UNCTAD (2011b). The contribution of tourism to trade and development. TD/B/C.I./8. Prepared for the second
session of the Trade and Development Commission. Geneva, 3–7 May 2010.


United Nations News Centre (2005). “Empowering women: the most effective development tool”, Annan says.
Available at http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=13478&Cr=commission&Cr1=women.


United States Department of State (2009). Investment climate statement – Lesotho.


Wade Publications (2010). Lesotho Review. Available at http://www.lesothoreview.com/financial_services.htm.


WHO (2006). Country Health System Fact Sheet 2006: Lesotho. Available at http://www.afro.who.int/en/lesotho/
country-health-profile.html.


WHO (2007). Feasibility assessment and financial projection results for a social health insurance scheme for
Lesotho. Available at http://www.who.int/health_financing/documents/lso_shi-feasibility_assessment.pdf.


World Bank (2010). Doing Business 2011: Making a Difference for Entrepreneurs. Washington, DC. World Bank
and International Finance Corporation.


World Economic Forum (2011). The Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Report 2011: Beyond the Downturn.
Geneva.


WTO (1991). Services sectoral classification list. MTN.GNS/W/120.


WTO (2003). Categories of natural persons subject to commitments under mode 4. Informal note by the
secretariat. JOB(03)/195.


WTO (2009a). Trade Policy Review: Reports by the Members of the Southern African Customs Union. WT/
TPR/G/222.


WTO (2009b). Trade Policy Review: Report by the Secretariat, Southern African Customs Union. WT/TPR/S/222.


WTO (2011). Preferential treatment to services and service suppliers of least-developed countries. WT/L/847.


WTO Statistics database. Trade Profiles: Lesotho. Available at http://stat.wto.org/CountryProfiles/LS_e.htm.


World Travel and Tourism Council (2011). Travel and Tourism Economic Impact 2011. See http://www.wttc.org/
research/economic-impact-research.


REFERENCES




76 SERVICES POLICY REVIEW: LESOthO


aNNex i


inventory of laws and regulations affecting tourism, financial and professional
medical services


tourism services


Legislation


1. Tourism Act No. 4 of 2002


2. Tourism (Amendment) Act No. 1 of 2006


3. Accommodation, Catering and Tourism Enterprises Act No. 13 of 1997


4. Liquor Licensing Act No. 8 of 1998


5. Casino Order No. 4 of 1989


6. Lotteries Act No. 10 of 1975


7. Betting Control Act No. 21 of 1975


8. Lesotho National Development Corporation Order No. 13 of 1990


10. The Pioneer Industries Encouragement Act No. 19 of 1969


11. Environment Act No. 10 of 2008


Regulations


1. Accommodation, Catering and Tourism Enterprises Regulations No. 4 of 1999


2. Liquor Licensing Regulations No. 5 of 1999


3. Casino Regulations No. 146 of 1990


4. Betting Control Regulations No. 5 of 1976


Financial services


Legislation


1. Central Bank Act No. 2 of 2000


2. Financial Institutions Act No. 6 of 1999


3. Insurance Act No. 18 of 1976


4. Money Lenders Order No. 25 of 1989


5. Money Lenders (Amendment) Act No. 6 of 1993


6. Societies Act No. 20 of 1966


7. Cooperative Societies Act No. 6 of 2000


Bills


1. Draft Financial Institutions Bill


2. Draft Insurance Bill 2010




77


Regulations


1. Financial Institutions (Branching Requirements) Regulations. Legal Notice No. 135 of 1999


2. Financial Institutions (Loan Portfolio Classification) Regulations. Legal Notice No. 112 of 1999


3. Financial Institutions (Risk-Based Capital Requirements). Legal Notice No. 111 of 1999


4. Financial Institutions (Lending Limits) Regulations. Legal Notice No. 112 of 1999


5. Financial Institutions (Loan Portfolio Classification) of 1999


6. Financial Institutions (Cover Prescription Regulatory) (Money Lenders) of 1999


7. Financial Institutions (Foreign Currency Exposure Limits) Regulations. Legal Notice No. 19 of 2000


8. Financial Institutions (Internal Control Systems) Regulations. Legal Notice No. 132 of 2000


9. Financial Institutions (Internal Control Systems) Regulations. Legal Notice No. 198 of 2000


10. Anti-Money Laundering Guidelines. Legal Notice No. 199 of 2000


11. Financial Institutions (Liquidity Requirements) Regulations. Legal Notice No. 200 of 2000


12. Financial Institutions Minimum Loan Assets Requirement of 2000


Central Bank of Lesotho (Collective Investment Schemes) Regulations. Legal Notice No. 7 of 2001


13. Financial Institutions (Liquidity Requirements Amendment No. 1) Regulations. Legal Notice No. 50 of 2001


14. Trading in Government of Lesotho Treasury Bills Regulations. Legal Notice No. 34 of 2001


15. Financial Institutions (Minimum Local Assets Requirements) (Amendment) Regulations of 2002


16. Financial Institutions (Foreign Currency Exposure Limits) (Amendment) Regulations. Legal Notice No. 112
of 2002


17. Financial Institutions (Ancillary Financial Service Providers) (Licensing Requirements) Regulations of 2003


18. Financial Institutions (Merger and Transfer of Assets and Liabilities) Regulations of 2004


19. Financial Institutions (Conduct of Business by Branch) Regulations of 2005 (Local Loans)


20. Trading in Government Treasury Securities (Regulations). Legal Notice No.49 of 2009


21. Companies Act 2011


Professional medical services


Legislation


1. Public Health Order No 12 of 1970


2. The Medical, Dental and Pharmacy Order No. 13 of 1970


Regulations


1. Medical, Dental and Pharmacy (Degrees) Regulations. Order No. 3 of 1972


2. Medical, Dental and Pharmacy (Degrees) (Amendment) Regulations. Order No. 12 of 1972


3. Nurses and Midwives Act of 1998


ANNEXES




78 SERVICES POLICY REVIEW: LESOthO


aNNex 2


inventory of sector operators – financial services


banks


Standard Lesotho Bank Ltd (15 branches)


Nedbank (Lesotho) Ltd (3 branches)


First National Bank of Lesotho (1 branch)


Lesotho Post Bank (13 branches)


insurance companies


Lesotho National General Insurance Company


Lesotho National Life Assurance Company


Alliance Insurance Company Ltd


Metropolitan Insurance Company


Sentinel Insurance Ltd


Prosperity Insurance Company


insurance brokers


AON Lesotho (Pty) Ltd


Insurcare Brokers (Pty) Ltd


Lesotho Insurance Brokers (Pty) Ltd


ABC Insurance Brokers (Pty) Ltd


Thaba-Bosiu Risk Solutions (Pty) Ltd


BMM Insurance Brokers (Pty) Ltd


Setha Insurance Brokers (Pty) Ltd


MOTS Insurance Brokers (Pty) Ltd


Universal Insurance Brokers (Pty) Ltd


Du Pree Liebetrau Holdings (Pty) Ltd


Insurance Consulting (Pty) Ltd


Prosperity Insurance Brokers (Pty) Ltd


moneylenders


There are 51 moneylenders in the country. Twenty-four are institutional and 27 are private individuals.




79


aNNex 3


Fees for residence and work permitsxlv


residence permit


Temporary permit for 90 days M 1,000


Renewal of temporary permit M 1,000


Application for residence permit M 1,500


Residence permit M 2,000


Renewal of residence permit M 2,000


Indefinite permit M 20,000


Late renewal of any permit per week or part thereof M 200


work permit


First application M 750


Renewal M 1,000


Issuance of card M 70


ANNEXES




80 SERVICES POLICY REVIEW: LESOthO


aNNex 4


lesotho’s schedule of horizontal commitments under gatsxlvi


mode of supply


1. Cross-border supply


2. Consumption abroad


3. Commercial presence


4. Presence of natural persons


Sector or subsector Limitations on market access Limitations on national treatment


All sectors included in this
schedule


(1) None


(2) None


(3) Foreign-owned enterprises, including joint-venture enterprises,
must satisfy minimum capital outlay and foreign equity requirements
(wholly foreign-owned company: minimum equity capital outlay of
$200,000; joint-venture: $ 50,000).


4) Automatic entry and work permits for up to four expatriate senior
executives and specialized personnel. Approval required for any additional
workers. Enterprises must also provide training in higher skills for locals.


(1) None


(2) None


(3) None


(4) None




81


aNNex 5


list of interviewees


Dr. Mpolai Moteetee Director General, Health Services


Mrs. ‘Majoel Makhakhe Director, Health Planning and Statistics, MOHSW


Dr. Thin Research Manager, MOHSW


Mr. Molupe Mats’umunyane Health Systems Strengthening Manager, MOHSW


Mr. Phakiso Sealiete Head, Legal Division, MOHSW


Mr. Sehlabaka Ramafikeng Head, Research and Development, LTDC


Ms. Mamello Morojele Acting Head, Investment Promotion, LTDC


Ms. Mats’eliso Lehohla Principal Legal Officer, MTICM


Ms. Mpho Makhabane Legal Officer, MTICM


Ms. Nthabiseng Ts’ehlo OBFS, MTICM


Mr. Thato Mohasoa Head, Public Relations, CBL


Mrs. Ntee Bereng Head, Non-Banks Supervision Division, CBL


Mr. Sempe Moshoeshoe Senior Legal Officer, MTEC


Ms. Mamello Mahloane Tourism Officer, MTEC


Ms. Tlhobohano Matela Environment Officer, DOE


Ms. Tlalane Ramaema Environment Officer, DOE


Mrs. Sekone Masia Senior Economist, MOFDP (Regional Integration Directorate)


Mrs. ‘Marosina Foloko Enterprise Development and Promotions Manager, BEDCO


Dr. Tinashe Chinyanga Medical Director, ALAFA


Dr. Hlasoa Mopeli Medical doctor


Dr. Thelejane Dentist


Dr. Musi Mokete Medical practitioner


Ms. Tentenkie Mohapeloa Registrar, Medical Council


Mrs. Kuena Thabane Lecturer, Faculty of Law, National University of Lesotho


Mr. Realeboha Mathaba Head, Litigation, LRA


Ms. Bernadette Sehapi Chief Legal Officer, MFDP


Mrs. ‘Makali Nathane LEAP Manager, Private Sector Competitiveness and Economic Diversification Project


Mrs. ‘Mamohapi Poka Registrar, Nurses’ Council


Mrs. ‘Maposholi Qhobela Senior Immigration Officer, MOHA


Mr. Pelesane Moerane Bureau of Statistics


Mrs. Botsoa Hloaele Bureau of Statistics


Ms. Lerato Makana Bureau of Statistics


Mr. Tlohelang Aumane Director, OBFC


Mrs. Lerato Mohlakori Human Resource Officer, CHAL


Mrs. ‘Mantela Hloaela Finance and Administration, Thaba Bosiu Risk Solutions (Insurance Broker)


Mrs. ‘Mankhethua Boleme Nurse, National University of Lesotho Clinic


Mrs. Mats’eliso Khotso Nurse, National University of Lesotho Clinic


Ms. ‘Maseeiso Sekhonyana Manager, Trubute Guesthouse


Ms. Mphielo Maintso Maluti Travel and Tours


Ms. Ntsoaki Mosepeli Black Swan Guesthouse


Ms. Puleng Lebitsa Renaissance Restaurant


Ms. Fumane Maema Projects Manager, LNDC


ANNEXES




82 SERVICES POLICY REVIEW: LESOthO


eNdNotes


1 UNCTAD (2010).
2 WTO Statistics database.
3 UNCTADstat.
4 Ibid.
5 IMF (2011).
6 The Economist Intelligence Unit.
7 UNCTAD (2011a).
8 Ibid.
9 WTO (2009).
10 The Economist Intelligence Unit (2011), Lesotho Report.
11 United States Department of State (2009).
12 UNCTAD (2011).
13 African Economic Outlook (2011).
14 Lesotho (2009).
15 Economist Intelligence Unit (2011), p. 10.
16 Lesotho (2009).
17 United Nations News Centre (2005)
18 Ibid.
19 Ibid.
20 Lesotho Times (2011).
21 Manduna C (2005).
22 WTO (1991), Services Sectoral Classification List, Document MTN.GNS/W/120, dated 10 July 1991.
23 Ibid.
24 Central Bank of Lesotho
25 Ibid.
26 FinScope (2011).
27 Ibid.
28 Ibid.
29 Ibid.
30 South Africa Gender Protocol Alliance (2011).
31 Ibid.
32 Ibid.
33 Wade Publications (2010).
34 Ibid.
35 Ibid.
36 Central Bank of Lesotho (2007).
37 Ibid.
38 Ibid.
39 Ibid.
40 Ibid.
41 Tlali C (2011a).
42 Tlali C (2011b).
43 Consultative Group to Assist the Poor and The World Bank (2009), p. 55.
44 Ibid.
45 Central Bank of Lesotho (2001). Blueprint for Rural Savings and Credit Groups. Rural Finance Division
46 Lesotho, Vision 2020, p. 5.
47 MOHSW (2004), p. 2-1.




83


48 MOHSW (2004), p. 2-2.
49 MOHSW (2010a).
50 MOHSW (2010b), p. 43.
51 Medscape.
52 WHO (2007), p. 12.
53 MOHSW (2010), p. 12.
54 Ibid., p. 46.
55 Ibid.
56 Ibid.
57 Ibid., p. 44.
58 Lesotho, Ministry of Finance and Development Planning (2008). p. 10.
59 Ibid.
60 Transformation Resource Centre (2005).
61 Ibid.
62 Ibid.
63 WHO (2007), p. 15.
64 Maanela, T.M. (2008).
65 Trade Policy Review (2009).
66 Motsoeli N (2010).
67 Wade Publications (2010).
68 Lesotho, Ministry of Tourism, Environment and Culture (2007).
69 Ibid.
70 McKeeman J and Rozga Z (2007).
71 Ibid.
72 UNCTAD (2011 b). The contribution of tourism to trade and development. Note by the UNCTAD secretariat
No. TD/B/C.I./8. Prepared for the second session of the Trade and Development Commission. Geneva, 3–7 May 2010.
73 Jamieson W, Goodwin H and Edmunds C (2004).
74 UNCTAD (2011 b). op. cit.
75 Ibid.
76 World Travel and Tourism Council (2011).
77 Lesotho, Ministry of Trade and Industry, Cooperatives and Marketing (2008).
78 Jamieson W, Goodwin H and Edmunds C (2004).
79 Ibid.
80 Ibid.
81 UNCTAD (2011), op. cit.
82 Lesotho, Ministry of Tourism, Environment and Culture (2007).
83 World Economic Forum (2011).
84 Ibid.
85 World Travel and Tourism Council, 2011.
86 Ibid.
87 Ibid.
88 Ibid.
89 Wade Publications (2010).
90 Lesotho Tourism Development Corporation (2008).
91 Lesotho Tourism Development Corporation (2010 b).
92 Lesotho, Ministry of Finance and Development Planning (2008), p. 30.
93 Lesotho, Bureau of Statistics (2009).
94 World Travel and Tourism Council (2011).
95 Ibid.


ENDNOTES




84 SERVICES POLICY REVIEW: LESOthO


96 Ibid.
97 Ibid.
98 Development Network Africa (2008).
99 Wade Publications (2010).
100 Lesotho Tourism Development Corporation (2010 a).
101 Ibid.
102 Lesotho, Ministry of Tourism, Environment and Culture (2007).
103 Ibid.
104 Ibid.
105 WTO (2009).
106 UNCTAD (2011). op. cit.
107 UNCTAD (2011). op. cit.
108 Personal communication with Malealea Lodge owners.
109 Lesotho, Bureau of Statistics (2010).


i. It is worth noting that the crisis affected the various service sectors in different ways. Demand contracted more in
income-sensitive service sectors – including tourism and travel, financial services, construction, retail and services
related to merchandise trade, including transport – than in energy, health, education, telecommunications and some
business and professional service sectors.


ii. For a detailed discussion of the role of the state in promoting economic transformation in Africa, see Economic
Commission for Africa (2011). This report highlights that the experiences of successful countries in Asia, Latin America
and Africa is to a large extent based on the central role of the state in guiding and promoting successful economic
transformation, a role which may require a “developmental state” approach.


iii. South Africa, Lesotho, Swaziland, Botswana and Namibia constitute the SACU member states.
iv. The loti is pegged to the rand at parity under the CMA agreement, and the rand is legal tender in Lesotho.
v. Lesotho’s fiscal year is April–March.
vi. Construction services are going to be boosted by the development of the Metolong dam in 2011/2012.
vii. Lesotho could export its clothing products to the United States of America market duty and quota free, and was also


eligible for derogation from the cumulation provision.
viii. Completion of a major hydropower facility in January 1998 permitted the sale of water to South Africa and generated


royalties for Lesotho.
ix. National MDG report 2012 (draft) cited at http://www.undp.org.ls/millennium/default.php.
x. National MDG report 2012 (draft) cited at http://www.undp.org.ls/millennium/default.php.
xi. See http://www.undp.org.ls/millennium/default.php.
xii. A draft SMME policy, which was developed with the support of the United Nations Industrial Development Organization,


was finalized in June 2011 and will be presented to cabinet for approval. The policy targets a number of areas where
the current situation constrains the growth of the SMMEs sector. The areas identified for intervention are, (i) enabling
legal and regulatory environments (including taxation, licensing, land administration and intellectual property rights), (ii)
access to finance, (iii) entrepreneurial training and skills development, (iv) technological development and innovation,
(v) infrastructure development and business shelter, and (vi) access to markets. In addition, all actions undertaken as
part of the implementation of the SMME policy will take into account the cross cutting issues of gender equality, youth
development, HIV and AIDS, disabilities and environmental considerations.


xiii. WTO (2003).
xiv. See descriptions of the process leading to Lesotho’s Uruguay Round commitments in “Liberalisation of trade in


services (Lesotho’s experience)”, presentation by Sekone Masia, Trade Relations Officer, MTICM, 20 February 2008,
and C. Manduna (2005), “The challenges facing least developed countries in the GATS negotiations: A case study of
Lesotho”, Tralac working paper No. 8.




85


xv. WTO (2009a).
xvi. Imani Development (2009), p. 15–16.
xvii. It should, however, be noted that there is no automatic link between liberalization commitments and increased foreign


competition, as the first round of liberal commitments made by Lesotho has shown.
xviii. WTO (2011).
xix. The LDC group has put forward two requests, outlining the sectors where they have commercial interests. Both


requests emphasize the importance of liberalization of market access for service suppliers which are considered
“semi-skilled labour” as opposed to the professional categories normally included in WTO members’ schedules of
specific commitments.


xx. UN Comtrade.
xxi. See http://ec.europa.eu/trade/creating-opportunities/bilateral-relations/regions/africa-caribbean-pacific/index_en.htm.


Accessed 20 May 2011.
xxii. The stated article prohibits the imposition of new or more discriminatory measures on trade in services.
xxiii. This clause can be considered particularly contentious for countries which have not yet developed their services


economy and not yet put in place the relevant regulations for the sector, as it would basically imply a freeze in any
regulation that could have a discriminatory impact on foreigners.


xxiv. The Basotho are a Sotho-speaking people of Lesotho.
xxv. The Lesotho Public Service Association that sued the moneylenders had initially lodged their concerns with the CBL


for intervention. However, in the process of trying to resolve the matter they became impatient and therefore opened
a case in court, without notification of their intention to CBL.


xxvi. See www.finance.gov.ls for further information.
xxvii. See www.centralbank.org.ls for further information.
xxviii. See www.gov.ls/trade for further information.
xxix. See FINMARK Trust and GIZ (forthcoming).
xxx. Lievens et al. (2008).
xxxi. See www.mohsw.org for further information.
xxxii. Hospital services are described in the United Nations provisional central product classification as: “Services delivered


under the direction of medical doctors chiefly to inpatients, aimed at curing, reactivating and/or maintaining the health
status of a patient. Hospital services comprise medical and paramedical services, nursing services, laboratory and
technical services including radiological and anaesthesiological services, etc”.


xxxiii. The organization’s website is http://www.ltdc.org.ls/. The LTDC has an online 2009 Visitors’ Arrival Statistics Report.
xxxiv. This refers to the long-term development of the tourism sector in a manner that has a minimal impact on the environment


and the local culture in Lesotho, while generating sustainable future employment for the Basotho population.
xxxv. A mechanical device showing the number and amount of bets staked on a race to facilitate the division of the total


among those backing the winner.
xxxvi. A person whose job is to take bets, calculate odds and pay out winnings.
xxxvii. See www.gov.ls/tourism for further information.
xxxviii. See www.ltdc.org.ls for further information.
xxxix. See www.gov.ls/local for further information.
xl. See www.lndc.org.ls for further information.
xli. See www.bedco.org.ls for further information.
xlii. See www.psc.org.ls for further information.
xliii. Generally there is little use of on-line booking systems in Lesotho due to the fear of illegitimate sites. Many sector


operators also don’t have either a website or email address, thus potentially frustrating efforts to market themselves
globally.


xliv. These requirements are the following: minimum capital outlay requirements and foreign equity requirements for
foreign-owned enterprises; enterprises must be empowered to conclude contracts on behalf of the parent enterprise;
automatic entry and work permits are granted for up to four expatriate senior executives and personnel with specialized
skills; the enterprises must provide training to locals.


xlv. Seventh Schedule to the Aliens Control (Amendment of Schedule) Regulations. Legal Notice 40 of 2011
xlvi. GATS/SC/114.


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Printed at United Nations, Geneva – GE.13-50307 – March 2013 – 447 –UNCTAD/DITC/TNCD/2012/1/Rev.1
New York and Geneva, 2013


UNITED NATIONS




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