LESOTHO stands to gain economically if the country wins a bid to host the headquarters of the African Committee of Experts on the Rights and Welfare of the Child (ACERWC).
This was said by Deputy Prime Minister Mothetjoa Metsing during a press conference this past week on the decisions of the 27th African Union (AU) Summit held in Kigali, Rwanda from 10 to 18 July 2016.
Mr Metsing said government, through the Ministry of Social Development, made a bid to host the ACERWC headquarters along with Burkina Faso and Sudan. The committee is mandated with ensuring the protection of the rights of children through formulating principles and rules among other roles.
The deputy premier said the African Union was expected to announce the winning bidder in its January 2017 summit to be held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
“The summit took a decision the winning country would be announced in January 2017 because the experts tasked with the ground work of assessing the bidding countries did not complete their assignments,” said Mr Metsing.
“The experts’ recommendations would have influenced the summit’s decision.”
He said it was high time Lesotho benefited economically from its contributions to multi-lateral institutions.
“Lesotho is among African Union countries that never default in paying its subscriptions, and the country now needs to benefit for being a loyal member state.”
By headquartering ACERWC, Mr Metsing said Lesotho would benefit in terms of tourism, job creation and infrastructure development.
“The time for Lesotho to benefit is now. Other countries like Kenya, which I think host two headquarters of African Union agencies, are already reaping the fruits of their labour. We need to benefit as well,” he said.
“Being a host country boosts our tourism sector as the staff members’ families would visit our country. Furthermore, every time this committee hosts meetings and conferences, more people would be visiting our country and also want to come back as tourists in the near future.
“There will also be infrastructure development as we will need to construct the headquarters building. Consequently, the construction process will create jobs for locals.”