WASHINGTON, May 28, 2013 – In the just released Progress Report on the implementation of its 2010-14 Lesotho Country Assistance Strategy (CAS), the World Bank Group reported progress in strengthening access to public services, increasing job opportunities, and improving lives of people, especially in rural areas.
The current strategy, which has been reconfirmed as being relevant and appropriate for Lesotho, is anchored on three pillars: fiscal adjustment and public service efficiency; human development and service delivery; and enhanced competitiveness and diversification. In the period under review, the World Bank (IDA 16) committed US$35 million in grants and concessional credits. The ongoing portfolio of projects consists of seven operations for a commitment amount of US$136 million, of which 38 percent (US$51million) has been disbursed. IFC provided Advisory Services to a public-private partnership that resulted in a US$100 million capital investment and mobilized a $6.25 million grant, in the national referral hospital system.
“We are encouraged with the strong results achieved under the World Bank Group programs.” said Asad Alam, World Bank Country Director for Lesotho. “But a lot still needs to be done to support the country's efforts to fight poverty and boost shared prosperity.”
Key achievements of the CAS program from 2010 to date have been:
- construction of two high level bridges on Senqu-Senqunyane rivers;
- construction and/or rehabilitation of 30 km of rural roads and 27 km of urban roads, and strengthened institutional capacity for roads management;
- completion of advance infrastructure for the Metolong dam and laying of about 7.5 km of pipelines between Metolong and Teyateyaneng;
- IFC acted as lead transaction advisor to government on the development of the 425-bed Queen Mamohato Memorial Hospital, a pioneering public-private partnership transaction that delivers improved clinical services to 20,000 inpatients and over 300,000 outpatients at three filter clinics in greater Maseru.
- IFC assisted the Government to enter into a medical waste PPP at three districts in the country. This PPP assists Government in piloting the new national regulations for Health Care Waste Management in preparation for national implementation.
- 120 reception classes were supported by funding, 120 care givers, 120 cooks, and procuring food stuffs under the school feeding program;
- 803 qualified teachers receiving monetary allowances under the teachers’ incentive scheme, 343 teachers trained at the Lesotho College of Education, and 4900 textbooks procured;
- 33 civil works contracts for the construction of classrooms and latrines are currently under implementation in the districts of Mokhotlong, Thaba-Tseka and Qachas’s Nek;
- supported two skills development centers which trained about 1562 people and placed about 1162 people in various industries;
- 200 local SMEs received funding and business advisory services from the Bank-supported Lesotho Enterprise Assistance Program (LEAP); and
- three pilot sites for horticulture farms were supported under the economic diversification project.
“We are very pleased with the positive outcomes reported in the CAS Progress Report. We will continue to partner with the World Bank Group in our effort to preserve macroeconomic stability and fiscal sustainability, and achieve a private sector led growth which is critical for creating employment for Basotho,” said Dr. Leketekete Ketso, Minister of Finance in Lesotho.
The 2010-14 CAS remains relevant to Lesotho’s development challenges and the Government’s priorities as articulated in the National Strategic Development Plan (NSDP FY2012-FY2017). For 2013-14, Bank support will be channeled towards improving maternal and newborn health services, helping job creation through economic diversification and improvements in the investment climate, improving efficiency of social transfer programs, and strengthening public financial management systems, IFC is working with government on three new PPPs that are in feasibility study stage involving the health sector, renewable energy, and tourism.
Over the remainder of the strategy implementation period of 2013-2014, a total of about US$55 million in grants and concessional credits is planned. Along with the recently approved US$16 million Maternal and Newborn Health Performance Based Financing project ( US$12 million concessional credit and US$4 million trust fund (grant) resources), new projects being prepared are the Development Policy Operation, the Private Sector Competitiveness 2 Project, and the Public Financial Management Reform project.