What has been done:The enabling environment for sustainable enterprises in Lesotho was assessed through a careful review of secondary data, findings from a national perception survey of workers and employers (including owners and managers of companies), in-depth interviews and focus group discussions with relevant stakeholders in the country, and supplementary information from published and unpublished materials. The perception survey was conducted between November 2013 and January 2014 by Mthente Research and Consulting Services. The survey focused on 8 of the 17 conditions, which were prioritized at a tripartite workshop held in November 2013.
The Survey and its sample:The survey was conducted in two parts, first reviewing business owners’ needs and challenges, and second, reviewing the attitudes of workers (including professionals) with the aim of informing policy development of employers.
As part of the study, interviews were conducted with owners, managers and employees for a total of 242 respondents. As broadly reflective of Lesotho’s economy, a high percentage of these were in the wholesale/retail ( 22 per cent) and textiles/garments (11 per cent) sectors.For the other sectors, in descending order, there were 23 interviews in manufacturing, 20 in health and social work, 18 in hotels and restaurants, 15 in transport, storage and communication, 15 in education, 13 in electricity, gas and water supply, 10 in food processing, 8 in mining, 6 in construction, 2 in the agriculture sector, 2 in entertainment, 2 in community social and personal services, and 6 unspecified. Responses for agriculture, entertainment, community services, In terms of business size, the sample included 4 micro companies (1 to 2 employees), 63 small companies (3 to 9 employees) and 92 medium companies (10 to 49 employees). Among large companies, there were 25 companies with 50 to 500 employees and 42 companies with 501 to 3000 employees. Within the large enterprises’ segment, the survey focused on multinational companies. Within the overall sample, the three main categories of respondents were business owners (6 per cent of respondents), managers (35 per cent) and workers/employees (52 per cent). There were slightly more men than women respondents (56 against 44 per cent, respectively).
Results:The findings of the overall evaluation were presented, discussed and validated at a tripartite workshop held in Maseru in May 2014. There it was agreed that efforts should be
concentrated on only three areas in order to maximise the impact of the proposed measures toward improvement:
- Education, training and lifelong learning;
- Access to financial services; and
- Entrepreneurial culture
An action plan with specific outputs stemming from outcomes linked to priority areas and key players for action has been drafted by tripartite participants at the May 2014 workshop. The action plan was finalized and adopted at a dissemination workshop held in October 2014 in the presence of high-level policy makers. The implementation of the action plan will address some of the main issues emerging from this assessment and will contribute to the improvement of the enabling environment for sustainable enterprises in Lesotho. The action plan covers the period 2014-17.