Navigation path

Left navigation

Additional tools

Other available languages: none


Brussels, 9 September 2011

EU development cooperation with Lesotho

Under current EU programming, the long-standing partnership in the water sector continues. In addition, the EU helps in the fight against HIV/AIDS through support to orphans and vulnerable children affected by the crisis. The EU also provides a large component of general budget support to the government and finances projects in the area of justice, food security, human rights and decentralisation.

General cooperation

Lesotho currently receives support from the 9th and 10th European Development Funds (EDF). In addition, the country has also benefited substantially from European Commission’s funding for action in the fields of HIV/AIDS, food security, promotion of human rights, reinforcement of non-state actors, and other policy priorities.

Cooperation between the European Commission and Lesotho in the current programming cycle under the 10th EDF (2007-2013) focuses on general budget support in line with Lesotho's own national development strategy. The current interim National Development Framework for fiscal years 2009/10-2010/11 sets out four priorities:

  • High, shared, sustainable, private sector-led economic growth;

  • Protecting the vulnerable and enabling the disadvantaged;

  • Fostering good governance to improve delivery of public services; and

  • Promoting Human Development.

The financial envelope under the 10th EDF is €139.3 million and is allocated as follows.

Key cooperation priorities and sectors

€ million

General Budget support


Focal Sector 1 – Human development


Focal Sector 2 – Water and Transport


Non-Focal Sectors (including interventions in the justice sector, support to decentralisation and for non-state actors)


Total for 2007-13


Source: Country Strategy Paper 2007 – 2013

Examples of EU projects

During his visit, EU Commissioner Piebalgs will visit some key projects which helped to protect water resources and improve sanitation for the people in Lesotho and supported the fight against HIV/AIDS. Both projects are run in partnership with the private sector and the government.

Maseru Waste Water Project

To support Lesotho in its efforts to meet the Millennium Development Goal (MDG) of increased access to clean water and sanitation, the EU has provided a grant to the Lesotho government to rehabilitate and expand the sewage system of the capital Maseru. This successful project directly benefits 50% of Maseru's population of over 200,000. Improved sanitation will also contribute to the attainment of health related MDGs, in particular, the reduction of child mortality for which Lesotho is currently off track.

The project will include the construction of 127 km of new sewage network, an increase in household connections from 1,821 to 7,821, and the building of 3 new pumping stations and a waste water treatment plant. It is an example of successful blending of grants and loans. The total EU contribution to the project is €24.3 million: a €10 million grant from the EU Water Facility and a loan of €14.3 million from the European Investment Bank. 15% of the project financing comes from the Lesotho government.

Water sector

The EU has provided funding of €100 million to the water sector in Lesotho. In addition to the Maseru Waste Water project the recently completed Three Towns Water Supply and Sanitation project has upgraded potable water supplies to the towns of Roma, Teyateyaneng and Maputsoe. This project will provide reliable, clean water to almost 80,000 people together with adequate treatment for domestic and industrial waste water.

Current EU programming moves away from the project financing approach in favour of sector budget support earmarked to the water sector. In the coming three years the EU will contribute €38.8 million directly to the budget of the government of Lesotho for use in the water sector to support implementation of the Lesotho Water and Sanitation Policy. The transition from EU-funded water projects to providing budget support for a country-owned sector strategy is in line with current donor aid philosophy, which focuses on country ownership, aid effectiveness and efficiency and sustainability of measures.

The Apparel Lesotho Alliance to Fight AIDS (ALAFA) project

ALAFA is a flagship project in Lesotho which mitigates the impact of HIV/AIDS on the productivity of the textile industry, the largest formal employer in Lesotho. It has received funding of €0.5 million from the EU.

The apparel industry provides close to 40,000 jobs, in more than 40 factories, producing 19% of the country’s GDP. ALAFA offers quality HIV prevention services as well as medical care to women and men working in the textile industry. It is an excellent example of a public private partnership, driven by an alliance of the Lesotho government, donors, international brands, employee and employer representatives and service providers. Apparel brands and retailers have funded aspects of the programme and Lesotho-based manufacturers contribute by establishing workplace clinics and hiring staff nurses and peer educators. The Ministry of Health provides antiretrovirals (ARV), drugs for treating tuberculosis and sexually transmitted (STIs) diseases, laboratory services and HIV testing kits. Partnerships are also established with local organisations, such as Population Services International, which provides condoms for distribution in the factories.

Some achievements of ALAFA to date:

  • Access to prevention services (including condom distribution) for 36,675 employees

  • 33,183 HIV tests

  • Treatment of 19,219 STIs

  • Distribution of 4,500,000 condoms

  • Training of 1,172 workers as peer educators


Lesotho has the third highest HIV adult prevalence rate in the world at 23 percent; 27 percent of women, 18 percent of men (aged 15-49) and 39 percent of children under 5 are affected. At the end of 2008, the number of people living with HIV was estimated at 280,000, of whom 21,000 were children. The total number of orphans is estimated to be around 220,000. 185,000 HIV-positive people are receiving care (ARV treatment and pre-ARV monitoring).

The number of new infections remains extremely high: 18,000 in 2010. Lesotho has 50 HIV/AIDS-related deaths per day. The challenges are many: The country needs behavioural change, elimination of mother to child transmission as well as the distribution of condoms.

In addition to ALAFA, the EU's major contribution in the fight against HIV/AIDS is its support to the Orphans and Vulnerable Children programme run by the Department of Social Welfare with the assistance of UNICEF. This programme provides child grants and accompanying activities that cover the areas of health, nutrition, education, food security, safety, psycho-social support, HIV prevention, as well as capacity building to the Department of Social Welfare.

As of December 2010, approximately 4,520 households (accounting for approximately 13,700 orphans and vulnerable children) benefitted from the cash transfer. More than 33,000 youths were reached through HIV/AIDS prevention messages and almost as many were tested. 1,352 orphans and vulnerable children received non-formal education. With additional resources from the World Food Programme under a programme partnership, dry food rations were mobilized for 55,000 orphans and vulnerable children.

Also see:


Side Bar