The EU–SADC economic partnership agreement (EPA) came into force in October 2016 and offers Lesotho a number of tariff preferences above competitor countries in the EU market. These preferences become more significant the more processed a product is. The tariffs are supported by liberal rules of origin, while the implementation of the agreement will be supported by EU development cooperation, with an EUR2 6 million (about $7,010,600) envelope announced recently. However, Lesotho continues to face challenges in producing the necessary volumes of products that meet the standards required to export to the EU. This policy briefing explores some of the reasons for this and makes recommendations on how the EU and South Africa could play a critical role within the ambit of the EU–SADC EPA to promote agriculture and agro-processing in Lesotho. This will have a direct positive impact on women and youth employment and ultimately poverty alleviation.
Author: Talitha Bertelsmann-Scott