Tuesday, July 13, 2010

IFC Supports Better Investment Climate and Small Businesses Growth in Lesotho

MASERU, Lesotho, July 13, 2010/African Press Organization (APO)/ — IFC Vice President for Business Advisory Services, Rachel Kyte, said today that IFC is committed to supporting private sector development in Lesotho by backing the country’s efforts to create a better investment climate and increase opportunities and access to finance for smaller businesses. IFC is a member of the World Bank Group.

During a two-day visit to Lesotho, Kyte met with senior government officials, including Minister of Finance, Timothy T. Thahane, and Minister of Health, Dr. Mphu Ramatlapeng. She also met with private sector clients and donors to find ways to strengthen IFC’s partnership with Lesotho’s private sector.

“IFC will support Lesotho’s commitment to introduce reforms to improve the business environment and attract private sector investments” Kyte said.

“IFC will have the largest development impact in Lesotho by working with our World Bank colleagues and focusing on small and medium enterprise development.”

IFC’s strategy in Lesotho focuses on proactively developing the small and medium enterprise (SME) sector, and exploring ways to strengthen the country’s reform agenda.

IFC is supporting the growth of SMEs in Lesotho by providing access to capacity building tools such as Business Edge and SME Toolkit. IFC is also actively seeking opportunities to finance microfinance institutions and facilitate increased bank lending to SMEs in the country through a combination of risk sharing facilities and advisory services.

IFC is looking to partner with Lesotho’s Ministry of Finance and the World Bank on investment climate initiatives to support the country’s reform agenda, and also supports new investment projects and public-private partnerships that promote growth in key economic sectors, including microfinance and financial services, manufacturing and health.

IFC facilitated a public-private partnership to build a 425-bed National Referral Hospital in Maseru to replace the country’s aging main public hospital. The new hospital is scheduled to open in 2011.

This $100 million privatization project, operated by the Netcare-led consortium Tsepong, is a landmark agreement that includes complete health care delivery, an annual fixed service payment to the consortium and comprehensive performance monitoring. The project benefits from broad participation of Lesotho doctors, local service providers and investors, and will also support training and job creation for the local population.

SOURCE: International Finance Corporation (IFC)