The State of ICT in Lesotho (2016)
While Lesotho has made significant progress towards its national vision of 2020, it faces several challenges as a small landlocked, lower-middle income country, with mountainous terrain and low population density outside of the capital, Maseru. The five-year National Strategic Development Plan (NSDP) 2012/13 - 2016/17 identified ICTs as the backbone of a modern economy, and contributing to the reduction of risks associated with urbanisation, poor infrastructure, poverty, unemployment and inequality. Yet, currently close to 65% of the population have not accessed Internet. The purpose of the study is to establish a baseline for ICT sector performance in Lesotho, and propose policies and strategies that will support the transformation of the country towards a more knowledge-based economy. The focus is therefore on broadband. However, in order to achieve universal access to broadband, a baseline of the entire industry needs to be undertaken to establish where Lesotho is currently and to devise appropriate strategies to achieve its vision. For these reasons, the review looks at the entire ICT ecosystem. This holistic view reveals the linkages between policy and markets, the different elements of the value chain, and the impact of institutional arrangements on the market, to better inform evidence-based policy and regulation.