Call to lever­age Ja­pan en­gage­ment

Lesotho Times - - Business - Bereng Mpaki

The Pri­vate Sec­tor Foun­da­tion of Le­sotho (PSFL) has rec­om­mended the for­ma­tion of a task force com­pris­ing mem­bers of Le­sotho’s del­e­ga­tion to the re­cent sixth Tokyo In­ter­na­tional Con­fer­ence on African De­vel­op­ment (TICAD VI) Sum­mit in or­der to fol­low up on its de­lib­er­a­tions.

Launched by the Ja­panese govern­ment in 1993 to pro­mote African de­vel­op­ment, peace and se­cu­rity through mul­ti­lat­eral co­op­er­a­tion and part­ner­ships, the TICAD con­fer­ence was held for the first time on African soil in Nairobi, Kenya on 27 and 28 Au­gust.

Rep­re­sen­ta­tives of the 54 African states, 52 other part­ner­ing coun­tries, 74 in­ter­na­tional and re­gional or­gan­i­sa­tions as well as rep­re­sen­ta­tives of the pri­vate sec­tor and civil so­ci­ety from Ja­pan and Africa were in at­ten­dance.

PSFL Chief Ex­ec­u­tive Of­fi­cer Thabo Qh­esi, who was part the del­e­ga­tion, said in an in­ter­view with the Le­sotho Times this week there were many mu­tu­ally-ben­e­fi­cial op­por­tu­ni­ties for col­lab­o­ra­tion be­tween Ja­pan and Le­sotho but un­for­tu­nately there was very lit­tle by way of fol­low up.

Mr Qh­esi said col­lab­o­ra­tion with Ja­pan was pos­si­ble on the lev­els of govern­ment, pri­vate sec­tor and civil so­ci­ety. he how­ever said the col­lab­o­ra­tion was only vis­i­ble “at a min­i­mal level” in govern­ment and pri­vate sec­tor.

“In terms of col­lab­o­ra­tion, Le­sotho only fea­tures on education and food aid where JICA (Ja­pan In­ter­na­tional Co­op­er­a­tion Agency) pro­vides de­vel­op­ment as­sis­tance. That is a small por­tion given that there are so many ar­eas where JICA can ex­tend sup­port,” Mr Qh­esi.

he said Le­sotho needed to ex­pand its ar­eas of fo­cus be­yond just the education and agriculture sec­tors.

“There were so many sec­tors at the Ja­pan Pav­il­ion and the few Le­sotho rep­re­sen­ta­tives couldn’t ab­sorb all the valu­able in­for­ma­tion that was pre­sented,” Mr Qh­esi said.

The Sum­mit iden­ti­fied four pil­lars as the ba­sis for ad­dress­ing Africa’s emerg­ing de­vel­op­ment chal­lenges, namely the de­cline in global com­mod­ity prices, the ebola disease out­break, rad­i­cal­i­sa­tion, terrorism and armed con­flict as well as cli­mate change.

Mr Qh­esi ob­served that most Ja­panese busi­nesses were al­ready part­ner­ing with their African coun­ter­parts in South Africa, Kenya, and Ghana among other coun­tries.

he how­ever said it ap­peared some felt that Le­sotho’s small pop­u­la­tion and there­fore small mar­ket could be an ob­sta­cle to busi­ness.

The PSFL boss there­fore rec­om­mended for the for­ma­tion of a task force to ad­dress such

con­cerns and fol­low up on the sum­mit’s de­lib­er­a­tions.

“The Le­sotho del­e­ga­tion should form a task force to be chaired by the Min­istry of De­vel­op­ment Plan­ning to fol­low up on TICAD VI. It should meet ev­ery fort­night.”

For its part, Mr Qh­esi said, the PSFL would en­gage the Ja­pan Ex­ter­nal Trade Or­gan­i­sa­tion (JETRO) of­fice in South Africa in its quest to ex­pose the lo­cal busi­ness com­mu­nity to op­por­tu­ni­ties with Ja­panese com­pa­nies.

He also called for closer co­op­er­a­tion be­tween rel­e­vant govern­ment min­istries and the pri­vate sec­tor.

“The line min­istries es­pe­cially Min­istry of Trade and In­dus­try, Min­istry of Small Busi­ness De­vel­op­ment, Min­istry of De­vel­op­ment Plan­ning and Busi­ness As­so­ci­a­tions should take the op­por­tu­nity to learn from the public-pri­vate di­a­logue in Kenya. The suc­cess­ful host­ing of TICAD VI was due to co­he­sion be­tween the Kenyan govern­ment and the Kenya Pri­vate Sec­tor Al­liance.”

“Since the TICAD ini­tia­tive has demon­strated its will­ing­ness to as­sist African coun­tries to achieve Sus­tain­able De­vel­op­ment Goals (SDGS), the PSFL shall en­gage Min­istry of De­vel­op­ment Plan­ning and UNDP to come up with a prag­matic ap­proach which will as­sist busi­nesses of Le­sotho in main­stream­ing SDGS ini­tia­tives in their pro­grammes.”

Prime Min­is­ter Pakalitha Mo­sisili led the govern­ment del­e­ga­tion which in­cluded Trade and In­dus­try Min­is­ter Joshua Setipa, De­vel­op­ment Plan­ning Min­is­ter Mokoto Hloaele and Le­sotho Na­tional De­vel­op­ment Cor­po­ra­tion (LNDC) Chief Ex­ec­u­tive Of­fi­cer Kele­bone Leisanyane among others.

In his re­marks to up­date the na­tion on the trip this week, Dr Mo­sisili said one of the high­lights of the sum­mit was the US$30 bil­lion fund­ing pledge by Ja­pan for African de­vel­op­ment.

“We there­fore ex­pect the Min­istry of De­vel­op­ment Plan­ning to take the lead in fol­low­ing up on the fund­ing in or­der to as­sist rel­e­vant min­istries to ac­cess it,” he said.

PSFL Chief Ex­ec­u­tive Of­fi­cer Thabo Qh­esi at the TICAD VI sum­mit in Nairobi, Kenya.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Lesotho

© PressReader. All rights reserved.