Press Releases

New Hospital for Lesotho: IFC Advises on Public-Private Partnership

In Washington
Zibu Sibanda

Phone: + 1 202-473-0605


In Johannesburg

Daniel Musiitwa

Phone: +27 11 731 3175


Maseru, Lesotho, December 17, 2007— The government of Lesotho today announced that a regional consortium led by Netcare is the winning bidder for the country’s new National Referral Hospital, which is expected to dramatically improve the level and quality of the country’s publicly funded medical services.  IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, advised the government on the design and implementation of the project, a public-private partnership for the new public hospital.  

The new 390-bed public facility will replace the aging Queen Elizabeth II Hospital, whose staff and patients face shortages of hot water, heat, medical supplies, pharmaceuticals, trained staff, and regularly functioning equipment. The project requires the operator to design, build, partially finance, and fully operate the hospital, including the provision of clinical services, for a period of 18 years.

Operating costs for the new hospital are roughly equivalent to those at the existing facility.  This means that patients will have access to significantly better medical services at the same minimal charge they pay today.

The hospital project in Lesotho is the first of its kind in the region. It includes the refurbishment and upgrade of three semi-urban filter clinics that provide primary and secondary health care services to the public. Together with the hospital, these clinics will operate as a regional health network.  The project also anticipates receiving a grant of $6.25 million from the Global Programme for Output-Based Aid and a partial risk guarantee, both offered by the World Bank Group.

Honorable Timothy Thahane, Minister of Finance and Development Planning, said, “We welcome this landmark project, which will benefit the health of the nation and therefore strengthen the foundation of the nation’s economy. We believe that the public-private partnership approach provides the new hospital project with fiscal discipline, a focus on output, and accountability for results.

Honorable Mphu Ramatlapeng, Minister of Health and Social Welfare, said, “This project will greatly assist Lesotho in meeting the urgent challenges we face in the health sector.  Through this partnership, the government ensures that reliable, affordable, and higher-quality medical care will be provided by the private partner at the new National Referral Hospital.”

Bernard Sheahan, IFC Director of Advisory Services, said, “IFC is very pleased to work with the government of Lesotho on this pioneering transaction.  This project provides a new model for governments and the private sector to partner in providing health services for Sub-Saharan Africa and other regions. The partnership structure enables the government to offer higher-quality services more efficiently and within budget, while the private sector has a new and robust market opportunity in health services. ”

About IFC

IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, fosters sustainable economic growth in developing countries, helping to reduce poverty and improve people's lives, by financing private sector investment, mobilizing private capital in local and international financial markets, and providing advisory and risk mitigation services to businesses and governments. Established in 1986, IFC's Advisory Services Department has completed over 165 transactions in more than 60 countries and is the only multilateral institution to offer direct advisory services to governments on implementing private-sector participation transactions. In FY07, IFC committed $8.2 billion and mobilized an additional $3.9 billion through loan participations and structured finance for 299 investments in 69 developing countries. For more information, visit

About Netcare and the Consortium

Netcare is a leading private health care provider with operations in South Africa and the United Kingdom. It leads the winning project consortium, which includes South African and Lesotho firms and represents investors, doctors, and other service providers that are participating in the new hospital project.