The Principal Secretary of the Ministry of Trade, Industry, Business Development, and Tourism, Mr. Thabo Moleko says the government through the National Strategic Development Plan (NSDP) II pursues a private sector and export-led economy as well as to instigate product and market diversification.
He said this at the GIZ stakeholder information-sharing workshop in preparation for project implementation.
Mr. Moleko said to implement the NSDP II, the government developed the 2019-2025 National AGOA Response Strategy and the 2021-2025 National Export Strategy, saying this project has therefore effectively contributed towards the achievement of the objectives of the NSDP II.
He stressed that the EU-Lesotho partnership in trade continues to strengthen; the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) between the European Union (EU) and the SADC-EPA countries came into force in October 2016, followed by the development of the National EPA Implementation Plan (NEIP) which was completed in April 2018 is a case in point.
He noted that this process comes a long way, since the development and approval of the Action Document in 2020, followed by the signing of the Financing Agreement on 28th October 2020 and 4th May 2021 by the EU and the Government of Lesotho, respectively.
Therefore, he expressed gratitude to the European Union for its continued support, saying they look forward to a strengthened relationship between the EU and the people of Lesotho. He added that the appreciation also goes to the government of Germany for complementing the EU funds and the GIZ for agreeing to extend their technical expertise to manage the project on behalf of the government of Lesotho.
The Natural Resource Sector Team Leader Cooperation Delegation of the European Union to Lesotho, Mr. Tomas Pallas Aparasi said the Lesotho Economic Growth Value Chains Programme has two main components – supporting the Ministry of Trade and free access to the European markets.
He noted that the idea is to finance the identified value chains which are medical herbs and cosmetics that are aimed to start in October 2023, saying it is expected to last three years but could run longer if needed.
He mentioned that all Basotho involved in the above-mentioned economic sectors will be beneficiaries of the project.
He stressed that European Union will finance the project with EUR 6 000 000 Million and GIZ as the implementing agency is assisting with EUR 950 000.
On the same token, the Director of the Department of Trade, Ms. Mary Motebang said the project will focus on the light industry thus the processing of duck and goose feathers for the manufacturing of down pillows and duvets.
She noted that the project will focus on agro-processing which is the processing of indigenous herbs spices and rosehip.
The project which is financed by the EU and GIZ is expected to last for three years.
Distributed by APO Group on behalf of Government of Lesotho.