European Commission European Development Commissioner Andris Piebalgs will arrive for a two-day visit in Lesotho on 12 September. The visit takes place in the context of the country’s preparations for local and parliamentary elections while dealing with the effects of a severe fiscal crisis.
Commissioner Piebalgs will also announce disbursements of €15 million that will enable the country to improve people’s access to clean water and sanitation and to further its development agenda
During his visit Commissioner Piebalgs will meet the Prime Minister of Lesotho, Pakalitha Mosisili, as well as selected members of his government, the leaders of governance institutions and representatives of the diplomatic community.
Prior to his trip, Commissioner Piebalgs said: “Lesotho currently finds itself at a critical juncture with two upcoming elections in the next six months. Free and fair elections are the best guarantee for the Basotho people that the country’s development will be sustainable and inclusive. I will call for deeper relations EU-between the EU and Lesotho, upgraded at a political level through regular and open political dialogue on cooperation, governance, trade relations and other topics of common interest. “
The visit recognises the solid partnership between the Kingdom of Lesotho and the European Union. Discussions with representatives of Lesotho will focus on ongoing cooperation, political relations and good governance.
The visit also confirms the EU’s commitment to help Lesotho in its ambition to achieve the Millennium Development Goals, to diminish the social effects of the HIV/AIDS crisis and to recover from its current fiscal crisis. In this respect, Commissioner Piebalgs will visit two EU financed projects:
- Commissioner Piebalgs will visit the Maseru Waste Water Project Plant jointly with Tamsyn Barton, Director General of the EIB: this project provides improved sanitation to more than 100 000 people in the Maseru capital and represents a successful example of blending EU grants with an EIB loan.
- Apparel Lesotho Alliance to fight AIDS (ALAFA), which supports the fight against HIV/AIDS among around 40 000 workers of Lesotho’s textile industry (See additional info in background MEMO/11/586 for both projects).
EU aid to Lesotho
In the period 2007-2013, Lesotho receives bilateral EU aid from the European Development Fund (EDF) amounting to a total of €139.3 million. The EU is currently providing a large proportion of its aid in support of the National Development Strategy and the Water and Sanitation sector strategy of Lesotho. In addition, the EU provides support to institutions in the justice sector, for decentralisation and non-state actors. It also has a programme with UNICEF to provide cash grants and social support for orphans and vulnerable children to mitigate the impact of the HIV/AIDS crisis that is undermining Lesotho’s development efforts. The announcement for disbursement to be made by Commissioner Piebalgs will cover €15 million from the 10th EDF.
Schedule of the trip
On 12/13 September, Commissioner Piebalgs will meet:
- Prime Minister Pakalitha Mosisili
- Minister of Foreign Affairs Mohlabi Kenneth Tsekoa
- Minister of Finance and National Authorising Officer Mr Timothy Thahane
- Minister of Natural Resources Monyane Moleleki
- Additional meetings are planned with representatives of governance institutions (Auditor-General, Chief Justice, Ombudsman, Director General of Directorate on Corruption and Economic Defences), political parties, civil society and NGOs, the private sector and the press.
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