By Azania Post Reporter
BUSINESS associations in Lesotho have all reasons to smile following a boost from the African development Bank (AfDB) to support the sector.
Already AfDB and the Lesotho Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) a fund for African Private Sector Assistance (FAPA) have signed a grant agreement of US $915,000 to finance the economic diversification support technical assistance project.
The main project implementing partners and beneficiary associations include: Small Medium and Micro Enterprise Support Network; Lesotho Micro Finance Association, Lesotho Hotels and Hospitality Association, Youth Entrepreneurship Forum; Lesotho Federation of Women Entrepreneurs, Maseru Block Farming, Lesotho Chamber of Commerce and Industry, and Private Sector Foundation of Lesotho.
According to AfDB the agreement was signed by the Bank’s Deputy Director General for the Southern Africa Regional Development and Business Delivery Office (RDGS), Josephine Ngure, and the Lesotho Chamber of Commerce and Industry Chief Executive Officer, Fako Hakane.
The objective of the project is to improve the institutional capacities and effectiveness of business associations in Lesotho by improving partnerships, building capacity and delivery business development services.
It will help in developing a conducive environment for private sector development by strengthening business associations and networks to meaningfully participate in national and sectoral dialogue and foster cooperation among entrepreneurs and with the Government.
The project will complement and enhance effectiveness of the ongoing Bank’s support to the economic diversification support project by strengthening the institutional capacity of the business associations and networks to effectively engage with the public sector to promote private-sector development in Lesotho.
The project’s key components are: institutional assessment of business associations’ needs, capacity, relevance, delivery and stakeholders’ networking; development of shared services and business development support and strengthening private-sector and private-public sector dialogue.
Addressing the beneficiaries, Ngure, welcomed the partnership and collaboration between the Bank and Private Sector Associations in Lesotho, which resulted in the development of the technical assistance project. She also reiterated the Bank’s commitment, and continued support to foster private sector development in Lesotho with the aim to create jobs, reduce poverty and address inequality.
The Lesotho Chamber of Commerce and Industry CEO expressed his gratitude to the Bank for its support, which is the first of its kind in Lesotho, and confirmed LCCI’s commitment to strengthen its partnership with the Bank for the successful implementation of the project and to deliver results.
The Fund for African Private Sector Assistance is a multi-donor thematic trust fund that provides grant funding for technical assistance and capacity building to support implementation of the Bank’s Private Sector Development Strategy. The Governments of Japan and Austria, and the African Development Bank are active contributors to the fund.