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Lesotho launches diaspora project

Basotho in diaspora

Nov. 1, 2018 3 min read

MASERU - The Government of Lesotho through Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Relations has on Thursday last week launched a project on enhancing cooperation and strengthening institutional capacity to effectively engage Basotho in the diaspora. Speaking during the launch the responsible minister, Mr. Lesego Makgothi said in recent years the role of diaspora in their country's socio economic development has been quite instrumental especially through sending remittances, investing in businesses and philanthropic development projects, contributing in specialised skills and promoting tourism. He said as such it requires every serious government to engage these invaluable heroes and heroines of their country's productivity.

He mentioned that Lesotho's diaspora has enormously contributed to the country's efforts to free itself from the scourge of poverty, the huge potential of the diaspora has not been fully utilised due to lack of coordination and institutional capacity saying therefore this project seeks to address this glaring void in their engagement with diaspora. He noted that the project is envisaged to establish coordination mechanism in order to effectively engage Lesotho diaspora to provide training to the technical members in order to capacitate them with necessary skills to implement the project effectively and timely conduct diaspora outreach activities in South Africa and eventually develop diaspora policy in Lesotho.
He indicated that the launch comes at the momentous era when migration thematic areas such as Migration Governance, Labour Migration, Irregular Migration and Diaspora Engagement are dominating the global news headlines on daily basis and topping the regional and international conference agendas. He thanked IOM Development Fund for the support saying it is up to them to ensure that the project runs successfully for the benefit of diaspora, Basotho and Lesotho as a whole. At the same event Deputy Minister of Home Affairs, Mr. Machesetsa Mofomobe said the issue of diaspora engagement is long overdue saying therefore that the timing of the project is perfect.

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He explained that the eighth amendments to the Constitutional Bill 2018 which will allow dual citizenship was passed in the National Assembly saying it is going to pave way for proper engagement with Basotho diaspora abroad. “I have observed since my arrival in the ministry that we make Basotho foreigners while at the same time we grant Lesotho citizenship to foreigners. I hope now the diaspora will feel at home and be able to invest back home in terms of human resources, skills and entrepreneurship and together we can build a prosperous Lesotho,” he said.
He congratulated the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for this milestone achievement on this noble project and IOM for its unwavering support to the government of Lesotho over the years on issues of migration. On the other hand, Director of International Migration, Ms. Eriko Nishiruma said the diaspora project is in line with the sustainable development goal 10 which advocates for facilitating of safe, regular and responsible migration and mobility of the people including through the implementation of planned and well managed migration policies. She commended Lesotho for the initiative and launching the project saying this is the beginning of long journey in ensuring that diaspora Basotho are recognised.
On behalf of Minister of Labour and Employment Chief Joang Molapo thanked IOM Lesotho for their continued efforts in assisting Lesotho to better manage migration in order for it to benefit all. He highlighted that Lesotho has a relatively long experience with migration as both a sending and receiving nation saying migration has been the mainstay of this country since time in memorial. He stated that migration cannot be stopped therefore they have to engage means for better management and governance. He emphasised that if they can handle diaspora in a manner in which the roadmap is designed, he is certain that they will realise better results in the engagement with their diaspora, saying it is high time that they stop seeing nationals abroad as a loss but rather realise that engaged diaspora can be an asset or better still a counterweight to the emigration of skilled and talented migrants. Meanwhile, the event was also graced with the presence of Minister of Health, Mr. Nkaku Kabi and Minister in Prime Minister's office, Mr. Temeki Ts'olo. There are about 179,579 Basotho in the diaspora. The project has been funded by IOM Development Fund to the tune of about M2,8 million and it is expected to run until August 2020.

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