REMARKS BY THE UNDP Deputy Resident
Representative, Mr. Georges van Montfort, ON THE OCCASION OF THE
KNOW ABOUT BUSINESS PLANNING WORKSHOP – YOUTH EMPLOYMENT PROJECT, TY,
February 10, 2009
I would like to start by paying my respects to:
The Honourable Minister, Ms. Mathabiso Lepono, Ministry of Gender,
Youth, Sport and recreation;
The Principal Secretary, Ntate Theko;
ILO colleagues, from Geneva and Pretoria
Bo ‘Me le Bo Ntate,
It is my great pleasure to be here to deliver the Welcome Address on
behalf of the Resident Representative of UNDP. It is indeed a
pleasure to have the presence and participation of our ILO
colleagues in this important workshop. ILO has been a strong partner
of the joint UN project on Youth Employment as well as within the
broader Delivering As One Agenda.
The Government of Lesotho has placed the creation of jobs,
especially for young people, as well as the establishment of
national institutional frameworks for enhancing youth employment as
a national priority.
Following that, a joint UN project to support these efforts was
established. Partners of this project promoting “Youth employment
towards poverty reduction in Lesotho,” are the Government of
Lesotho, UNDP, ILO, UNICEF, the Commonwealth Youth programme and the
Mineworker’s development Agency.
The youth of Lesotho is one of her most valuable asset. In today’s
globalised world, we all need to work together to ensure that youth
are given all the opportunities available to work towards a better
future for their country. Employment generation and enterprise
development are areas of focus and promise for Lesotho.
However, the world is facing a growing youth unemployment crisis.
Poverty, skills drain, scarcity of jobs and relevant trainings leads
youth into and a negatively reinforcing cycle into poverty that is
dangerous for countries.
The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) set forth a global agenda to
end poverty by 2015. Interventions in the areas of education,
health, HIV and AIDS and employment can break the poverty cycle;
without such interventions, poverty tends to take root over
One of the priority areas of support for the UN is employment
creation and strengthening of the national capacity to create
employment opportunities for women, men and youth. A result of which
was our Youth Employment project run in collaboration with the
Ministry for Gender, Youth, Sports and Recreation.
The project’s strategy was aimed at the enabling policy environment,
enterprise development training and building resources and
partnerships for the project. The training of trainers and trainees
on enterprise development is a crucial component that the project
has focused on. It is envisaged that youth of Lesotho are trained to
start their own enterprises and therefore kick start the chain of
successful enterprise development and job creation in Lesotho.
However, we are aware, that further market linkages and partnerships
should be developed to ensure sustainability and results. As such, I
urge other development partners to join the UN and the Government in
The joint UN project on YE is an example of a successful partnership
between all the stakeholders in Lesotho, the Government of Lesotho,
the UN partners and the local partners. The pilot project has
successfully provided training to 1324 young men and women, and 266
enterprises have been established, out of which 166 were established
after the provision of credit. Indeed, it is clear that such
collaboration and partnerships can deliver sustainable results.
The Final evaluation of the project is nearly completed, and it is
clear that the project has been able to increase/improve the
livelihoods of the young men and women. This pilot joint project has
been able to successfully promote youth employment in Lesotho at the
levels of policy, at the community level and from the partnerships
level. The Ministry of Gender, Youth, Sports and Recreation has
recognized the results of the pilot project and its significance for
the future and has requested the UNDP for a new programme to follow
up from the pilot project. The outcomes and results and lessons
learned of the pilot project will guide the UNDP’s response in the
The Know About Business Package training of trainers that is
starting today is another integral component of enterprise
development. The ILO’s KAB is a training package on entrepreneurship
awareness designed for teachers and trainers who engage with young
people. It aims to build the capacity of those who educate young
people such as students in secondary education, trainees/students in
vocational and technical training institutions and university
It is clear that Youth employment can be successful when a variety
of strategic measures are put into place. I look forward to active
involvement an integration of KAB into the YE programme. KAB offers
enterprise development to be mainstreamed into the curricula of
schools. It plays a crucial role in developing the minds of students
and stimulating creative ideas for enterprise development.
Lesotho could benefit hugely from domestic ventures and schemes and
we depend on this next generation to come up with them and carry
them out. The fact that this workshop includes the formulation of
the WEDGE-SA country strategy for Lesotho, is extremely important
and timely as it will help further the agenda of pro-poor employment
I wish you a wonderful week of active participation, learning and
working towards increased enterprise development opportunities for
youth in Lesotho.