By:Thoboloko Ntšonyane

MASERU – The United States (US) reaffirms its commitment to supporting Lesotho’s path to economic growth and stability.

This comes to light during the recent commemoration of the US 248th Independence Day.

Acting Chargé d’Affaires Keisha Toms says the US has supported Lesotho over the past years through various initiatives, including substantial contributions to HIV prevention and treatment programmes, military training programmes and the injection of billions through the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC).

It will also be recalled that on April 11 the government of Lesotho and the US celebrated in Thaba-Bosiu the entry into force the MCC Compact II which is expected to create about 90 000 direct and indirect jobs during its five year implementation period.

“A cornerstone of our partnership has been our work together through the MCC, whose mandate is to partner with countries committed to good governance, economic freedom and investing in their people. MCC’s partnerships work to develop and implement programs that can lift people out of poverty and ensure a brighter tomorrow,” she highlights.

Toms points out that in its response efforts to fight HIV, the United States President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) have “consistently been the largest donor” to Lesotho and has to date provided more than $892 million, a tentative M16 billion over the past 17 years.

She continues: “The United States remains steadfast in its support for Lesotho’s journey towards prosperity, stability and self-reliance.  Lesotho holds a special place in the hearts of the American people, and our bilateral relationship continues to flourish across various domains. Together we strive to build a future where all people of the Mountain Kingdom can thrive and prosper.”

Acting Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Relations Hon Matjato Moteane says for the past 58 years, the US and Lesotho have enjoyed “a mutually beneficial cooperation based on equality, respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity”.

Central to this relationship, the Minister points out that the two countries continue to share commitment to advance economic development.

“With flagship Programmes such as the Millennium Challenge Account (MCA), Africa Growth and Opportunities Act (AGOA), PEPFAR, and others, Lesotho has gained significant economic advancement. The MCA grant provided additional access to clean water and improved sanitation facilities for domestic, commercial, and industrial users in both rural and urban settings.

“The 300 Million US Dollars (about M5,6 billion) Compact on Horticulture and Health launched in April this year will further add to poverty eradication efforts in Lesotho,” he says.

He adds: “Our participation at the recently held celebration in Dallas, Texas marking the 20th Anniversary of the MCC is testament to our commitment to Lesotho/United States relations. As we celebrate the achievements under our partnership with the American Government, it is our fervent hope that sooner, rather than later the Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) from the United States will be brought to the next level even as both sides intensify efforts to have a two-way trade and investment system.”

Moteane says the government’s commitment to further “enhance our relations with the United States of America is beyond reproach”.