By Limpho Sello
MASERU — Lesotho has secured a second Compact with the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC), a US based agency which sponsors development projects in poorer countries.
According to MCC vice president Khamran Khan one of the factors Lesotho was chosen for the second Compact was because of its control of corruption and adherence to principles of democracy during the rollout of the first compact.
In 2008 Lesotho was granted a Compact valued at US$362.5 million (over M3 billion) which ended in September last year.
The five-year Compact helped to expand water supply for household and industrial use, strengthened the country’s health care system and removed barriers to foreign and local private sector investment.
Khan said based on the first Compact’s report, the board had been impressed with the status of rural water and was hoping for the incorporation of more local business persons in the second Compact.
Lesotho was one of the six African countries which were considered for another Compact at last month’s meeting which was held in Washington, USA.
The meeting had resolved that a new Compact with Lesotho would offer MCC the opportunity to have a significant impact on reducing poverty and creating economic growth in the country.
The government of Lesotho committed over M500 million of its own money to complete unfinished construction and fund complementary investments.
Through the compact, MCC also supported the passage of landmark legislation that empowered Basotho women by ending the second-class status of married women and granting spouses equal rights.
The board had also re-selected Ghana, Liberia, Morocco, Niger, and Tanzania to continue development of their respective compact proposals.
Khan told a media briefing last Friday that Lesotho made incredible strides in the first compact hence looked forward for greater impact in the second Compact.
He said he was in the country to meet government, the private sector and the civil society for discussions on the second Compact.
Khan said the discussions would be done consultatively where analyses would be made on what areas should be given priority in the second compact.
Meanwhile, Khan did not disclose how much the second compact would be worth, as that is yet to be determined by the MCC board in consultation with the US Congress.