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Press Release

MCC, Government of Lesotho Launch $300 Million Health and Horticulture Compact

For Immediate Release

April 11, 2024

WASHINGTON (April 11, 2024) – The U.S. government's Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC), represented by Deputy Chief Executive Officer Chidi Blyden, celebrated the launch of the Health and Horticulture Compact today in Lesotho.

The $300 million Lesotho Health and Horticulture Compact, further bolstered by an additional $22 million from the government of Lesotho, will ensure greater access to quality healthcare, create equitable business development opportunities, and invest in high-value crop production.

Additionally, the compact seeks to boost profits and formal employment, and provide women and youth with skills training, business development opportunities, and better legal protections in land tenure.

“MCC and Lesotho have enjoyed a 20-year partnership. I am inspired by the Government of Lesotho’s commitment to reach this moment and write a new chapter in our longstanding relationship,” said Blyden. “Together, we will embark on the implementation phase of the compact to achieve our shared vision of growing the Lesotho economy with a healthy workforce and sustainable jobs.”

During the three-day trip, Blyden met with Prime Minster Sam Matekane, Deputy Prime Minister Nthomeng Majara, and Finance Minister Retselisitsoe Matlanyane to thank them for supporting the compact and to recognize the Government of Lesotho’s efforts to make the Health and Horticulture program launch possible. She also visited future project sites and spoke with stakeholders from the agriculture and health sectors to gain insight into the program.

“…We have just accomplished a major milestone that ushers the implementation of the second compact funded by the Governments of Lesotho and the United States of America,” said Prime Minister Matekane. “The job creation potential of the Horticulture project alone is estimated at 4000 jobs, not to mention the indirect jobs that will be created through packaging supplies, logistics, cold chain activities as well as the processing of the output.”

The Health and Horticulture Compact is comprised of three projects:

  • The Health Systems Strengthening Project aims to improve primary healthcare services and standards of care, improve healthcare financial and management systems, and work with the Ministry of Health to modernize health data systems.
  • The Market Driven Irrigated Horticulture Project aims to increase rural incomes through investing in climate-smart irrigation infrastructure and attracting commercial farmers to collaborate with local small-holder famers to produce high-value crops and build strong value chains. The project will also support government reforms and capacity to ensure inclusive and sustainable growth of the horticulture sector.
  • The Business Environment and Technical Assistance Project plans to increase profits for high-growth potential firms, including enterprises owned by women and youth and firms in rural areas. The project will work across key productive sectors like agriculture, creative industries, manufacturing, and tourism to support the growth of existing and new firms through technical assistance, business development services and linkages to financing opportunities. Grant funding will be available for select women- and youth-owned businesses to purchase equipment, goods, and facilitate business plan implementation.

The Lesotho Health and Horticulture Compact will build on the success of MCC’s previous compact with the Government of Lesotho — a $362.5 million grant that closed in September 2013. That grant helped fund one of the largest infrastructure improvement projects in Lesotho’s history, the Metolong Dam, expanding access to clean water for the people of Lesotho. The compact is also providing an estimated 752,000 people access to basic healthcare through the construction and rehabilitation of 138 health facilities and 14 outpatient departments — representing 90% of the health facilities throughout the country. Those facilities are a platform for the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) to mitigate the negative economic impacts of poor maternal health, HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, and other diseases.

The Millennium Challenge Corporation is an independent U.S. government development agency working to reduce global poverty through economic growth. Created in 2004, MCC provides time-limited grants that pair investments in infrastructure with policy and institutional reforms to countries that meet rigorous standards for good governance, fighting corruption and respecting democratic rights.