Summary: The report looks at Lesotho, a predominantly mountainous, land-locked, poor country with a small population, limited natural resources, and a very fragile ecology. It has low gross national income, and a significant poverty level. To ameliorate this condition, the government has embarked on a pro-poor, growth strategy that includes public, and private investment in infrastructure. It explores the level of private participation at this phase in the evolution of the reforms, which is considerable, given the country's small size, limited institutional capacity, and lack of public and private investment capital. Telecommunications has recorded the most significant reform of any of the infrastructure sectors. Other than telecommunications, reforms in other sectors have not advanced significantly. Not surprisingly, the report identifies specific lessons learned from the telecommunications sector, and examines their relevance to reform efforts under way in the other sectors. In summary, this report finds that private participation in infrastructure could offer Lesotho three key advantages: 1) augmenting budget resources in cases where the private sector undertakes to finance projects, or services that would not otherwise be funded, 2) improving the quality and efficiency of service delivery, and, 3) accelerating investments in infrastructure. By the same token, the report makes clear that private participation in infrastructure (PPI) carries significant down-side risks that, despite the best of intentions, could lead to negative fiscal impacts, lower than expected service quality, disruptions to service, or more dire consequences. The report presents an action plan with three primary elements: 1) the creation of a PPI Facilitation Unit to assist line ministries in implementing PPI projects; 2) specific priorities pertinent to each respective infrastructure sector; and, 3) cross-cutting reform measures addressing policy, regulatory, and legal actions needed to provide an enabling framework, and facilitating environment for PPI projects.
Official, scanned versions of documents (may include signatures, etc.)