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US$1 million grant for business associations

Lijeng Ranooe

THE African Development Bank (AfDB) and the Lesotho Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) have signed a Technical Assistance Grant of US$915 000 that will support institutional capacity and improve effectiveness of business associations in Lesotho.

The support from AfDB is for three years and will be facilitated under the Fund for African Private Sector Assistance (FAPA).

Speaking at a news conference in Maseru recently, the LCCI Secretary General, Fako Hakane, said the technical assistance will help to improve partnerships, build capacity and to enhance business development services.

“This project will contribute towards developing a conducive Small, Medium and Micro-Sized Enterprises (SMME) and private sector development ecosystem by strengthening business associations and networks,” Mr Hakane said.

He further explained that, the project will complement and enhance effectiveness of the ongoing support by the financial institutions in the country to the economic diversification support project.

Speaking at the same signing ceremony, the AfDB, Deputy Director General, Dr Josephine Ngure said the project will be executed by LCCI in collaboration with all project partners, business associations and networks.

Dr Ngure explained the project has four main components namely: Institutional Assessment of Business Associations; Development of Shared Services and Business Development Support; Strengthening Private – Private and Private – Public Dialogue; and Project Management and Co- Coordination.

“The project will be aligned with the second pillar of the Bank’s Strategy for Lesotho, which is Institutional Capacity Building. It also lies within the objective of Support to Infrastructure for Private Sector Development,” Dr Ngure said.

She further explained that, the project will complement the activities of the Lesotho Tax Moderation Project, which aims to promote economic growth by providing the fiscal space through increased tax revenue and maintain macro-economic stability.

It will further provide for priority economic and social expenditures and support the effective implementation of the revenue modernisation program to strengthen tax revenue administration capacity through targeted assistance, Dr Ngure said.

“The LCCI and project partners should make all necessary efforts to quick-start project implementation by putting in place the project governance and oversight mechanisms. These include, a project steering committee, which will consist of all beneficiary business associations to provide strategic oversight and monitor project implementation.”

Dr Ngure re-affirmed AfDB’s commitment to foster private sector development in Lesotho.

“Our aim is to support the development of a business climate that will create jobs, reduce poverty and address inequality for the benefit of all Basotho,” she said.

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