Lesotho gets Expo boost

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MASERU — The Chinese embassy on Monday donated M100 000 to the Ministry of Trade to help prepare for the World Expo to be held in Shanghai, China, next year.
The Expo will take place between 1 May and 31 October.
Chinese ambassador to Lesotho, Professor Gao Deyi, handed over the donation to Deputy Minister of Trade and Industry Khotso Matla at the ministry’s offices in Maseru.
Matla said the funds will go a long way in assisting the ministry prepare for the Expo next year.
A committee, made up of individuals from the ministries of trade, foreign affairs, finance, tourism and local government, is already working on the logistics of showcasing the country’s products at the fair.
“We are prepared to showcase Lesotho culturally and economically,” Matla said.
He said it was important to incorporate individuals from rural areas to participate at the Expo.
“All of us in Lesotho have a connection with the rural part of the country. That is where most of the farming is carried out so it is important to incorporate the rural community,” Matla said.
Lesotho is expected to display handicrafts, sandstone products and mineral products at the six months’ Expo.
It will also display products manufactured from grass, aloe and wool, according to trade ministry officials.
It will also seek to market and vigorously promote the country as a tourist destination as well as lure investors.
Deyi said preparations for the World Expo were on course.
“I visited the Expo area last year and it was very dynamic. The Africa site (is quite) large (and) will accommodate many countries,” said Deyi.
Deyi said he was confident that the Expo will have immense benefits for Lesotho as well as China.
“I hope this is a good opportunity which will promote both countries and will give us a chance to explore more opportunities,” he said.
The chief trade development officer in the Ministry of Trade, ‘Matokoloho Khuto, said all was on course for the Expo.
“The preparations for the Expo are at an advanced stage. We have (tasked) the committee to go out and identify products which could be displayed at the Expo,” Khuto said.
She urged local Basotho businessmen to produce what is on demand and identify products that are suitable for export.
“We have to maximise what is on demand and export these products. We need to look into other products that have higher returns than those that are traditionally produced in the country,” she added.
This is the second time Lesotho has participated at the World Expo.
In 2000, Lesotho successfully participated at the World Expo in Hannover, Germany.
At least 200 countries — of which 48 are from Africa — are expected to take part at the Expo with an estimated 70 million people expected to visit the fair.
The government of Lesotho says the Expo will give the government and the private sector an opportunity to market the country to potential investors.

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