PSF experts in the field for an in-depth analysis of the national R&I system in Lesotho

The field visit marked a significant milestone in their 6-months mission to assist the country in developing an efficient and inclusive Research and Innovation policy and setting the basis for the development of a national R&I agency.

From 6 to 10th of September, the PSF experts conducted in-depth interviews and hold workshops with a wide range of key stakeholders (various Ministries, academics, private sector, international organisations and CSOs), in order to engage them in a constructive exchange of ideas.

Accompanied by the Policy Support Facility (PSF) Technical Assistance Unit, the international group of four experts has worked in close collaboration with the national team, led by Mr. Lefa Thamae, Director of Science and Technology in the Ministry of Communication, Science and Technology (MCST).  The experts encountered more than 150 experts and officials from over 20 institutions and discussed with them challenges and priorities of the national R&I ecosystem.  

(Caption of the photo,  from left to right: Mr. Lefa Thamae, Director of STI and coordinator of the national team; Mr Mucktarr M.Y Darboe and Ms. Denise Mary Galvin- international experts; Prof. Mantoa M. Sekota-rapporteur; Mr. Alessandro Bello, PSF Team OACPS R&I Programme; and Prof. Leboli Zakia Thamae-chair) 

A stakeholder’s engagement workshop, held Friday 10 September in Maseru, gathered around 70 stakeholders, to discuss the main characteristics of the R&I policy, highlighting the importance of having an inclusive and holistic approach for better ownership and impact.

The Minister of Communications, Science and Technology, Hon. Tsoinyane Rapapa, present at this meeting,  expressed his “special gratitude directed to the Organization of African, Caribbean and Pacific States (OACPS) who made this exercise possible through financial assistance from the European Union (EU)” and stated “that “research and innovation policy shall provide guidance and framework to fast-track research and innovation activity in the country. It is through innovations that new jobs will be created, new Entrepreneurs and leaders, the SADC innovation and technology framework has already been developed and we as part of SADC have to keep up with other SADC countries.”

Following this field phase and further fine-tuning discussions with the national team, they will now start drafting a Policy Recommendation Report (PRR), a set of recommendations for both an inclusive and evidence-based Research and Innovation Policy and the development of a national Innovation Agency.

Lesotho is the first country to benefit from the Policy Support Facility, an innovative mechanism launched in January 2021 by the OACPS Research and Innovation Programme (see Kick-off meeting).

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