From African Press Agency-
Maseru (Lesotho) The Support to Financial Inclusion in Lesotho (SUFI) is an investment scheme which is expected to change people’s lives for the better, a United Nations official disclosed here Wednesday.
This is according to the Resident Representative of the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) Coordinator of the UN systems in Lesotho, Miss Ahunna Eziakonwa-Onochie at the launch of SUFIL in Maseru on Wednesday.
The theme for the launch was “The role of microfinance in achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) for poverty alleviation and job creation in Lesotho”.
“The major financial institutions in this country are commercial banks, which unfortunately have a very weak linkage with the rural or informal economy,” she added.
She pointed out that supporting the financial inclusion of the poor in Lesotho has the potential to enhance lives by mobilizing domestic savings, aiding self-help projects for the job creation and improving local livelihoods, both in the informal and formal employment sector.
She mentioned that this will primarily be in the form of microfinance instruments such as small loans, savings, insurance and agricultural finance.
At the same occasion, the Chief Executive of the Private Sector Development and Financial Affairs, Lekoatsa Lichaba said that the government of Lesotho established Post Bank as a vehicle through which the poor can have access to the financial institutions.
He indicated that the joint program is consistent with the National Vision 2020, adding that it is also supporting the United Nations Capital Development Fund (UNCDF) strategic objective one which aims at strengthening the enabling environment and capacities of financial service providers in 25 Least Developed Countries to provide pro-poor products.
SUFIL is a joint program between the government of Lesotho and the UN, especifically the UN Capital Development Fund and UNDP.
The funding sources of this program are UNDP, UNCDF, Central Bank of Lesotho and the government of Lesotho.