European External Action Service

05/17/2024 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 05/17/2024 03:20

Remarks by EU Ambassador H.E. Paola Amadei at the Official Launch of the Technical Assistance Programme between Central Bank of Lesotho and its Strategic Partners


Remarks by EU Ambassador H.E. Paola Amadei at the Official Launch of the Technical Assistance Programme between Central Bank of Lesotho and its Strategic Partners

I present my respects to His Majesty Letsie III and Her Majesty Queen 'Masenate,

The Right Honourable the Prime Minister Mr. Ntsokoane Samuel Matekane,

The Honourable President of the Senate, Mme Mamonaheng Mokitimi,

The Honourable Speaker of the National Assembly, Mr. Tlohang Sekhamane,

His Lordship the Chief Justice, Mr. Sakoane Peter Sakoane,

The Honourable Deputy Prime Minister, Mme Nthomeng Majara,

Ministers in His Majesty's Cabinet, and in particular:

Honourable Minister of Finance and Development Planning,Dr. Rets'elisitsoe Matlanyane,

The Governor of the Central Bank of Lesotho, Dr. Emmanuel Maluke Letete,

Their Excellencies Heads of Diplomatic missions and international organisations and members of their teams,

Representatives of Government Ministries,

Representatives of Civil Society Organisations,

Members of the Media,

All protocols observed

Khotsong bo-'Mé le Bo-Ntate,

It is with great pleasure to welcome you to the official launch of the support programme between the Central Bank of Lesotho, Ministry of Finance and Development Planning, and its strategic partners, namely the European Union and the World Bank.

In Lesotho, as in many countries, reliable and effective financial systems are a basic pre-requisite of having a dynamic private sector that can thrive and create decent jobs. But they are also key players in the face of global economic shifts and fostering inclusive growth that leaves no one behind. And that is where their potential for transformative change lies. By coming together in partnership, we not only mitigate risks but also unlock opportunities for innovation, resilience, and sustainable development.

The importance of this collaboration cannot be overstated. The Central Bank serves as the cornerstone of Lesotho's financial stability and economic growth. Its effectiveness directly impacts the livelihoods of every citizen and the overall prosperity of the nation. By strengthening its capacities, we lay the groundwork for a more resilient and prosperous future.

Through this technical assistance programme, in which the European Union is investing a total of LSL 6 million (EUR 300,000), we will harness the expertise of the World Bank to enhance the capabilities of the Central Bank in key areas such as Financial Sector Development Strategy (FSDS), policy and regulatory reforms, increasing Electronic Payment Acceptance (EPA) and strengthening Credit Reporting System (CRS). By providing tailored technical assistance, we will empower the Central Bank to continue fulfilling its mandate, navigate complex challenges, and seize emerging opportunities.

Together with the World Bank we have been supporting 13 countries in Sub-Saharan Africa to develop more resilient and effective financial services. But the partnership with the World Bank is only one of the tools that the European Union has at its disposal to support the Central Bank and the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning. We currently have a technical assistant embedded in the Ministry and supporting it with public finance management reforms, and, upon request, can also mobilise other facilities, including support to financial institutions with capacity-building on cyber security.

But beyond the technicalities, the partnership between the Central Bank of Lesotho, Ministry of Finance and Development Planning, European Union and World Bank signifies a deeper commitment to development and progress. It reflects a shared vision of a future where every individual has access to financial services, where economic stability paves the way for growth and prosperity, and where institutions are equipped to meet the evolving needs of our society.

It is also fitting that as we celebrate Europe month, we convene to launch a programme aimed at enhancing local capacities and setting the basis for future growth and prosperity for our partner country.

As we embark on this journey, let us do so with a sense of purpose, determination and solidarity. Let us leverage the collective wisdom and expertise of all stakeholders involved - majority of which are also present here today.

In closing, allow me to extend my sincere gratitude to the Central Bank of Lesotho and the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning for a continued fruitful partnership. May our combined efforts continue to bring improvements to the life of Basotho.

Thank you.

Khotso. Pula. Nala.


The technical assistance that the Central Bank of Lesotho will be benefiting from, is part of the Rapid Response Window for Investments and Business Environment facility - a European Union-funded, demand-driven facility implemented by the World Bank for the Sub-Saharan Africa region. The objective of this Facility is to support Sub-Saharan Africa partner countries - including Lesotho - to unlock private investments with a specific focus on job creation for youth and women.

The assistance provided will aim to strengthen the financial sector in Lesotho and enable better access to financial services for households and MSMEs in Lesotho. In doing so, it will also aim to address some of the persisting challenges faced by the financial sector in the country, namely:

  • Advancing and finalising the development of the Lesotho's Financial Sector Development Strategy (FSDS) and setting high-level outcome targets in key financial sector domains;
  • Identifying and prioritising set of legal, policy and regulatory reforms to be implemented during the strategy's implementation period;
  • Increasing Electronic Payment Acceptance (EPA) both from the demand-side (i.e. consumers and merchants) and the supply side (i.e. payment service providers);
  • Strengthening Credit Reporting System (CRS) to also complement the activities financed by the CAFI project and engaging in a policy dialogue with the authorities on the validity and feasibility of the policy, institutional and infrastructure reforms recommended by the initial assessments.