The World Bank Group Executive Director, Andrew Ndaamunhu Bvumbe arrived in Lesotho yesterday on a two-day official visit that will put the World Bank funded projects on the spotlight, among other development issues.
In an interview yesterday, the Minister of Development Planning, who is also the World Bank Group Governor in Lesotho, Tlohelang Peter Aumane, said the World Bank Group Executive Director will meet with various actors, including government and the private sector officials, to discuss development issues. These will include economic opportunities in the country, the performance of World Bank funded projects and strengthening partnerships.
"Mr Bvumbe, the head of the delegation, will also meet King Letsie III, in his capacity as the African Union Nutrition Champion, in an effort to advance and discuss the World Bank Group's agenda on Human Development and its projects on multi-sectoral approach to early childhood nutrition," Mr Aumane said.
The discussion, he said, will particularly look at issues related to stunting, which is a major problem in Lesotho, considering the 33 percent prevalence rate.
"They will also discuss the World Bank's nutrition agenda on investing in "Early Years", as one effective way to end extreme poverty and boost shared prosperity," Mr Aumane said.
He said the ED is also scheduled to meet with senior officials at the Ministries of Development Planning and Finance; as well as the Governor of Central Bank, Dr Retšelisitsoe Matlanyane, to discuss wide ranging economic development issues.
Mr Aumane said the visiting delegation intends to also meet with members of the business community to talk about the World Bank's efforts in supporting private sector development in Lesotho.
"Mr Bvumbe and his team will also embark on a field visit to some of the World Bank supported projects including the Mahobong, Leribe fruit production initiative, under the Private Sector Competitiveness and Economic Diversification Project.
The World Bank Group portfolio composition in Lesotho is made up of nine projects, with a total commitment of $183 million, out of which, about $81 million was disbursed.
Among the projects are the Lesotho Private Sector Competitiveness and Economic Diversification Project (PSCED-II), the Lesotho Education Quality for Equality Project, the Water Sector Improvement Project Phase II, the Lesotho Health Sector Performance Enhancement Project, the Public Financial Management Reform Project, the Southern Africa Tuberculosis and Health Systems Support Project, the Smallholder Agriculture Development Project, the Public Financial Management Reform Project, and the Social Assistance Project.
Mr Bvumbe, is a Zimbabwe national whose professional background includes experience in macroeconomic management as a senior official in the Ministry of Finance, Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe and as Executive Director at the African Development Bank.
Prior to joining the World Bank Group, he served as Head of the Aid and Debt Management Office at the Ministry of Finance, Zimbabwe. Prior to that, he served as Permanent Secretary for Planning in the Ministry of Economic Planning; Director in the Privatisation Agency of Zimbabwe; and as Principal Director in the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development. He has also served as Chief Economist and Assistant Director for Economic Research and Policy at the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe.
Mr Bvumbe was Executive Director at the Board of the African Development Bank from 2007 to 2010, and Alternate Executive Director from 2005 to 2007.