By ‘Mathabana Kotelo
MASERU — Plans are afoot to set up a micro lending institution to help finance small and medium scale enterprises set up and run by Basotho women.
The facility, which will be funded by Arron Banks, a venture capitalist from London, will give out loans to women looking to start up green field enterprises as well as those who want to expand small businesses already in operation.
Speaking to the Lesotho Times last week, Tsa bo Moshemane ha li jeoe women’s league President, ‘Malefa Mapheleba, said the financial institution would enable women to start business ventures through easy access to loans.
She hailed Gender Minister Thesele Maseribane for his dedicated efforts at empowering Basotho women saying “the minister has been very good to us and we ought to support him as Basotho women.” Maseribane had taken representatives of the league with him on a trip to London where they met Banks who in turn visited the country last week to discuss the proposed micro finance institution.
Mapheleba stressed that the initiative was not politically motivated but was “an opportunity for all women, regardless of their political affiliations.”
Addressing hordes of women who gathered at the AME Hall in Maseru last week for a meeting with Banks, the President of the Federation ofLesotho Women Entrepreneurs , ‘Mamahlapane Rakuoane said: “The minister (Maseribane) heeded our plea and found us an investor who will assist us in the implementation of our projects and empower Basotho women to run their own businesses.”
Rakuoane said the minister had invited them on a trip to London where they were introduced to Banks.
Banks and his team also met women in Maputsoe and Maseru last week to discuss his project. He visited their handicraft exhibitions.
Banks is expected back in the country soon to sign a Memorandum of Understanding for the proposed financial institution.
Mapheleba appealed to women from all walks of life to attend the signing ceremony , saying it was time for women and the Basotho nation at large to participate in growing the economy and creating employment instead of relying on foreign investors.