Lesotho is a small landlocked country surrounded by South Africa, with a population of nearly two million people. Natural resources in Lesotho are scarce and fragmented, a result of the highland’s arid environment and the lowland’s limited agricultural space. The lack of natural resources and the country’s high poverty and unemployment rates have made the Lesotho population economically dependent on South Africa.
There are several development projects in Lesotho dedicated to increasing agricultural production, constructing income-generating activities and improving development effectiveness. Below are five development projects in Lesotho.
- Lesotho Highlands Water Project (LHWP)
The LHWP is a binational infrastructure project between South Africa and Lesotho intended to provide water to an arid region of South Africa and to generate hydroelectricity and income for Lesotho. Phase I of the project was completed in 2003; work on Phase II of the LHWP began in 2013. Phase II involves water transfer and hydropower components that are meant to increase both water transmission to South Africa and the amount of electricity generated in Lesotho by 2020.
- Cultural Heritage Plan
The Cultural Heritage Plan was developed and implemented in response to Phase II of the LHWP. Its objective is to preserve and manage Lesotho’s history by protecting cultural heritage and burial sites, rock art and Stone Age occupation sites.
- Lesotho Smallholder Agricultural Development Project (SADP)
Work began on the SADP in early 2012, as part of the Lesotho government’s National Strategic Development Plan, but the project’s design was restructured in 2016. The project’s development objectives are to increase and improve the marketed portion of agriculture output among project beneficiaries and to generate practical responses to an Eligible Crisis or Emergency.
- Sustainable Energy for All Project
In 2016, the Lesotho government implemented the Sustainable Energy for All project. Developed by the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) and the Global Environment Facility (GEF), the project’s goal is to improve access to clean energy services in the rural areas of Lesotho by 2021.
- Lesotho Data for Sustainable Development Project
The Lesotho Data for Sustainable Development Project was implemented by the Lesotho government in 2016 and is expected to reach its developmental goals by January 2018. The project’s objectives include the collection, analysis and distribution of development data; the construction of institutional and technical capacities for the management and evaluation of development projects; and to improve national and sectoral capacities to generate data and facilitate accountability for resources.
The rate of poverty in Lesotho has declined steadily over the last decade, an achievement credited to economic growth. With these development projects in Lesotho, the nation should continue to improve its capacity to address development challenges and constraints, to sustain growth and to prioritize human welfare progression.
– Gabrielle Doran