The government of Lesotho and the United States through the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) on Thursday signed the M4.5 billion Lesotho Health and Horticulture Compact.

The signing marks the second time Lesotho and the United States partnered to build sustainable and inclusive economic growth for Basotho through the MCC compact.

Giving his remarks, the Prime Minister, Dr Moeketsi Majoro said Lesotho’s first MCA compact positively impacted Lesotho by eliminating binding constraints to growing the economy.

He said it required to achieve this critical goal by addressing; health as a constraint to economic growth and investment including by upgrading 138 health centres and 14 hospitals, installing 30,000 improved pit latrines across the country, and delivering portable water to 95,000 households in the surroundings of the Maseru District.

He said it is also required to remove obstacles to business investment including providing and stabilising water supply to industry and adopting several investments 3 climate reforms and complementary social equity legislations.

“Today, I am proud to pronounce that bank lending jumped from about 15 percent of deposits before Compact I to nearly 70 percent of deposits and thus improving access to credit by both genders. The textile industry stabilised and remained invested in Maseru for the last 10 years. As a result of the several investment reforms, banks in Lesotho treat women and men alike in their lending decisions and banks have better information about borrowers’ credit histories and can thus lend with reduced risks. Lesotho’s first stock market listing has now taken place after many years of hesitancy,” Dr Majoro said.

Dr Majoro expressed gratitude to Ms. Albright, the dedicated MCC team, the Board of the MCC, and the government and the people of the United States for the second compact made available to Lesotho, He also thanked the  Minister of Finance, Mr. Thabo Sophonea for providing leadership all the way to this point, extending his gratitude to all members of the cabinet Investment Committee and many Basotho at large for providing advice to the compact development process, and the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Lesotho Millennium Development Agency (LMDA), Mr. Keketso Chalatse and equally dedicated team for overseeing the development of the compact for the last 8 years.

The United States Ambassador to Lesotho, Ms. Maria Brewer said this ceremony is special to Basotho because of what this compact will mean to the country’s economic development.

She noted that all three projects under the MCC compact represent a tremendous investment to the people of Lesotho in particular women, youth and rural communities.

She said the MCC intended the money to create tents of thousand of jobs and encourage public-private development.

Also speaking, MCC Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Ms. Alice Albright said during the previous compact, MCC and the government of Lesotho helped rural families access basic healthcare through the construction and rehabilitation of more than 130 health centres, provided thousands of citizens with clean water and improved commercial services.

She said MCC is now partnering with the government of Lesotho to create jobs, a healthy force, and improve the government’s ability to support the people of Lesotho and create sustainable and equitable economic growth.

she mentioned that MCC and the government of Lesotho will continue to work together on the compact’s administrative requirements, including the establishment of the Lesotho government office that will manage the compact.

MCC Chief Executive officer Ms. Alice Bright and the Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Relations, Mrs. Matšepo Ramakoae served as the compact signatories.

More than 200 government officials and the private sector were present to witness the signing ceremony.

By Staff Reporter: ‘Maphoka Likotsi




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