THE Lesotho National Development Corporation (LNDC) will lead a high powered delegation of private sector representatives to the second Japan-Africa Business Forum in Tokyo, Japan from 25 to 26 July.
The LNDC, which is currently finalising preparations, said the forum platform is expected to provide opportunities for business partnerships for the Lesotho's private sector with the possibility of Japanese financial and/or technical support to increase trade and investment between the two markets.
The forum which will host high level participants from the public and private sector including senior officials from African Development Bank (AfDB), is aimed at connecting African participants with Japanese business community and other Asian investors to network and forge business partnerships.
There are a number of collaborative national projects with Japan at government level including the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) support to Lesotho for solar energy at Moshoeshoe I International Airport, equipment supply to Moshoeshoe I meteorological stations, hydrological stations to measure flow in various rivers in Lesotho as well as mobile water treatment plants for purification of water and distribution to rural areas.
In addition, the Japanese government has built twelve schools, laboratories, teachers' offices and toilets in Lesotho, provides annual food assistance, capacity building training on health issues and other sectors and climate change support.
Although the forum focuses on business between Africa and Japan with a strong emphasis on private sector development, there is not yet any cooperation at private sector level with Lesotho.
However, LNDC's Foreign Investment Promotion Officer 'Malira Sekonyela said this could change as "the Second Japan-Africa Business Forum presents an opportunity for African companies including Lesotho to network and possibly forge business partnerships".
"The forum has invited high level participants from both the public and private sector including senior officials from African Development Bank (AfDB).
"There will be discussions on how the Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD) benefits business development in Africa and how Japanese resources will benefit Lesotho companies, in terms of the resulting support programmes and policies and the insights into such support," she said.
She further said that Lesotho companies also stood to benefit from the Japanese business skills, technology and infrastructure solutions to improve trade and business between Japan and Africa.
She said the forum would focus specifically on five areas of interest, namely, energy and power, agriculture and agribusiness, infrastructure and, trade and industrialisation, financing of projects in Africa, health and sanitation.
"Since the plan is to get value out of participation in Japan in terms of potential partnerships, technical support or other overall support, we request only entrepreneurs in the areas of focus as listed above to apply to be participants.
We further expect the participants to be at decision making level," she said, adding that the AFDB would fund Lesotho's participation.