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PRESS RELEASE

World Bank to help Lesotho Boost Growth and Job Creation

October 31, 2013

WASHINGTON, October 31, 2013 — The World Bank Board of Directors today approved a US$13.1 million credit to support the Government of Lesotho’s (GoL) program aimed at creating jobs by improving the country’s business environment and increasing diversification in new growth sectors such as tourism and horticulture through private sector-led economic growth.

“This project is an important part of the World Bank’s strategy to support the Government of Lesotho in its efforts to create jobs, reduce poverty and promote shared prosperity,” said Asad Alam, World Bank Country Director for Lesotho. “More specifically, it will support steps to improve access to finance, help boost income of small farmers and support the growth of the tourism sector.”

The project will facilitate improvements in Lesotho’s business environment by supporting regulatory reforms and efforts to streamline the processes for obtaining licenses and construction permits, which will reduce the number of days it takes to get a construction permit from 106 days to less than 65 days. It will also support the creation of an electronic portal for business licenses, which will include an online database of all laws, regulations, tariffs and steps for all types of trade and industrial licenses.

Furthermore, the project will improve access to finance by establishing a credit information bureau designed to provide a stable and predictable credit market. It will also support changes to credit requirements, such as allowing a diversified set of investments, including stocks and equipment, to serve as collateral for a loan, increasing the availability of credit to the unbanked population.

“Increasing access to finance for businesses and promoting investments by improving the business environment, particularly in new sectors with strong backward linkages to the local economy would increase opportunities for creating new jobs.” said Smita Kuriakose, World Bank Task Team Leader for this Project.

* The World Bank’s International Development Association (IDA), established in 1960, helps the world’s poorest countries by providing zero-interest loans and grants for projects and programs that boost economic growth, reduce poverty, and improve poor people’s lives. IDA is one of the largest sources of assistance for the world’s 82 poorest countries, 40 of which are in Africa. Resources from IDA bring positive change for 2.5 billion people living on less than $2 a day. Since 1960, IDA has supported development work in 108 countries. Annual commitments have increased steadily and av

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PRESS RELEASE NO:
2014/161/AFR