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LNDC speaks on big investment opportunities

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Mpolai Makhetha

MASERU

THE Lesotho National Development Corporation (LNDC) says there is an array of business and investment opportunities that need to be exploited.
The LNDC said this last Thursday while wrapping up the district road shows which it had been holding in the last few weeks.
To date, the road shows have been held in Mafeteng, Quthing, Qacha’s Nek and Mohale’s Hoek to sensitise small businesses of the existing opportunities.

Florence Motoa, speaking on behalf of the LNDC CEO, said they are determined to disseminate information that will help small businesses grow and improve the economy of this country.

Motoa said the LNDC is using a strategic plan that was officially launched in August that guides them on how to make their goal a success.

“The strategy that we use paves an easy way into business looking into the department of manufacturing after realising our long term mistake of looking more into textile,” she said.

Motoa said to ramp up their efforts, they are now looking into production of any kind including that of agriculture and food production.
Now it is clear that the world is swiftly delving into technology because there is a necessity.

“The LNDC sees the need to invest into technology,” she said.

The LNDC, in collaboration with the Lesotho Tourism Development Corporation (LTDC), is looking closely into tourism with a sole purpose of achieving development.
Motoa said they have a strategy for different sectors of development to work on the problem of access to finance.

“It is for this reason that we are working jointly with the banks to help put into use strategic plans,” she said.

The LNDC Investment Promotion Manager, ’Mabataung Tsinyane, said they are determined to invest in agriculture and processing, tourism, manufacturing, innovation and technology.

She said the priority products that are more exported in manufacturing are herbs and spices, processed wood, water, fish, hams and fruits.
Tsinyane said it is vital to invest in agriculture as per the agreements that Lesotho entered into with SADC and SACU members.

She said this will make it easier to access the international markets.
She also said the other important thing is that Lesotho is a member of the World Organization of Animal Health.

She said Lesotho was declared not having any animal related diseases and most importantly “we also do not have water borne diseases”.
Tsinyane said although the country has a market internationally, Basotho need to know that there is also a huge market within the country.

“They can invest in agriculture and sell them to Maloti Fresh and Litholoana tsa Basotho in Masianokeng,” she said.

Because of the beauty of the country, Tsinyane said, it would be an advantage to invest into tourism because it is capable of attracting tourists.

“Lesotho has a great chance to excel in manufacturing since it has quota free access to the United States of America,” she said, adding that it is also a beneficiary under AGOA.

Tsinyane said manufacturing needs water that the country has in volumes and is ideal for this industry.
She advised that small business owners could always bank on LNDC if they need to do proposals for investments.
She said the LNDC could guide them with points that could help them become successful.

“We also guide entrepreneurs on how to have good relations with their employees and also we also have a strategic unit in which we build financial instruments,” Tsinyane said.

Stakeholder Engagement Specialist at BEDCO, Mpoi Lebakeng, said they offer training and guidelines to the traders from the start until they can fully operate on their own using strategies that help these businesses grow.

Mpolai Makhetha

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Short courses for ex-mineworkers

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THE Lesotho Diamond Academy has introduced mining short courses, particularly to ex-mineworkers, to help them re-enter the mining sector.
The Essential Introductory Courses, which will run for two weeks, will start from June this year. The courses are meant particularly for people who worked in mines in South Africa.

The Academy’s CEO, Relebohile Molefe, unveiled the new courses during the graduation of 18 students last week, four of whom are now armed with Cutting and Polishing certificates while 14 graduated with Rough Diamond Evaluation certificates.

The new courses include the Essential Certificate in Diamond Grading and the Essential Certificate in Diamond Evaluation.

“The decision to offer these courses aligns with the Academy’s dedication to bridge the gap and ensure that individuals with valuable experience can seamlessly reintegrate into the diamond and jewelry industry,” Molefe said.

“By providing short courses, the academy does not only impart essential skills but also contributes to the sector’s growth by reactivating experienced individuals who had lost access to the industry due to no formal documents showing their experience in the industry,’’ she said.

During the graduation celebration, Molefe also unveiled a new sponsorship programme for various courses.

One outstanding student previously sponsored, who demonstrated exceptional proficiency in Rough Diamond Evaluation, was granted a fully funded bursary to further his studies into Advanced Certificate in Round Diamond Brilliantering.

In pursuit of its multifaceted objectives, one of which is to serve as a catalyst for employers in the diamond and jewelry sector to devise skills development strategies, the Academy is set to sponsor four additional students in the upcoming intake starting from February 15.

Two of these bursaries will afford a 30 percent discount on overall fees for two students progressing from Cutting and Polishing to advanced studies in Rough Diamond Evaluation.

Two will be fully funded bursaries to study for a Certificate in Diamond Cutting and Polishing.

Additionally, the institution will extend two fully funded bursaries to the public, fostering inclusivity and expanding opportunities.

The Academy says it plans to announce the search for two deserving Basotho individuals on its social media pages and website.

“Importantly, the bursary programme bears no age restrictions, reflecting a commitment to fairness and inclusiveness, ensuring that opportunities are accessible to all, irrespective of age,” it says in a statement.

The Academy says it seeks “to be a dynamic force in shaping the industry, not just within national borders, but also on regional and international platforms”.

“The emphasis on competitiveness within these markets underscores the institution’s commitment to producing graduates who are not only proficient but also globally competitive,” the statement reads.

“The recent graduation ceremony symbolises a milestone in the Academy’s journey. The success of its students is a testament to the quality of education and the foresight embedded in the curriculum.”

The Academy says its decision to sponsor further education for outstanding performers reflects a belief in nurturing talent and contributing to the continuous improvement of the diamond industry.

The Lesotho Diamond Academy was founded by the late Mpalipali Molefe, a prominent educator, diamond trader and an MP, who recognised the imperative to elevate professionalism in the diamond industry.

Staff Reporter

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Bank hands over uniforms to students

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THE Lesotho Post Bank donated uniforms to students at Leqele High School worth a staggering M60 000 as part of its Back-To-School campaign.
The bank said it did this “to keep needy children in school and to promote their education”.

A teacher at the school, Tšepo Semethe, said the uniforms will likely motivate the students to work harder in their studies.

Semethe insisted on giving the bank the names of the students so that it could check their performance at the end of the year.

“At Leqele High School, we work very hard because what we want is excellence above all. To us, hard work pays,” he said.

The bank’s Chief Risk Officer, Molefi Khama, said they are getting old, they will soon retire and Lesotho Post Bank will be in the hands of these children.

He pleaded with the students to work harder.

“This is why we decided to come here to support the students in their education so that when coming to school, they should be confident,” Khama said.

“We are watching you and waiting on you,” he said.

The school’s head prefect, Tholoana Monatsi, said from now on, “no student will be identified by what they wear”.

“(Lesotho) Post Bank made us one and we thank them for that because what we wear cannot stand before our education. We indeed thank you and forever you will hold special places in our hearts,” she said.

A parent, ’Marorisang Latela, said they were very grateful for the gift from Lesotho Post Bank adding that they must also donate to other schools.

Minister of Trade, Mokethi Shelile, promised to go back to the school to discuss how the children could learn in comfortable surroundings.

Relebohile Tšepe

 

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Mamello School of Special Needs wins prize

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MAMELLO School of Special Needs is the first-place winner of Standard Lesotho Bank’s Scaled-Up Pitching Den held at Maseru Avani on Tuesday.
The school has secured a grand prize for an all-expenses-paid trip to Kenya to participate as a finalist representing Lesotho at the Standard Bank Africa Awards.

The school, pioneered in 2020 during the early days of the Covid-19 pandemic through Zoom classes, deals with children who live with conditions such as autism, attachment disorders, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) dyslexia, Down syndrome and slow learners.


STKTM Solutions claimed the second-place spot, receiving a commendable M10 000, while Masia Farms secured third place and a M5 000 prize.


Pheello Masia of Masia Farms, thanked Standard Lesotho Bank for backing their vision and that of other Basotho entrepreneurs.


He acknowledged that the bank’s faith in their endeavours serves as a source of inspiration, propelling them to work harder and foster growth within the community.


The event, aimed at fortifying support and fostering regional integration for Basotho entrepreneurs across the African continent, showcased the bank’s commitment to driving the growth of Lesotho.


Malatola Phothane, Head of Enterprise Banking at Standard Lesotho Bank, set the tone in his welcoming remarks.


“As Standard Lesotho Bank, through business and commercial banking, we strive to turn possibilities into opportunities,” Phothane said.


“Lesotho is our home, and we drive her growth,” he said.


His words resonated with the bank’s dedication to nurturing local talent and fostering economic development.


Phothane acknowledged the eight finalists, commending them for their resilience and passion for their businesses.


He emphasised how each entrepreneur had stood their ground, displaying knowledge and unwavering commitment.


The recognition not only highlighted the achievements of the finalists but also underscored the bank’s role in recognising and uplifting the entrepreneurial spirit within the community.


Aliciah Motšoane, founder of Prestige Furnitures and Sentebale Gap Funeral Services, played a significant role at the event as a motivational speaker, sharing her entrepreneurial journey filled with challenges and triumphs.


She recounted her humble beginnings when she was selling bread in high school, leading to the establishment of Prestige Furnitures in 1998.


Despite facing a significant setback after her shop was burnt down during the riots and incurring a loss of M5 million, Motšoane never gave up.


She said business is always a demanding endeavour adding that it needs hard work and a unique mindset.


She urged entrepreneurs to embrace their roots, seek inspiration, and persevere through challenges.


The keynote speaker, the bank’s Head of Business and Commercial Clients, Keketso Makara, said the bank is committed to foster a thriving business environment, highlighting the pivotal role of youth collaboration across diverse economic sectors.


Makara said their mandate aims to empower youths in steering the private sector towards growth, contributing to economic diversification.


Makara urged the eight finalists to actively involve bankers in refining their proposals for maximum impact on economic stimulation and sustainable development.


The bank said the Scaled-Up Pitching Den not only served as a stage for entrepreneurs to present their ventures but also acted as a driving force for networking, collaboration, and collective empowerment.

Staff Reporter

 

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