Thabane applauds Chinese for employing women
PRIME Minister, Thomas Thabane, has applauded the investment by the Chinese business community in Lesotho, which has led to the employment of many women in their factories.
Speaking at the Inaugural Ceremony of the First Council of Lesotho Overseas Chinese Chamber of Commerce Association held in Maseru last week, Dr Thabane said the Chinese employment strategy was a first of its kind.
The strategy, he explained was doing a lot to economically empower women to be able to look after themselves and their families, hence contributing to the alleviation of poverty in the country.
“It’s a first of its kind that we have factories employing so many women. It is indeed good to invest in women because most of them never forget their responsibilities, particularly towards their families,” Dr Thabane said.
He further explained the cordial relations existing between the Governments of Lesotho and China, which the two countries have for many years enjoyed. This relationship, he said, has contributed to the development of the country as seen from the presence of the Chinese firms in Lesotho.
“During the colonial era, there was not much manufacturing here in Lesotho and we got most of the things we needed from South Africa. We were such customers of a supplier who gave you no choice but to accept any price they set,” Dr Thabane said, adding that, a significant number of Basotho were then employed in the South African mines and farms. Employment opportunities for women were minimal.
Dr Thabane urged the Chinese investors to continue extending their operations outside Maseru to also help create employment for women in the districts such as Quthing, Mokhotlong, Qacha’s Nek and Thaba Tseka.
“I would wish for more factories to be established outside Maseru because this would help to create employment for many of our unemployed people. I recently received a report that the garments that come from our factories have passed international standards. I am proud that Basotho women are part of this achievement,” Dr Thabane said.
Dr Thabane thanked the Chinese community in Lesotho for forming the first ever association of Lesotho Overseas Chinese Chamber of Commerce, saying it will further strengthen relations between Lesotho and China. “I promise to support this initiative and do everything to nurture good working relations between Basotho and the Chinese to ensure a win-win situation.”
He also encouraged the Chinese factory-owners to prioritise training Basotho workers in order for them to acquire advanced skills, particularly in the area of management and marketing, to ensure sustainability of operations.
“I urge our people to take skills-transfer very seriously because as the government, we plan to set up factories that will require skilled and experienced people to manage operations and have the capacity to market and export products,” Dr Thabane said.
Also speaking at the event, the Chinese Ambassador to Lesotho His Excellency, Dr Sun Xianghua applauded the Chinese community for establishing such an important association, explaining that it will strengthen the existing relations between the two countries.
“I have no doubt that Basotho will directly benefit from the formation of this association. It will also help to spur more Chinese investment to further develop Lesotho,” Dr Sun said.
He also urged the Chinese investors to respect Lesotho’s laws and regulations and to continue working with the Government of Lesotho in its effort to grow the economy.