Lesotho receives M116m for health, education

MASERU — Lesotho has received more than M116 million from the International Development Association (IDA) to improve education and health services.
The agreement was signed by the Minister of Finance, Timothy Thahane and the World Bank country director, Ruth Kagia last Friday.
About M114.8 million is in form of a grant while the remaining M1.2 million will be a soft loan.
Thahane said over 700 000 poor Basotho are expected to benefit from services provided under the IDA funding.
The funds are also meant to drive growth and help cushion the poor from the effects of the global financial crisis.
Focus will also be on supporting Lesotho’s development strategy and its medium-term policy framework to restore macroeconomic stability in the wake of the global financial crisis.
The country is also working on bringing about long-term sustainable growth and poverty reduction, the minister said.
Thahane said the funding has come at “a critical time as we successfully cope with the combined effects of financial crisis and the global economic slowdown that has affected our public finance adversely”.
“These situations are also negatively impacting on the everyday lives of poor Basotho citizens,” Thahane said.
Kagia said improving the delivery of basic services and laying the foundation for sustainable recovery were the core development objectives of the grant.
“The focus on education and health services, inclusive growth, and macroeconomic stabilisation is essential for helping Lesotho to make a sustainable recovery from the financial crisis,” she said.
She said despite the global crisis Lesotho was doing very well with the grants it received from international donors.
The grant and credit support is designed to target the most vulnerable sections of society, including people affected by HIV/Aids orphans and vulnerable children.
It also intended to develop public sector expenditure and judiciary frameworks and promoting fiscal consolidation as well as stabilising the economy.

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