MASERU — European Union (EU) ambassador says Philips Lighting Maseru, a local firm producing energy saving fluorescent lamps for the southern African market, is “a good reference point for foreign investors” eyeing Lesotho.
Ambassador Hans Duynhouwer said there is a need for similar factories in Lesotho to respond to the government’s call for job creation.
Philips Lighting produces energy efficient lamps for the southern African market.
The factory has created 500 jobs and is one of the first foreign direct investments helping the Lesotho economy to diversify its industrial structure away from the textile industry.
Duynhouwer took a study tour at the Philips factory together with other EU representatives in Lesotho on Wednesday.
“The visit of EU representatives comes at a time when the new government is vigorously promoting private sector development. The Philips factory is an excellent example,” Duynhouwer said.
“The factory provides jobs and it supports the green economy. EU representatives are eager to know more about this with a view to promoting future new investment opportunities,” he said.
He said they had visited the factory to familiarise themselves with the operations of Philips Lighting.
He said the government was planning to create at least 10 000 new jobs in order to reduce poverty.
“So, there is a need to have more factories in order to respond to the government’s call,” Duynhouwer said.
The Irish and EU ambassadors and the honorary consuls from Germany, Denmark, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom and France also visited the Philips Lighting Factory on Wednesday.
According to a press statement issued by EU the purpose of the visit was to obtain first-hand information on the operations of the factory.
The European Investment Bank provided a loan of 5 million euros (approximately M50 million) for the project.
The factory started operating in 2009.
Philip’s investment is part of a strategy to bring sustainable and energy efficient lighting solutions to the African continent.
The factory is a major exporter with exports amounting to 12 million euro (approximately M120 million) annually.
It has employed about 500 Basotho men and women.