Ambassador urges business to take advantage of Expo

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MASERU — The Chinese ambassador to Lesotho, Professor Gao Deyi, on Tuesday told local entrepreneurs to take advantage of the business opportunities brought by the World Expo 2010 which starts on Saturday.

The Expo is being held in Shanghai, China, and will run until October 31.

Speaking at a banquet organised for business leaders and government officials which was also attended by Prime Minister Pakalitha Mosisili, Deyi said the Expo provided an excellent opportunity to facilitate trade deals.

“The Expo will be an ideal platform to provide an exceptional opportunity to the countries of the world for investment purposes,” Deyi said.

At least 230 countries and international organisations will showcase their technological innovations at the international fair which is being held under the theme: Better cities, better life.

Deyi said 55 percent of the world’s population is expected to live in cities this year and it was therefore important to deal with this modern reality.

Speaking at the same banquet, Trade and Industry Minister Popane Lebesa said while the Expo was not a direct investment forum, Lesotho would seek to take full advantage of the opportunities offered by the Expo.

“Among the various activities that we are going to engage in and showcase our beautiful country, we will concurrently launch a massive investment promotion campaign to run alongside the Expo,” Lebesa said.

“Although this world event is not a direct investment forum, it seeks to serve as a platform for all participating countries to ensure that they seize this opportunity to showcase themselves,” he said.

Lebesa said Lesotho realised when it was invited to participate at the Expo in 2007 that the event was not an opportunity to be missed.

He said this was one of the reasons why “we have not spared a single effort in ensuring that an effective and aggressive engagement, in collaboration with all relevant stakeholders”.

Lebesa said the government realised that the private sector should be the engine of economic growth.

“It is this very private sector that should be in the driver’s seat leading the way to wealth creation. We found it prudent therefore to bring them on board from the onset,” he said.

An advance team from Lesotho left for China last week to prepare for the three-month long Expo.

It is estimated that over 70 million visitors will pass through the Expo site during the event presenting investment promotion opportunities for developing countries like Lesotho.

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