By Limpho Rantletse

Maseru –

The World Bank group board of executive Directors endorses a new country partnership framework (CPU) for Lesotho, laying out the World Bank group’s strategy in the country. This five years CPU is centered on three high level and long-term outcomes. They are increasing employment in the private sector through improving and enabling the environment for Micro, Small and medium enterprises’ growth to crowd in private investment for enhancing job creation.

According to the press release no: 2023/069/AFE, the strategy also improves human capital outcomes through the strengthening of quality education, health and social protection. It also strengthens climate resilience through improving the management of natural resources and access to climate change and access to climate resilient infrastructure. The CPU, which builds on the lesson of the previous CPU FY2016-2020 and the funding of the Systematic Country Diagnostic (SCD) update, is aligned with the country’s second National Strategic Development Plan.  The 2015 SCD emphasized the need to shift from private sector driven, export-oriented and job-creating economic growth model. This SCD update revisits the constraints and priority intervention identified in the 2015 SCD and posits that most of the challenges binding constraints identified the first SCD remain today.

Marie Francoise Marie-Nelly, the World Bank country director said The World Bank remains committed in supporting Lesotho development aspirations. The people of Lesotho are at the center of this new CPF with a strong focus on building their resilience to social, economic and climate shocks.

A stronger private sector can help enhance sustainable and inclusive economic growth, create job and reduce poverty in Lesotho. “The international finance cooperation is a longstanding partner with the government of Lesotho and its private sector, and we will leverage the new CPF to ramp up our effort to support projects that promote a conducive business environment, expand access to finance for smaller businesses, improve trade facilitation and deepen value chains,” this was said by Adamou Labafra, IFC country manager of Lesotho

The acting director of economics and sustainability; Hiroyuki Harashima said crowding in private finance is critical for Lesotho. The Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA) will continue to explore opportunities to use political risk insurance guarantees in promoting cross boarder investment in critical and emerging sectors.

The Country Partnership framework(CPF) will use innovative approaches to achieve impact at scale by adopting “a territorial development approach” to sharpen focus and ensure synergies in poor regions and urban areas. The program will directly support improvements in governance and capacity building in public sectors. Specific attention will be given to gender equality and digitalization throughout all activities. The CPF reflects consultations with the government, the private sector, civil society, youth and academia as well as development partners.

The World Bank group also signed the memorandum of understanding with Milken institute to collaborate to advance more inclusive and sustainable engagement with Historical Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs). The partnership will create career development opportunities for students and subject matter experts and promote social and economic development.

The new agreement follows a memorandum of Understanding signed in September 2022 between the World Bank Group and six historical black colleges and universities in the United States. The world bank group’s existing partnership with IFC Milk Institute includes the IFC-Milken Institute Capital Markets Education Program and the Public financial asset Management Program with the Bayes Business School at the city University of London.