THE World Bank has approved a US$26.5 million (M424.7 million) loan to the Lesotho government to improve the efficiency and equity of selected social assistance programmes as well as strengthen the livelihoods of poor and vulnerable households in selected communities.
June 29, 2022
2 min read
World Bank loans Lesotho M425 million
World Bank Country Director for South Africa, Marie Francoise Marie-Nelly
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The Pathways to Sustainable Livelihoods Project (PSLP) will support poor and vulnerable households to engage in productive economic activities, as well as work with the Ministry of Social Development to strengthen their social protection systems and support digitalisation.
“This project supports the government’s efforts to address the unexpected shocks that have been brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic, and now the rise in global food and fuel prices as a result of the Russia-Ukraine crisis,” said Marie Francoise Marie-Nelly, World Bank Country Director for Lesotho.
“Now, more than ever, it will be important to continue building an efficient, equitable and shock-responsive system.”
Despite the fact that the country spends the most among African countries and twice that of its neighbors on social protection (6.4 percent as a share of GDP), equity remains an issue with little of that expenditure going toward programs that target the poorest.
The project will therefore enhance human development outcomes and increase equity of the social assistance system. It will improve household resilience to shocks and climate change in line with the newly adopted social development approach, introducing measures to link beneficiaries of its social assistance programmes to sustainable livelihood opportunities.
“Safety nets, for instance, remain the main vehicle available to channel resources to the poor and vulnerable during crises, and as such, should be maintained and regularly funded,” Ms Marie-Nelly said.
The project will further support government to address the goals outlined in their National Social Protection Strategy II (NSPS II 2021-2031), which has a strong focus on the efficiency and responsiveness of social protection.
The primary goal of the strategy is to make programmes more targeted and better coordinated, which will in turn help reduce poverty and food insecurity as well as promote sustainable livelihoods.
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The project is further aligned with the NSPS’s three priorities of developing preventive social protection programmes, which include measures to avert poverty and food insecurity, to promote pathways for social assistance beneficiaries into sustainable livelihoods as well as to provide transformative social protection measures targeted at addressing inequality.
The government of Lesotho recognises the importance of social protection and has made substantial investments in developing social protection programmes and their accompanying delivery systems, as part of its commitment to protecting vulnerable groups.
Over the last 20 years, Lesotho has sought to develop and scale up a lifecycle approach to social protection programming.