Brussels, 23 June 2021, OACPS: Lesotho is the first country to benefit from the Policy Support Facility (PSF), an innovative mechanism set up by the Secretariat of the Organisation of African, Caribbean and Pacific States (OACPS) to enhance thequality and efficiency of R&I policy systems.

The kick-off meeting, held today in a hybrid mode (online and onsite), marks the official start of the PSF service, aimed at assisting the Lesotho Ministry of Communications, Science and Technology to define an inclusive, evidence-based Research and Innovation Policy, and providing recommendations for the development of a national Innovation Agency.

It has brought together around 70 key stakeholders, representing various ministries and universities in Lesotho, the Secretariats of the OACPS and the South African Development Community (SADC), the delegation of the European Union (EU) in Lesotho and the South African Department of Science and Innovation.

Speaking on behalf of the Secretariat of the (OACPS), Dr. John F. Kakule, Expert, Science and Technology at OACPS, emphasised that, “with a well-coordinated R&I system, funding can be sourced and progress made in R&I. Thus, it is primordial for Lesotho to develop a specific R&I policy that should bring synergy to the R&I environment “.

The PSF service in Lesotho will contribute to:

  • Raising the profile of innovation in Lesotho;
  • Synergising the national R&I system and promoting open science and innovation;
  • Enhancing collaboration among government, academia, industry and civil society to make R&I beneficial to society;
  • Improving inclusiveness through mainstreaming gender equality in (science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) and Indigenous Knowledge Systems;
  • Achieving the UN SDGs, the objectives of STISA 2024 and the ‘Agenda 2063: The Africa We Want’

It will be carried out over a period of six months, by an Expert Panel of four high-profile specialists in different R&I domains who will actively collaborate with the national team of Lesotho and the PSF team.

In his intervention, Mr. Tomas Pallas, Science and Technology focal point of the EU delegation in Lesotho, cited the, “hope to improve Lesotho’s economy through this R&I policy” expressed by Mr. Lefa Thamae, Director of the Department of Science and Technology and Coordinator of the national team. He also referred to the importance of ownership, mentioned earlier by Prof. Mosotho George (Research associate at the National University of Lesotho): “He has clearly said that investment by donors or technology transfer on its own is not enough. There has to be ownership by the authorities, the country, the universities, the private sector … I cannot stress enough how this word is important for the policy to be successful.”

Hon. Tšoinyana S. Rapapa, Minister of Communications, Science and Technology, underlined the important role the new policy should play in “fast-tracking research and innovation activity” in the country when he officially launched the PSF service ‘Development of a national R&I policy in Lesotho’.

Launched in January 2021, the PSF is one of the components of the OACPS Research and Innovation Programme, implemented by the Organisation of African, Caribbean and Pacific States (OACPS) and funded by the European Union (EU). The Programme has a three-pronged approach to unlock innovation potential in the 79 OACPS member countries:

  • PSF to enhance the quality of R&I policies and systems,
  • Innovation Fund to foster a conducive R&I environment, and
  • Web portal to cross-fertilise knowledge and experiences between R&I actors.

For more information on this PSF service, please download:

Please also visit the webpage of the PSF service in Lesotho

Photo: Representatives of key stakeholders at the kick-off meeting of the PSF service in Lesotho