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EU offers development capital to Lesotho

 

Letuka Chafotsa

LESOTHO is among three countries, which also include Togo and Zambia, to receive over $1 billion (M10.9 billion) from the European Union (EU) for economic development under the bloc’s National Indicative Programmes (NIP).

The EU’s assistance to Lesotho is meant to support the attainment of the National Strategic Development Plan (NSDP) whose objectives are to decrease the incidence of poverty and promote sustainable growth. This initiative was spurred by the recent global economic crisis which hit Lesotho’s economy hard through loss of textile exports and jobs.

In an interview with the Sunday Express, the EU Delegation to the Kingdom of Lesotho said the EU-Lesotho Country Strategy Paper for 2008-2013, funded under the 10th European Development Fund (EDF), has a budget of €139 million (M1,92 billion)to date.

“Funding was allocated to several priority areas where EU assistance can have the greatest impact. First,  the EU is supporting the NSDP, macro-economic stability and the improvement of the Public Finance  Management and public sector reform through general budget support,” the EU–Delegation revealed.

The second priority area was supporting the national water and sanitation strategy through sector budget support. The third area of priority, which is under the human development initiative, was complementing the social protection of orphans and vulnerable children. This was jointly managed by the European Commission and United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF).

The bloc is also supporting capacity building for decentralisation, improving the justice and governance sector and strengthening non-state actors as well as supporting the private sector.

Said the EU Delegation: “The impacts observed are as follows; the macroeconomic stability, better provision and maintenance of economic infrastructure, improved public finance management, accountability and social service delivery as well as harmonised and aligned development assistance as envisioned in the NSDP.”

“The impact was obtained through training for Public Finance Management and capacity building for relevant actors, including Ministry of Finance and Development Planning, the Office of the Auditor General, the Parliamentarian Public Accounts Committee and Economic Cluster Committee and the Lesotho Institute of Accountants.

“The passing of the Public Financial Management and Accountability Act 2011 was an important step forward; however, it has yet to be adequately implemented. The Public Financial Management Reform Action Plan requires that the management and coordination of Development Cooperation be strengthened to contribute to increased transparency and effectiveness of policy orientation of the budget,” said the EU- Delegation.

Other EU-funded complementary activities include the Capacity Building for Economic Planning and Integrated Financial Management Information System.

According to the EU Delegation, the actions under the 10th EDF were carried out in joint management with the National Authorising Officer in the Ministry of Finance and in close cooperation with the Ministry of Development Planning and other relevant actors, such as the Central Bank of Lesotho.

 “Lesotho authorities, together with the EU, have been carrying out regular consultations and reviews with International Organisations, such as the World Bank and International Monetary Fund (IMF), as well as with other donors and Civil Society Organisations,” the bloc added.

“All EU-Lesotho programmes are monitored and evaluated regularly and any deviations from the objectives are addressed accordingly”

 The European Union has also supported capacity building for economic planning in order to further improve public sector management, and in particular public financial management, in order to achieve the goals set out in the Vision 2020.

“The next programming period, the 11th EDF 2014 to 2020, foresees a total of €142 million (M1,96 billion) in support of the following priority sectors: water, energy and governance” stated the EU delegation.

 

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