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Lesotho, US to sign MCC second compact



MASERU – THE government will today sign for the second compact of a staggering US$322.5 million (about M5.3 billion) deal under the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC).
Lesotho qualified for the second compact in February this year.

Finance Minister, Thabo Sophonea, told parliament on Monday that they embarked on a campaign to build the MCC Second Compact since 2018.

“I am happy to inform this House that the signing of the Second Compact will take place in Maseru on the 12th between the two governments of Lesotho and the US,” Sophonea said.

He said the signing ceremony will be the last step signalling the accomplishment of the MCC Second Compact.
From there, the compact will be implemented.

Sophonea said Lesotho has contributed US$22.5 million (about M371 million) towards this compact with the US government contributing the rest of the funds.

He further told the House that the Compact comprises three different categories: developing health centres, horticulture through irrigation and improving entrepreneurs, businesses and the financial institutions.

The purpose of improving the health centres is to upgrade health services countrywide so that the government lowers medical expenditure for the entire nation.
Regarding horticulture, the minister said the production of fruits and vegetables through irrigation will help grow the economy and fight poverty at village level.

Sophonea said this project is meant to promote investment in horticulture, water conservation and the sustainable management of agrarian land.
He said the project involves the engagement of women and youths.

When the entrepreneurship sector is developed, there would be a sustainable creation of jobs and profit generation through small scale businesses operated by women and youths in the villages, he said.

Sophonea maintained that the Compact would be used as a tool to create sustainable jobs and ultimately result in an economic boom for the entire country.
He said promoting small-scale entrepreneurship is but another step towards the building of a strong economy.

“It is an honour for us as Basotho to sign this Compact because it is the first time in the history of the USA since 2007 that this Compact is signed outside America,” Sophonea said.

And he was quick to mention that Lesotho has goals and achievements that it wants to accomplish in this compact.
Meanwhile, Sophonea announced that the House has made considerable efforts as it has passed two Bills.

The first Bill is the Gender Based Violence Act of 2022 and also an amendment to the Laws of Lerotholi. Sophonea said they have an obligation to see to it that this project succeeds.

He said the expectation is that all the projects under this Compact should be completed by 2029. He said the US expects that the country will promote democracy and uphold the rule of law. The country is also expected to have good governance and be free of corruption.

Sebabatso Mothabeng

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