In partnership with the Lesotho National Development Corporation (LNDC) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the project, which was launched on Tuesday, seeks to create a platform on which different organisations will partner and mobilise resources for capacity building to support the local supply chains or ecosystems.
The initiative further seeks to facilitate access to markets for Small, Medium and Micro Enterprise Sector (SMME) and enhance local competitiveness through exposure to global markets practices and standards as well as grow farmers from subsistence to commercial, through creating formal structures and taking the entrepreneurs through accreditation of standards.
The newly appointed Standard Lesotho Bank Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Anton Nicolaisen lauded the programme, underlining that it is at the centre of corporate social investment priorities under the umbrella of initiatives that make the bank’s Entrepreneurship Development Programme (EDP).
EDP is a comprehensive programme that has combined a number of initiatives in the areas of sponsorship and products that have been specifically tailored to meet the needs of the country’s economy.
The programme speaks to address the challenges of unemployment, lack of finance for SMMEs, financial inclusion as well as capacity challenges that face entrepreneurial sector in general.
“We launched this programme in 2018 and we have so far invested over M6 million in the last three years on interventions such as the lioness of Africa, skills development training, enterprise hub and the COVID-19 induced in entrepreneurship support completion last year,” Mr Nicolaisen said when delivering his remarks on Tuesday.
He said the local supplier development programme therefore, is created as an intervention towards economic development, especially in the agribusiness, which has been identified as one of the game changers in the National Strategic Development Plan (NSDP II).
“As the responsible corporate citizen, we are intentional about growing the local economy. It is our business imperative and moral obligation to do the best we can to guarantee food security for our people. To promote self-reliance and to create opportunities that we see in the agricultural value chain,”
“At Standard Lesotho Bank, we firmly believe that we can grow a crop of agricultural products entrepreneurs that can make Lesotho self-sufficient in the long term and also be able to create and produce for local, regional and international market if they have the right skills and understand the channels of distribution in the agricultural sector,” the CEO added.