EU gives Lesotho govt M2 billion

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. . . as bloc lauds political environment

By Ntsebeng Motsoeli

MASERU — The 11th European Development Fund (EDF) will give the Lesotho government M2 billion to finance, among others, water and energy projects, as well as governance programmes.
At a press conference on Monday, European Union Head of Delegation to Lesotho, Ambassador Hans Duynhouwer, said the money would cover a period of six years starting this
year.
“We have come to the end of EDF 10. In the last four years, we have disbursed a record amount of €170 million or about M2.5 billion,” said Ambassador Duynhouwer.
“We are now preparing EDF 11, covering the period of 2014 to 2020, an amount of €142 million (M2 billion). The sectors of concentration are water, energy and governance.”

Last year’s key financial activities on the European Union (EU) co-operation with Lesotho included the disbursement of M509 million — funds government used in programmes
aimed at fighting poverty, including the provision of clean water and sanitation,
grants to vulnerable children and improving government systems.

Decentralisation and the judiciary also benefitted from the support. According to Ambassador Duynhouwer, Lesotho has made tremendous progress on the political front.
“We believe that Lesotho has made great progress about the political situation. The gains from the general elections of May 2012 and the subsequent formation of the coalition
government are very precious. The country cannot permit to lose these,” he said.
“We trust that all players; government and the opposition, recognise and subscribe to the most important role the parliamentary institutions play in this.
“We expect that parliamentary activities will resume in the near future, addressing matters on the agenda such as several bills, new tax rates and also the motion (of no-confidence
in the government) introduced before the national assembly was adjourned.”

Ambassador Duynhouwer also briefed the press about activities, which include visiting and interacting with communities in all the country’s 10 districts in celebration of this year’s Europe Week.
The activities started on Monday in Maseru under the theme, “The European Union to the Districts”.
“This year’s theme of ‘The European Union to the Districts’ underscores the EU’s commitment to inclusive and sustainable development for all Basotho across the country.

The EU’s role as a key development and political partner of Lesotho is beyond doubt.

Deepening our partnership is a shared objective,” Ambassador Duynhouwer said.
He also announced that Monday’s breakfast with the media was his last as a new EU ambassador would take up the post in September.

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