Book Launch

Exploring decent work in the pharmaceutical industry: Job creation in the production of medical cannabis in Lesotho and Zimbabwe

Launch webinar. The book is based on the findings of a research project carried out by the ILO under the direction of Sabrina De Gobbi. The research was conducted in collaboration with the National University of Lesotho and the University of Zimbabwe.

Medical cannabis has a long history in African traditional medicine. Nonetheless, its use remains illegal in most countries in the region, and it is not integrated into the pharmaceutical sector at large. The pharmaceutical industry and the development of medical cannabis production in Lesotho and Zimbabwe – were the focus of this research project.

This book seeks to determine whether medical cannabis can indeed create jobs and wealth, notably in comparison with tobacco, for which the medicinal plant is deemed to be a viable substitute crop. It also explores the extent to which medical cannabis production and foreign investment in this area can benefit domestic pharmaceutical industries. Moreover, it considers the labour and environmental standards applied in the pharmaceutical sector, measuring the performance of multinational companies or foreign-owned enterprises against those standards, especially in the medical cannabis industry. The interviews and surveys conducted for the underlying research project yielded data that allow one to assess decent work deficits in the pharmaceutical sector of Lesotho and Zimbabwe. Although these data need to be interpreted with caution, it is hoped that they will help to shed some light on a scarcely investigated field of research.


Rick Samans – Director, ILO Research Department
Sabrina De Gobbi – Economist, ILO Research Department
Dr. Motselisi Mokhethi and Dr. Regina Thetsane, Associate Professors, National University of Lesotho
Dr. Charles Chavunduka, Deputy Dean, Faculty of Engineering and the Built Environment, University of Zimbabwe

Moderator: Alessandro Ippolito Neira