Lesotho delegation to woo UK investors

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Bereng Mpaki

DEPUTY Prime Minister Mothetjoa Metsing will next month lead a delegation of government officials and business executives to the United Kingdom to solicit for investment into Lesotho.

According to Trade and Industry Minister Joshua Setipa, the tour would be held from 4-6 April 2016 and dubbed Lesotho Investment Forum 2016.

He said the ministry was organising the trip in collaboration with the Lesotho National Development Corporation (LNDC) as the country’s investment promoting agency. Among the sectors for which investment would be sought were mining, tourism, agriculture and infrastructure.

Lesotho is in dire need of foreign direct investment (FDI) to stimulate economic growth and create jobs. Mr Setipa said it was important to engage and encourage UK investors and businesses to consider investing in the country.

“Next week we will be flying to the United Kingdom with the aim of promoting investment in different sectors of our economy,” he told the Lesotho Times this week.

“The delegation will be made up of the Deputy Prime Minister Mothetjoa Metsing, representatives from the LNDC, senior government officials from ministries such as Trade and Industry, Mining and Tourism. However, the itinerary for the trip is yet to be finalised.”

The minister said the delegation would also include representatives from the private sector, who would be expected to take advantage of the networking opportunities the visit presents and also to improve their business skills.

The trip would be a follow up to a similar tour to London in 2014 led by then premier Thomas Thabane.

In his remarks during the tour, D Thabane said: “My sincere wish is that this forum will rekindle interest for Lesotho as a destination for investment plans. We are indeed open for business.”

He said Lesotho offered investors a young labour force, flexible tax incentives, competitive wage rates and a gateway to lucrative markets in the southern African region.

Lesotho already has FDI originating from the UK in the mining sector with Gem Diamond which is the majority shareholder of Letšeng Diamond Mine.

Firestone Diamonds is another UK company that is operating in Lesotho. The company operates and owns a 75 percent shareholding at Liqhobong Diamond Mine.

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