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World Expo team leaves for China

Mpeshe Selebalo

MASERU — A six-member delegation will this week leave Lesotho for Shanghai, China, as the country steps up preparations for the World Expo 2010 that begins in May.

The advance team is expected to fine-tune preparations for the Expo that will run from May to October this year.

The team will also prepare for the Lesotho investment promotion forum to be held concurrently with the Expo from July 26 to 30.

Prime Minister Pakalitha Mosisili is expected to officiate at the forum.

A member of the Lesotho 2010 Expo investment sub-committee, Semethe Raleche, said the Lesotho team will particularly look to seal deals with international investors during their six-month stay in China.

“We have come up with strategies of capacity building for local investors by attracting investors interested in partnerships with local investors,” Raleche said.

He said there was need to integrate and empower local entrepreneurs through building partnerships with international investors through equity holding and skills transfer.

“The Expo is a good platform to attract investors as many investors from all over the world will be attending,” Raleche told the Sunday Express.

The Expo’s main objective is to provide a platform for economic partnership, cultural exchange and the showcasing of technological innovations.

The Lesotho delegation will be made up of individuals from the Ministry of Trade, Ministry of Tourism, the Lesotho National Development Corporation, Lesotho Tourism Development Corporation and the Lesotho Business Council.

Marina Bizabani, who is a member of the Expo investment sub-committee, said the delegation will meet with investment promotion agencies in a bid to attract investors to Lesotho and diversify the country’s exports sector.

“We would like to take the visit as an opportunity to attract international investors to Lesotho and we will use this platform to attract investors from the rest of the world,” Bizabani said.

She said they will also try and meet investors from umbrella bodies such as business councils to identify investors who can come and invest in the country.

“We are going to screen companies so that when the actual investment promotion is undertaken companies or investors we have targeted are present for presentations,” Bizabani said.

Bizabani said the committee will be especially targeting investors in the food processing industry and the textile sectors.

“We will not shut down the textiles sector altogether but we will be looking to attract companies interested in manufacturing fabrics,” she said.

Other prime sectors of interest will be pharmaceuticals, tourism, electronic equipment manufacturing and mining.

Lesotho will be among the 50 countries from the African continent that will showcase their innovations.

About 200 countries are expected to attend the World Expo.

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