- Lesotho's resolve in uprooting corruption, especially in implementation of large projects should be testimony to its cooperating partners, of its capacity and commitment to development.
Prime Minister Pakalitha Mosisili, left no stone unturned today at the launch of entry into force of US$362.6 million millennium challenge account (MCA) grant for Lesotho's development projects.
The five-year compact will fund about 17 projects in areas of health, water and private sector development, all aimed at reducing poverty and increasing economic growth.
Mr Mosisili said launch of compact disbursement today was marking a day when plans on paper could become a reality, calling on all tasked with implementation of projects to bring a true meaning of the grant to ordinary lives of men and women in villages of Lesotho.
He reminded the nation that launching of entry into force was genuine start after preparations and planning, appealing to all to ensure success for future generations of Lesotho. "We can no longer afford to fail, failure is not an option in the implementation," Mr Mosisili stressed.
He also appealed to all those engaged in implementation to do away with partisan politics and other petty social ills, which have been holding back national development, saying MCA implementation was above party politics. "I say leave your party politics at your homes, even if your party is that of mine," Mr Mosisili said boldly.
United States Ambassador to Lesotho Bill Nolan said entry into force of Lesotho compact was not only an historic moment for both countries. "Today Lesotho compact becomes effective. Today the US government will officially obligate $362.5 million grant," he said.
He also said the day marked an era when challenges will be left behind and focus be on future, adding that MCC believed in involving everyone from civic groups, elected officials, and ordinary people, in development processes.
Lesotho's compact is said to be one of the most ambitious ever signed by MCC, said Mr Nolan, who added that US government has confidence in Basotho people and thus the grant approval.
He mentioned that apart from MCC grant, US also has strong commercial ties with Lesotho, mentioning returns of over $500 million annually from textiles exports as well as jobs created from AGOA benefits in Lesotho.
Ambassador Nolan also mentioned that in addition to Global Fund's contribution to fight against HIV and AIDS to Lesotho, US government under president's emergency plan for AIDS relief was also to make an injection of $140 million in the next five years which will focus heavily on prevention as well as building capacities in human resources in health care to complements Lesotho government's efforts.
Lesotho's compact with MCC was signed in July 2007 and aims at increasing among others clean and safe water to mainly urban households as well as increasing manufacturing sector through lowlands water project, while also improving health infrastructure and services especially for poor rural communities. The project will also seek to expand economic activity for private sector development by improving access to finance, especially for marginalised groups such as women.
Lesotho is a small kingdom, which gained independence from Britain in 1966 and is completely surrounded by republic of South Africa. With a population of just below 2 million, Lesotho has one of the highest HIV/AIDS prevalence with 23.2 per cent of adults infected.
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