THE minister of Development Planning, Tlohelang Aumane, has commended the China’s human resource capacitation efforts in Lesotho saying they contribute immensely towards the country’s achievement of the National Strategic Development Plan (NSDP).
Mr Aumane made the remarks during the recently held China-aid Human Resource Development Cooperation Programme symposium at the Chinese Embassy in Maseru.
The Chinese Embassy’s Economical and Commercial Counsellor, Ma Guolian, told guests at the symposium that over 300 Basotho (civil servants and private sector) underwent short-term training programmes while 40 others got full-time degree scholarships from the Chinese government this year.
Furthermore, the Acting Chinese Ambassador to Lesotho, Song Changqing, said that human resource is the most important tool for sustainable and self-reliant economic development and China will remain committed to assisting Lesotho develop its manpower.
“Human resource development has long been a key area in China-Lesotho cooperation because we believe that ‘showing the other how to fish’ is much better than ‘giving the other fish’,” Mr Changqing said.
“Over the years, China continues to increase its input in human resources development cooperation with Africa from 4000 each year as declared in the 2006 Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) Beijing Summit, to 10 000 at the 2015 FOCAC Johannesburg Summit and lately to over 16 000 each year at the recently concluded FOCAC Beijing Summit.
“Over the three years since the FOCAC Johannesburg Summit to enhance Lesotho’s human resources, China has donated the Friendship Middle School, provided more than 800 training opportunities and increased number of scholarships for Basotho students to about 40 annually. For the current year, China-Lesotho human resource cooperation has reached a new height. With security and politicians included, China has provided to Lesotho 39 scholarships for degree study programmes and 318 training opportunities through short-term programmes.
“Not only does China keep expanding its human resource cooperation with Lesotho in numbers, China also puts a lot of effort to ensure the human resource cooperation will meet the needs of Lesotho. Each year this embassy will consult with the relevant ministries on the latter’s preference and priorities of the programmes for the following year so that we may come up with tailor-made programmes.”
He also mentioned that this year’s training included two ministers namely Chief Thesele Maseribane (Communications) and Nkaku Kabi (Health). He said the recent year’s focus has been on hospitality, nursing, tourism, information technology and textile among others.
Mr Changqing further said that they will continue to expand human resource cooperation with Lesotho as agreed upon in the recent FOCAC in September.
“The summit adopted the Beijing Declaration and the Beijing Action Plan (2019-2021) and President Xi Jingpin (China) announced that his country would launch, in close collaboration with African countries, eight major initiatives including industrial promotion, health care, infrastructure connectivity, trade facilitation, green development, capacity building, people-to-people exchange as well as peace and stability.”
Seven beneficiaries of the short-term training programmes gave testimonies of what they learned in China and how the Lesotho could adopt some of the skills to grow its economy.
Moshe Masaase, who underwent Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) development, said that the government should create funding for small businesses and clear policies to support them as in China private sector contributes 60 percent of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
“China has clear promotion and financing policies for SMEs which is something our country needs to adopt for the private sector to boost the economy since in China I learnt that it contributes over 60 percent of the GDP.
“China also has a SMEs protection law which came into effect in 2003 and furthermore their government has set a special budget for SMEs development. They also support SMEs in building their foreign investment as well as export capacity. These are some of the things we need to adopt to grow our economy,” Mr Masaase said.
For his part, Mr Aumane said that the government of Lesotho attached great importance to human resource development as the most important asset which will contribute towards the achievement of the NSDP.
“More than 300 people from the public and private sector have been capacitated in different areas through short-term training in areas such as wool and mohair technology, agriculture technology, financial processes, procurement, mining as well as Small and Medium Enterprises development.
“The implementation of the national plans and international agendas depends on the knowledgeable and skilled human resources who have the experience and exposure that will assist to aspire them with new ideas and problem-solving skills that will not only enhance their business growth but realisation of national development objectives.
“At the end of each FOCAC cycle, as the current one ends this year, we need to evaluate the impact of the support we received from our partner and find ways of making cooperation to work together. We are also open to suggestions on how to make the relationship between to two countries work better for the benefit of the people,” Mr Aumane said.