Nov 282014
 

EMBU, Kenya, November 28, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — The Food and Agriculture Organization in collaboration with the Governments of Burundi, Rwanda, Kenya and Uganda launched yesterday the Eastern Africa project ‘Promoting Nutrition Sensitive Agricultural Diversification to Fight malnutrition and Enhance Youth employment Opportunities in Eastern Africa’.

The Kenyan Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries endorsed the project’s commitment to engaging the youth in aquaculture and poultry production in order to boost market opportunities emphasizing that it is important to facilitate access to markets and to enhance the capacity of young producers in marketing and agribusiness skills.

The project benefits four countries in Eastern Africa: Burundi, Rwanda, Kenya and Uganda and the USD 4 million project is already in implementation in the beneficiary countries. It aims to promote greater diversity and intensification in agricultural production, namely in poultry and fish farming to improve nutrition, and offer better job prospects for young people in Eastern Africa. In that regard, it was stressed that the aim is to promote business oriented farming for young entrepreneurs.

This project is one of four new projects funded by the Africa Solidarity Trust Fund worth a total investment of USD 16 million, set to benefit 24 countries in West, Central, East, and Southern Africa, encompassing youth employment and malnutrition, transboundary animal and plant diseases, food safety and urban food security. In his address, Mr. Tijani noted, “We as Africans must address food security and build capacity of rural youth to obtain decent employment in the agriculture sector and improve their entrepreneurial skills.”

Youth in Agriculture, key contributors to food and nutrition security

Young people under the age of 24 represent more than 60 percent of Africa’s population and over 70 percent of them live on less than USD 2 a day. By generating attractive and decent jobs for the youth in the rural agricultural settings, the project aims to significantly contribute to increased food security, improved nutrition and livelihood resilience that ultimately reduced rural poverty.

More than 500 youth farmers engaging in aquaculture and poultry farming are transforming lives in rural and peri-urban settings. The project targets to benefit about 5,000 people in each of the four countries (20,000 people in all).

For example, the Kenyan and Ugandan component of the regional project will receive support of USD 1,000,000 over a period of three years. This will enhance access to markets and increase the availability of good quality fish fingerlings and feeds and thereby increase the overall production, marketing and value addition capacity of local aquaculture value chains.

In Burundi and Rwanda, the project will invest USD 800,000 with focus on the poultry component aiming to address food security and build capacity of rural youth in these countries to obtain decent employment in the agriculture sector and improve their entrepreneurial skills.

The launch was held in Embu County, Kenya, in presence of the FAO Assistant Director-General and Regional Representative for Africa, Mr. Bukar Tijani, and the Kenyan Permanent Secretary of Fisheries in the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries, Professor Micheni J. Ntiba; the Embu County Governor, Mr. Martin Wambora, high-level Government officials from the four countries, and FAO Representatives for the Eastern Africa Sub-regional Office, Djibouti, Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda and Uganda.

Nov 282014
 

DAKAR, Sénégal, November 28, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — The Honourable Christian Paradis, Minister of International Development and La Francophonie; Annick Girardin, France’s Minister of State for Development and La Francophonie; and Awa Marie Coll-Seck, Senegal’s Minister of Health and Social Action, today issued the following statement at the close of an important meeting on Ebola held on the margins of the XVe Sommet de la Francophonie [15th Francophonie summit], co-hosted by ministers Paradis, Girardin and Coll-Seck.

“Member country participants of La Francophonie have expressed their support and solidarity for those countries battling Ebola and collectively recognize the importance of strengthening health care systems to better manage such threats now and in the future,” said Minister Paradis. “We are resolved to strengthen La Francophonie’s efforts to collaborate and coordinate with the United Nations. We will do this by encouraging the creation of innovative partnerships to build on each of our strengths and maximize our contributions to advance our response to the Ebola crisis.”

“France has mobilized since the beginning of the crisis to support countries in the region, particularly Guinea,” said Minister of State Girardin. “It implemented, along with its Guinean partner, concrete actions to improve the training of health care personnel, set up several treatment centres and put controls in place at the Conakry, Guinea, airport to prevent the country from becoming isolated. We need to mobilize to win the fight. France is strengthening its commitment and has agreed to play an increased role in coordinating aid to Guinea, in cooperation with the United Nations. France is already working with Guinean authorities on the post-Ebola agenda in terms of both health and economic and social development.”

“Senegal is pleased that this Francophonie summit provides member states with the opportunity to increase their commitment in order to more effectively fight Ebola,” said Minister Coll-Seck. “This dreadful disease is currently a public health concern and a threat on the global scale since, in the absence of a vaccine, it could spread. Senegal appreciates the international community’s efforts to stop the disease, but we must remain vigilant and continue to mobilize at all levels in a global partnership. Senegal also calls for increased solidarity with Ebola-affected countries and in the fight against stigmatization and discrimination.”

“Canada remains gravely concerned by the threat that Ebola represents to the people and countries of the West Africa region and beyond,” said Minister Paradis. “We have demonstrated strong support for the work being undertaken by governments in the West Africa region in close collaboration with the United Nations Mission for Ebola Emergency Response, the World Health Organization, the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement and other international and non-governmental partners. Today, the Government of Canada announced it is giving an additional $20.9 million to humanitarian organizations fighting Ebola, including $5 million to the Croix-rouge française to support the operation of Ebola treatment centres in Guinea. With Canada’s support, more Ebola-infected patients in Guinea will receive the treatment and care they need to survive. Canada will continue to invest in strengthening health systems, biosecurity, food security and sustainable economic growth over the long term in this region.”

Nov 272014
 

London, United Kingdom, November 27, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — The Positive Action for Children Fund (PACF) is proud to announce 103 grants for 2015 totalling £5 million. 54 new grants and 49 extensions will be funded to support community responses to help end mother to child transmission of HIV thereby delivering crucial services to mothers, children and HIV affected families.

Logo: http://www.photos.apo-opa.com/plog-content/images/apo/logos/viiv.jpg

PACF partners with local organisations working to improve the health and wellbeing of women and children affected by HIV, and the communities they live in. All PACF projects work to strengthen ties between these communities, local health systems and governments, so that more families have access to information, prevention measures, testing and care for HIV. Together these interventions safeguard women’s and their families’ health in an effort to meet the targets set out in the Global Plan (http://goo.gl/jDZfVi) towards the elimination of new infections among children by 2015 and keeping their mothers alive.

PACF partners address a range of factors related to mother to child transmission of HIV in their community, ranging from promoting women’s and girls’ access to education and health services, to testing infants early for HIV, to improving retention of mothers in local HIV services. According to the Global Plan statistics, the total number of new HIV infections in children was halved between 2009 and 2011 in low- and middle-income countries. The Global Plan predicts that by 2015, the number of children acquiring HIV infection can be reduced by 90% from the baseline year of 2009.

In 2015, more than 50 organisations will be partnering with PACF for the first time. Thanks to these new partnerships, PACF will be reaching into previously unsupported countries, including Togo, Angola and Colombia. Their work will extend into 25 countries.

“It has been a rewarding year for PACF in terms of the quality, number and geographical coverage of grants awarded with increased focus on the support of small scale projects,” said PACF Board Chair Catherine Peckham.

Of the 103 new and extended partnerships announced for 2015, almost 90 partners are community based organisations focused on smaller initiatives, showing an ever stronger trend towards supporting localized projects. PACF aims to reach key populations that are often in rural areas and are underserved by health facilities.

For those community based organisations in need of support to sustain their work, PACF provides unique capacity-building assistance through one-on-one mentorship with experts in the HIV sector. This special attention enables community based organisations to strengthen and sustain their programming, as well as extend HIV prevention and treatment services, and antenatal care to more people who need it.

“Supporting projects that bring real change for HIV-affected communities is the reason ViiV founded PACF in the first place,” said ViiV CEO Dominique Limet, “We are proud to be partnering with such groups across the world that are bringing this to fruition. They can really play an essential role into the mission we share. ViiV Healthcare is absolutely committed to communities affected by HIV and AIDS.”

Distributed by APO (African Press Organization) on behalf of ViiV Healthcare.

About the Global Plan and women and children living with HIV.

The Global Plan, launched by UNAIDS and the United States Office of the Global AIDS Coordinator, includes two ambitious targets for 2015: reduce the number of children newly infected with HIV by 90%; and reduce the number of pregnancy-related deaths among women living with HIV by 50%.

According to the Global Plan, about 199,000 children were newly infected with HIV in 2013, less than half the number in 2003, when the number of children acquiring HIV infection peaked at 570,000. In addition, approximately 70% of pregnant women living with HIV received antiretroviral medicines to prevent mother-to child transmission of HIV in 2013, compared to 33% in 2009. With accelerated efforts, the Global Plan predicts the number of children acquiring HIV infection can be reduced by 90% by 2015 from the baseline year of 2009.

Without treatment, up to 40% of babies born to HIV-positive mothers will start life infected, and almost half of them will die before they are two years old.

About the Positive Action for Children Fund

In 2009, ViiV Healthcare committed to invest £50 million in the PACF over ten years. Now entering its fifth year, PACF has contributed more than £24 million to support families in HIV-affected communities. Today PACF funds over 200 projects on four continents.

PACF’s efforts align to UNAIDS’ Global Plan and the World Health Organisation’s prevention of mother to child transmission (PMTCT) Strategy, both of which aim to eliminate new HIV infections among children and keep their mothers alive. PACF also aims to alleviate the impact of HIV and AIDS on women and children’s health by supporting interventions that engage affected communities, developing their capacity to participate and lead.

About ViiV Healthcare

ViiV Healthcare (http://www.viivhealthcare.com) is a global specialist HIV company established in November 2009 by GlaxoSmithKline (LSE: GSK) and Pfizer (NYSE: PFE) dedicated to delivering advances in treatment and care for people living with HIV. Shionogi joined as a 10% shareholder in October 2012. The company’s aim is to take a deeper and broader interest in HIV/AIDS than any company has done before and take a new approach to deliver effective and new HIV medicines, as well as support communities affected by HIV. For more information on the company, its management, portfolio, pipeline, and commitment, please visit www.viivhealthcare.com.

Contacts:

ViiV UK/US Media enquiries: Sebastien Desprez +44 7920 567 707

Marc Meachem +1 919 483 8756

GSK Global Media enquiries: David Daley +44 (0) 20 8047 5502

Melinda Stubbee +1 919 483 2510

GSK Analyst/Investor enquiries: Ziba Shamsi +44 (0) 20 8047 5543

Kirsty Collins (SRI & CG) +44 (0) 20 8047 5534

Tom Curry + 1 215 751 5419

Gary Davies +44 (0) 20 8047 5503

James Dodwell +44 (0) 20 8047 2406

Jeff McLaughlin +1 215 751 7002

Lucy Singah 44 (0) 20 8047 2248

GlaxoSmithKline cautionary statement regarding forward-looking statements: GSK cautions investors that any forward-looking statements or projections made by GSK, including those made in this announcement, are subject to risks and uncertainties that may cause actual results to differ materially from those projected. Factors that may affect GSK’s operations are described under Item 3.D “Risk factors” in the company’s Annual Report on Form 20-F for 2013.

References

1. Website link to Global Plan 2014 Progress Report: http://www.zero-hiv.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/11/UNAIDS-Global-Plan-Report-2014.pdf

Nov 272014
 

GABORONE, Botswana, November 27, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — At the end of a 13-day official visit to Botswana, the UN Special Rapporteur on cultural rights Farida Shaheed called on the country to embark on a “second phase of nation building that reflects, builds on and celebrates the rich cultural diversity of the country.”

Shaheed shared her observations on cultural rights issues ranging from the recognition of tribes, to language rights, to land rights, to the need to involve and engage with communities affected by Government policies. Shaheed identified a number of good practices and potential obstacles relating to the promotion and protection of cultural rights in the country.

The Special Rapporteur, who is mandated to monitor the enjoyment of cultural rights, stressed that issues relating to the recognition of communities as tribes under the Bogosi Act of 2008 needed to be addressed.

“Unlike the eight Tswana tribes who have a guaranteed seat in the House of Chiefs, other communities do not,” she said. Shaheed expressed further concern that the adjudication system based on the Kgosis (chiefs) often leads to the dominant tribe imposing its customary law on all groups in a particular tribal territory in civil matters.

Shaheed also identified language diversity as a possible area for improvement.

“While the use of Setswana as the national language has enabled most people in the country to communicate with each other, mother tongue education in the first years of schooling is certainly a way forward,” she said. “The risk of further disadvantage incurred upon children in remote areas who have no or minimal exposure to Setswana in their families and communities, in particular those residing in hostels without family support systems, is significant.”

Shaheed congratulated Botswana for its success in having the Okavango Delta included on the World Heritage List of UNESCO. She specifically welcomed the Government for its consultative process prior to the listing, as well as the recognition of the small numbers of people who have inhabited the Delta for centuries without any significant ecological impact.

“I have been assured by the government that there will be no fencing off of the area, no eviction of local communities, and no disruption of their rights of access to natural resources,” she said. The Special Rapporteur hoped that such steps would help to establish good practices both in this area, and in other parts of Botswana.

However, in many of the places she visited, Shaheed heard the frustration, anger, and fears expressed by community members, particularly of the San, Hambukushu, and Wayeyi communities. She stressed that many of these feelings stem from a lack of clear information and communication about policy and future plans, especially with regard to human/wildlife conflicts.

“The legacy of past violations of human rights needs to be acknowledged and addressed if the authorities wish to engage in meaningful consultations with communities for future projects,” she said.

“The Central Kalahari Game Reserve has been at the centre of considerable controversy since the Government decided to relocate all people residing there to settlements outside the Reserve,” said Shaheed. Despite a Court ruling confirming the right of the petitioners to return to the Reserve, concerns remain regarding an overly restrictive interpretation of the ruling and the right of offspring to remain on the reserve upon attaining the age of majority at 18. “I would like the Government to clarify the matter,” the expert said.

Shaheed also called for more alternative spaces for people, besides the traditional spaces offered by kgotlas governed by chiefs, to engage in sports and creative activities in both rural and urban centres. “I welcome the increased number of cultural activities being promoted by the Government, through numerous festivals and competitions across the country,” she said. “I encourage the Government to expand its support to non-traditional forms of cultural expression and to consider the establishment of a national arts council for the promotion and further development of art and creative industries.”

The Special Rapporteur visited Gaborone, Maun, Ghanzi / Dkar, Old Xade, New Xade, Shakawe, and the Tsodilo Hills, as well as several villages in the Okavango Delta, and Ramotswa. She met with Government officials, chiefs, artists, academics, and representatives of civil society.

The Special Rapporteur will present her assessment and recommendations in a report to the 28th session of the United Nations Human Rights Council in March 2015 in Geneva.

Nov 272014
 

DAR ES SALAAM, Tanzania, November 27, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — Tigo (http://www.tigo.co.tz) announced today the first of its regular quarterly payments worth 3bn/- (US $ 1.8 million) to Tigo Pesa users.

Logo Tigo: http://www.photos.apo-opa.com/plog-content/images/apo/logos/tigo-1.jpg

Photo: http://www.photos.apo-opa.com/index.php?level=picture&id=1065 (Tigo Tanzania General Manager, Diego Gutierrez)

This payment comes three months after the company paid a staggering profit of TZS 14.25 billion (US $ 8.64 million) accumulated in the Tigo Pesa Trust Account to become the first mobile money service in the world to pay profit to its users. Tigo Pesa has a subscriber base of 3.6 million customers.

Tigo General Manager Diego Gutierrez said “This second round of profit disbursement shows the company’s continued commitment to benefit and improve the lives of Tanzanians. The payment goes to all Tigo Pesa users including super agents, retail agents and individual users of the service.”

“The first payment was bigger due to the fact that the profit had been accumulated over a period of three and a half years. This second payment is the profit accumulated from funds held in trust in commercial banks for three months in the quarter July to September 2014,” the General Manager said.

Mr Gutierrez explained that, as before, the average return to a customer will vary based on their average daily balance in their Tigo Pesa e-wallet. This applies to super-agents, retail agents and individual customers.

The next installment for the quarter of October to December 2014 will be paid out in February 2015.

Distributed by APO (African Press Organization) on behalf of Tigo Tanzania.

For further information visit: www.tigo.co.tz or contact:

John Wanyancha – Corporate Communications Manager

Mobile: 0658 123 089

john.wanyancha@tigo.co.tz

About Tigo:

Tigo Tanzania (http://www.tigo.co.tz) is the leading innovative telecommunication company in the country, distinguished as a fully-fledged digital lifestyle brand. Offering a diverse product portfolio in voice, SMS, high-speed internet and mobile financial services, Tigo has pioneered innovations such as Facebook in Kiswahili, Tigo Pesa App for Android & iOS users, and East Africa’s first cross-border mobile money transfer with currency conversion.

The Tigo 3G network guarantees the best services to its subscriber’s in all regions across the country. Between 2013 and 2014 alone the company launched over 500 new network sites and plans to double its investment by 2017 in terms of coverage and additional capacity networks for deeper penetration in rural areas. With over 7 million registered subscribers to their network, Tigo directly and indirectly employs over 100,000 Tanzanians including an extended network of customer service representatives, mobile money merchants, sales agents and distributors.

Tigo is the biggest commercial brand of Millicom, an international company developing the digital lifestyle in 14 countries with commercial operations in Africa and Latin America and corporate offices in Europe and the USA. With the certain knowledge that only constant innovation will keep them on top, Millicom keeps creating greater shareholder value; applying their concept of “demand more” is how they do business and retain their position as digital lifestyle leaders in some of the most unique and challenging markets.

“SMILE, YOU’RE WITH TIGO”

Nov 272014
 

KHARTOUM, Sudan, November 27, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — To help address growing humanitarian needs in Sudan, the Government of Switzerland has contributed an additionalUS $523,013 to the Sudan Common Humanitarian Fund (CHF), making the total Swiss contribution to the CHF US $1,092,916 in 2014.

“Taking into consideration the fact that the number of people in need remains at a very high level, Switzerland decided to release still before the end 2014 a second contribution to the CHF in order to help for appropriate and well-coordinated humanitarian response,”said the Ambassador of Switzerland, Mr. Martin Strub.

Switzerland’s second allocation for 2014 comes at a time where humanitarian agencies are addressing critical needs of affected people across Sudan. Since the beginning of 2014, armed conflict has left 430,000 people newly displaced in Darfur. Moreover, many parts of Sudan are facing alarming levels of malnutrition, particularly affecting children under five. Meanwhile, the ongoing conflict in South Sudan has led to over 105,000 people crossing the border into Sudan.

“A second Swiss allocation to the CHF helps agencies continue projects that address pressing and critical humanitarian needs in Sudan,” said Ali Al-Za’tari, UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator. “This funding will benefit those who are most vulnerable, such as women and children, for whom healthcare and other life-saving assistance is often lacking.”

This year, the Sudan CHF has received support from Denmark, Ireland,the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom. The UK, Norway and Switzerland have provided second allocations, bringing cumulative contributions in 2014 to US $58 million.

Nov 272014
 

GENEVA, Switzerland, November 27, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — A leading member of Swiss based Quantum Global group’s Advisory Board (http://www.quantumglobal.ch) has today accepted a key UN post based in Vienna.

Célestin Monga, a Cameroonian national, an internationally recognized economist and currently Director of the Oxford University Press Handbook of Africa and Economics, has accepted the post of Managing Director at the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) (http://www.unido.org), the UN body mandated to promote and accelerate inclusive and sustainable industrial development in developing countries and economies in transition.

Photo Célestin Monga: http://www.photos.apo-opa.com/plog-content/images/apo/photos/141127.jpg

Logo Quantum Global group: http://www.photos.apo-opa.com/plog-content/images/apo/logos/quantumglobal.png

Appointed last year as a pro bono member to the Advisory Board of Quantum Global group, whose work targets African private equity, investment and infrastructure interests, Mr Monga has served with great distinction.

Welcoming the appointment, Quantum Global group Founder, Jean Claude Bastos De Morais, said,

“Célestin is a distinguished international figure who has brought tremendous vision and wisdom to our work and I know that he will continue to make a remarkable contribution to global development in everything he does. We warmly congratulate him on his appointment to this crucial UN post and we are delighted that he has agreed to retain his place on the Quantum Global group Advisory Board where we benefit greatly from his intellect, experience and insights. All my colleagues here at Quantum Global group are immensely proud to be associated with Célestin.”

Célestin Monga responded saying,

“I am humbled that UNIDO’s Director-General Li Yong offered me this new opportunity. For more than two centuries, industrialization has been the main engine of growth and prosperity in the world and has helped lift out of poverty hundreds of millions of people.

However, the realization that current modes of industrialization are neither inclusive nor properly sustainable has led the Member States of UNIDO to adopt the December 2013 Lima Declaration in which they agreed to promote Inclusive and Sustainable Industrial Development. I thank Jean-Claude for the strong support he provided to the Oxford Handbook of Africa and Economics and the Young African Scholars Program, which have given visibility and exposure to the work of many bright African researchers.

I am grateful to my Advisory Board colleagues at Quantum Global group for their support and I look forward to continuing working with them to foster synergies between the private sector and development institutions, and advance the global agenda of employment generation and social peace.”

Distributed by APO (African Press Organization) on behalf of The Quantum Global Group.

For media enquiries please contact:

Group Head of Communications, Mark Morley Tel: +41 798707039

About Quantum Global

The Quantum Global Group (http://www.quantumglobal.ch) is an international investment partner and asset manager providing access to specialist advice and unique investment opportunities and consists of the following entities, Quantum Global Investment Management, Quantum Global Private Wealth, Quantum Global Alternative Investments, Quantum Global Research Lab and Quantum Global Corporate Services. For more information, visit www.quantumglobal.ch.

Célestin Monga

A Cameroonian national, Mr. Monga is currently the Director of the Oxford University Press Handbook of Africa and Economics and has held various Board and senior executive positions in academia, financial services and international development.

Among a host of professional achievements gained during a stellar career, he served on the Board of Directors of the internationally acclaimed Sloan School of Management – specifically its Fellows Program at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) – meanwhile he has also held teaching posts at both Boston University and the University of Bordeaux.

An author, scholar and academic, he was the Economics editor for the 5-volume New Encyclopedia of Africa (Charles Scribner’s, 2007) and his published works have been translated into multiple languages. Elsewhere he has co-authored academic articles and policy reports with many of the world’s economists including Joseph Stiglitz, Robert Solow (both Nobel Prize winners), Justin Yifu Lin, Robert Barro, Olivier Blanchard, and John Kenneth Galbraith.

Célestin Monga is currently leading the Oxford Handbook project, whose contributors include Roger Myerson (Nobel Prize), Joseph Stiglitz, Jeffrey Sachs, Paul Collier, Benno Ndulu, Ernest Aryeetey, Kaushik Basu, Justin Yifu Lin, and dozens of others.

A graduate of MIT, Harvard, and the universities of Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne, Bordeaux and Pau, Mr Monga began his career as a senior executive with Banque Nationale de Paris group.

Nov 272014
 

OTTAWA, Canada, November 27, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — Canada’s Minister of International Development and La Francophonie, the Honourable Christian Paradis, today announced that Canada is reinstituting direct development assistance to the Government of Burkina Faso.

“Now that constitutional order has been restored following October’s political instability, Canada is lifting its suspension of direct financial aid to Burkina Faso and will again provide the government and its institutions with development assistance.

‘‘We are satisfied that a legitimate and accountable civil authority is leading Burkina Faso toward what we hope will be peaceful and democratic elections in 2015.

‘‘Canadian development assistance is helping Burkina Faso to secure a future for children and youth, and to stimulate sustainable economic growth. We look forward to providing the government and its institutions with the help required to reach these development objectives in a climate of political stability and harmony.”

Nov 262014
 

MASERU, Lesotho, November 26, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — A technical team from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) led by Ms. Natalia Koliadina visited the Kingdom of Lesotho from November 17‒26, 2014. The team assisted the authorities with updating the near-term economic outlook and projections for the medium term.

At the end of the staff visit, Ms. Koliadina issued the following statement:

“Lesotho’s economic growth has slowed, partly because of the current political and security situation. Real gross domestic product is expected to grow by just over 2 percent in 2014/15, against 3½ percent a year ago. Construction in particular has been affected by delays in new investment—notably slow implementation of government projects. International reserves, however, have remained strong, mainly due to high government revenues from the Southern African Customs Union.

“Improving growth prospects and maintaining economic stability are the main challenges facing the government in preparing next year’s budget. Investing in physical and human capital, while sustaining ample international reserves would help address these challenges. This would require containing recurrent expenditure in the Fiscal Year 2015/16 budget, particularly on wages and salaries, and allocating sufficient resources for investment. In addition, strong budget planning and expenditure control is needed to increase the efficiency of public services. Following the upcoming elections, it will be important for government to address these challenges to ensure macroeconomic stability and inclusive growth.

“The team met with the Minister of Development Planning, Dr. Moeketsi Majoro, the Governor of the Central Bank of Lesotho, Dr. A.R. Matlanyane, the Acting Principal Secretary for the Ministry of Finance, Mr. Khosi Letsie, the Acting Principal Secretary for the Ministry of Local Government, Chieftainship and Parliamentary Affairs, Mr. Mikia Molapo, other senior government officials, representatives of the private sector, and development partners.

“The team would like to thank the authorities for the open and productive discussions. An IMF team is scheduled to return to Lesotho in mid-2015 for policy discussions in the context of the annual consultation mandated by the IMF’s Articles of Agreement.”