The government of Lesotho has signed three new financing agreements with the European Union (EU) worth EUR29 million (about M580 million).
The agreements are meant to support Lesotho in the three key areas of renewable energy, social protection, and inclusive governance.
The three new programmes are housed under the framework of the Global Gateway, the European strategy to boost smart, and secure links in digital, energy and transport sectors and to strengthen health, education and research systems across the world.
The EU and Lesotho also held their annual dialogue yesterday to
take stock of the status of their relationship and discuss issues of mutual interest.
Speaking at the unveiling of the agreements in Maseru yesterday, Finance Minister, Retsilisitsoe Matlanyane, hailed the EU for its continued support of Lesotho’s development aims.
The country would particularly benefit from the said the renewable energy funding to ensure energy security, improve access to reliable and affordable clean energy, and promote green growth.
“These financing agreements are under the new EU cooperation strategy Multi-Annual Indicative Programme 2021-2027, with the Kingdom of Lesotho. The Cotonou Agreement which was implemented through European Development Fund expired in 2020 and extended to December2021. The successor agreement (SAMOA Agreement as it will be called is already being implement and is expected to be officially signed in Samoa before the end of this year,” Dr Matlanyane said.
“As we are now embarking on the journey of the new financing instrument called multi-Annual indicative Programme with the three Financing Agreements that are being signed today, we are looking forward to your continued support and effective implementation of all programmes contained under this programme.”
Dr Matlanyane said Lesotho was appreciative of the EU’s continued support . The government was looking forward to working toward restoration of the budget support facility by the European Union. The EU had long suspended budgeted support to Lesotho because successive previous governments violated the norms and standards of accessing such support.
For her part, Paola Amadei, the EU’s Ambassador to Lesotho, said the European Union had been a strategic partner of Lesotho for nearly 50 years, providing support for Lesotho’s economic growth and social development.
“….Not only is our partnership a reliable and longstanding one, but it is one which has grown in size each year. It includes programmes …. …..and actions in support of the reforms process and justice, but also humanitarian assistance, education and vocational training and technical assistance,” Ambassador Amadei said.
Ambassador Amadei said the renewable energy project would provide technical support to public entities as well as private sector operators through business facilitation support.
“Once the Energy Bill is adopted, the programme will also help establish the National Energy Fund to leverage additional resources for renewable energy. As stressed repeatedly by Prime Minister Matekane, renewable energy is not only crucial to ensure Lesotho becomes energy independent with huge benefits for the country’s finances but can also create jobs and economic opportunities for the country particularly the youth,” she said.
Ambassador Amadei said their efforts were fully aligned with Lesotho’s national priorities and the objectives of the Global Gateway.
“We believe that Lesotho can set an example for the entire region and beyond, showing that a just and green transition is indeed possible,” Ambassador Amadei said.