MASERU — The government of Lesotho has secured an M18 million concessionary loan from the Arab Bank for Economic Development in Africa (BADEA) to develop Phase One of the Tikoe Industrial Estate.
The plan will see the 40 hectare plot transformed into a full-fledged industrial estate with roads, water and electricity and factory shells with a total rentable space of 30 000 square metres.
It is expected that companies occupying the space will employ over 5 000 people.
The project was prepared by the Lesotho National Development Corporation (LNDC) and was appraised and financed by the BADEA, the Overseas Fund for International Development and the government of Lesotho.
It is being financed to the tune of M18 million.
The loan will be repaid over a period of 10 years with a moratorium of five years.
The LNDC and Consulting Engineering Centre/Mafube Consulting Pty Ltd, which is a joint venture between a Jordanian firm and a local company, also signed a US$730 825 contract to design, review and supervise the construction of the Tikoe Industrial Estate infrastructure and factory shells.
LNDC chief executive officer, Motebang Mokoaleli, said the construction of the factory shells will spur economic growth in Lesotho.
“The provision of industrial infrastructure and factory shells is an essential requirement for economic development and job creation through the attraction of diversified investment in Lesotho.
“Currently the corporation is inundated with numerous demands for factory shells from new investors as well as existing investors who want to expand their operations,” Mokoaleli said.
“The construction of 30 000m² of factory buildings is therefore a welcome relief to address the prevailing shortage of factory buildings for investors.”
“LNDC has compiled a healthy pipeline of definite projects which have made firm commitment to take up occupation of the new factory shells as soon as they become available.”
Mokoaleli said construction of the factory shells is scheduled to start in the second half of next year and is expected to take 18 months.
The LNDC is a government arm mandated to boost industrial development in Lesotho.
The corporation was recently allocated land to build industrial estates around the country.
Some of these estates are at Ha Nyenye, Maputsoe, Maseru West, Thetsane, Mafeteng, Mohale’s Hoek, Tikoe, Berea and Butha-Buthe.
The Berea and Butha-Buthe industrial estates are still to be serviced, while Tikoe is only partially serviced and currently accommodates the Philips Lighting Maseru factory which manufactures energy saving light bulbs.
Two textile companies are also currently under construction at Tikoe through funding provided by the government of Lesotho.
Tikoe Industrial Estate is located about 10 kilometres south-east of Maseru.
The purpose of the LNDC is to initiate, promote and facilitate the development of manufacturing and processing industries, mining and commerce in a manner calculated to raise the level of income and employment in Lesotho.
It also seeks to promote Lesotho as an attractive investment location and destination for both foreign and indigenous investors.