MASERU — A proposed micro lending facility, to be bankrolled by a London venture capitalist, will enable Basotho women to diversify business interests and explore opportunities they could not pursue before, said Thesele Maseribane, the Minister of Gender, Youth, Sports and Recreation.
Maseribane was speaking after the official signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between him, representatives of Basotho women entrepreneurs and Arron Banks, a venture capitalist from London, who is set to provide funding to set up the financial institution to help fund start-up businesses by Basotho women.
Maseribane met with Basotho women entrepreneurs last week, following the signing of a MOU on December 11, to give them an update on the signing of the MOU and the impending project.
On behalf of Basotho women entrepreneurs at the signing of the MOU were representatives from three societies: the Federation of Lesotho Women Entrepreneurs, Ngoetsi tsa Nkhono Kholu and Tsa bo Moshemane ha li jeoe.
Speaking to the Sunday Express, Maseribane said his ministry’s role will be, among others, to monitor the project’s progress and solicit support from other ministries and stakeholders.
“It is part of our mandate as the Ministry of Gender, Youth, Sports and Recreation to empower women, so I set out to find them an investor who would help fund the projects they wish to start up, but have not been able to because of lack of finance,” Maseribane said.
Maseribane said there was a need to have a diversified business landscape for Basotho women, adding that focus would initially be on the textiles and agricultural industries.
“There are lots of opportunities to explore in several industries and I plan to enlist the help of other ministries to open up more markets for Basotho women like exporting canned peaches to countries like Botswana,” said Maseribane.
Speaking about the developments, President of Tsa bo Moshemane ha li jeoe women’s league, ‘Malefa Mapheleba, said: “The memorandum has been signed. We have enlisted the assistance of experts and we are now working on a plan of action to follow going forward.”
“One of the first steps we will take is to open a bank account where the investor will then deposit the funds so we can get to work,” said Mapheleba.
Banks first visited Lesotho earlier this month at Maseribane’s invitation.
On that visit, Banks and his team met women from the three societies where the investor and his team were presented with Basotho hats, blankets and woven artifacts.
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