THE Lesotho National Development Corporation (LNDC) was recently awarded a United Nations Award for Promoting Investment in Sustainable Development at the United Nations Conference and Trade and Development (UNCTAD) on-going conference.
The LNDC chief executive officer (CEO), Mohato Seleke, said the investment excellence award is a vote of confidence for their new agri-business direction.
The LNDC is one of the investment promoting agencies (IPA) honoured on Monday at the United Nations Investment Promotion Awards for excellence in boosting investment into sectors that will have social and economic benefits and help countries meet the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Other agencies that were also honored are from South Africa, India and Bahrain.
The awards, which are organised by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), honour IPA’s and their governments for their achievements but also showcase best practices in attracting investment into SDG-related projects that can inspire investment promotion practitioners in developing and developed countries.
The award in particular recognised the LNDC for its horticulture project in Leribe.
The awards were presented at a high-profile ceremony in the Assembly Hall of the Palais des Nations, Geneva, Switzerland, immediately after the grand opening of the World Investment Forum.
“The achievement recognises our effort in promoting, facilitating, and actively initiating investments in sustainable development,” Mr Seleke told the Lesotho Times.
In particular, it embraces our approach, our new pathway to inclusive growth model in the agro-industries
“The emphasis is to invent in a manner that allows rural households and communities to secure sustainable income, not the only through wage labour as is predominantly the practice but also by earnings from capital, namely dividend income and over time capital gains.”
He said this would be done in two ways, firstly rural land owners are going to be able to take equity positions these investments using their land holdings.
“The land would be valued, bundled together for scale, valued and be registered under one lease. This is called a land trust. Let us look at on example upon which this award is based.
“Last week the LNDC, Stargrow Group from Stellenbosch and the Private Sector Competitiveness and Economic Diversification Project (PSCEDP), unveiled a partnership to integrate, commercialise and scale up the deciduous fruit farms in Lesotho, initially to 122 hectares, then 500 hectares and finally over 2000 hectares in line with the national suitability map. Here the community not only earns salaries but are also shareholders through their land holdings.
“Secondly, the out-grower model allows other farmers to integrate into the supply chain and access formal, national and international markets. If you look at the LNDC strategic plan, this is the model we are planning for use through other sub sectors as we industrialise agriculture in Lesotho.
“This is what the award is essentially all about; the potential for inclusive and sustainable growth.”
Meanwhile, UNCTAD’s director of investment and enterprise James Zhan said IPA’s have a role to play in the contribution towards social and economic development.
“IPAs have a critical role to play in mobilising investment to achieve the SDGs. The award-winning agencies show that, by mainstreaming the SDGs, IPAs can make a valuable contribution to social and economic development,” Mr Zhan said.