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PRESS RELEASE

World Bank to help Lesotho improve Public Financial Management for more effective poverty reduction

February 6, 2014

WASHINGTON, February 6, 2014 – The World Bank’s Board of Directors today approved a US$5.5 million credit to the Government of Lesotho (GoL) to support their efforts for improving the country’s public financial management system.

“This project is an important part of the World Bank’s strategy to help Lesotho in its efforts to improve its capacity to utilize public resources more effectively,” said Asad Alam, World Bank Country Director for Lesotho. “It will support the implementation of the country’s National Strategic Development Plan with its focus on reducing poverty and job creation”.

A primary focus of the project will be the reengineering of its integrated financial management information system (IFMIS). This will facilitate improvements in the quality and timeliness of public financial management information. It is also expected to improve budget execution, and strengthen financial accountability.

Towards that end, the project will help simplify business processes, strengthen change management and aid capacity building for public servants in various government departments who are charged with Lesotho’s public finance management functions.  

“The Government of Lesotho has been struggling for many years to build a system that provides reliable and timely financial information for effective decision making. Fixing this is a crucial element to help improve service delivery and accountability to the people of Lesotho”, said Gert van der Linde, World Bank Lead Financial Management Specialist and Task Team Leader on the project.

The World Bank has been operating in Lesotho since 1966. Its current portfolio comprises seven projects under implementation including health, water, roads, education agriculture and competitiveness with a total commitment of about US$117 million of which US$59.2 million is still to be disbursed. This particular credit is provided free of interest over a 30-year period through the World Bank’s International Development Association (IDA)*.

* The World Bank’s International Development Association (IDA), established in 1960, helps the world’s poorest countries by providing loans (called “credits”) 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 averaged about $15 billion over the last three years, with about 50 percent of commitments going to Africa.

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PRESS RELEASE NO:
2014/319/AFR