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- New OPEC Fund loan supports rural development in Lesotho with US$19 million
New OPEC Fund loan supports rural development in Lesotho with US$19 million
The OPEC Fund for International Development has become the largest supporter of a program that will create sustainable livelihoods in Lesotho with a US$19 million loan. The “Regeneration of Landscape and Livelihood Project” (ROLL) will benefit rural communities in the southern Africa country, whose economy is largely based on agriculture with 70 per cent of rural households depending on it.
The goal of ROLL is for rural communities to adopt transformational practices for regenerated landscapes and sustainable livelihoods. For this, the program aims at adapting practices of using resources, the reduction of environmental degradation, the improvement of livelihoods, and securing funding for landscape regeneration.
The project will be rolled out in northern, northwestern, central and southern regions of Lesotho, covering around 2,240 villages and directly benefitting 100,000 people corresponding to 68,000 rural households, and indirectly reach approximately 340,000 people. Out of these, 40 percent will be women and 20 percent young people who are expected to particularly benefit from the creation of new income generating activities.
OPEC Fund Director-General Dr. Abdulhamid Alkhalifa said: “We are proud to commit with partner organizations to support this innovative, inclusive and important project. By adopting sustainable land management practices, leading to a better integration of the agricultural ecosystem, strengthening of climate change resilience and diversification of household incomes, rural communities will be able to transform landscapes and livelihoods, reversing the downward spiral of over-exploited natural resources, declining productivity, poor nutrition and increased poverty.”
The OPEC Fund is joining the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), the Global Environment Facility, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, the government of Lesotho and others in support of the program. Half of Lesotho’s 2.1 million population lives below the national poverty line (US$1.65/day) and the country experiences a “rural urban divide” with a rural poverty rate of 61 percent according to IFAD. Access to arable land is considered one of the major challenges for the country’s development.
About the OPEC Fund
The OPEC Fund for International Development (the OPEC Fund) is the only globally mandated development institution that provides financing from member countries to non-member countries exclusively. The organization works in cooperation with developing country partners and the international development community to stimulate economic growth and social progress in low- and middle-income countries around the world. The OPEC Fund was established by the member countries of OPEC in 1976 with a distinct purpose: to drive development, strengthen communities and empower people. Our work is people-centered, focusing on financing projects that meet essential needs, such as food, energy, infrastructure, employment (particularly relating to MSMEs), clean water and sanitation, healthcare and education.
To date, the OPEC Fund has committed more than US$22 billion to development projects in over 125 countries with an estimated total project cost of US$187 billion. The OPEC Fund is rated AA+/Outlook Stable by Fitch and AA/Positive Outlook by S&P in 2021. Our vision is a world where sustainable development is a reality for all.