Social protection in Lesotho: innovations and reform challenges

13 May 2015

Given its current socioeconomic conditions and fiscal ability, Lesotho has achieved an impressive record in creating a basic social assistance and social protection system, informed by political commitment and through budget reprioritisation. It has set up and administered near universal schemes operating at scale with fairly low transaction costs, addressing core areas and serving vulnerable constituencies – including the aged, orphaned and vulnerable children and children of school-going age. A contribution-based comprehensive national social security scheme to provide coverage for Lesotho workers and their families is also planned. Nevertheless, the task of providing adequate social protection coverage faces systems and delivery challenges; several human development indicators have worsened, and most of the Millennium Development Goals are far from being achieved. There is scope for creating greater fiscal space by establishing a compulsory national contributory scheme, and donor support in the short to medium term is inevitable