LESOTHO National Development Corporation (LNDC) Chief Executive Officer Kelebone Leisanyane has commended local companies for participating at the Source Africa 2015 in Cape Town, South Africa which he said helped create synergies to bolster the manufacturing sector.
The annual show, which was held from 9 to 11 June 2015, is the most important annual pan-African textile, clothing, and footwear trade event on the international calendar. It is meant to foster linkages between buyers, manufacturers, and suppliers to ensure investment into the manufacturing sector in Africa thereby accelerating job-creation.
The event is also meant to show that African textile, apparel and footwear manufacturers can compete with the rest of the world on price, quality and standards. It brings together manufacturers, suppliers and service providers, enabling African and international buyers to examine a wide array of products and services.
The Lesotho pavilion at the show housed five local textile and footwear companies, Formosa Textiles, Hippo Knitting, Springfield, Basotho Leisurewear, Luqi’s Investments and Mauri Garments.
Up to 28 Basotho-owned medium-sized companies also exhibited their footwear, men’s and ladies fashion wear as well as accessories and work wear. Lesotho Express represented the services sector.
Mr Leisanyane lauded the local companies which participated at the event, adding that the corporation recognised the significant role industry plays in job creation.
He said the companies participation was important since it came at a “critical time” after the United States government had shown more commitment to enhancing the region’s industry through the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) and support for events like Source Africa.
AGOA is a legislation approved by the American Congress in May 2000 to assist sub-Saharan economies and improve relations between the continent and the US. The law provides trade preferences for quota and duty-free entry into the United States for certain goods, notably textile products and is due to expire in September. While the US Senate has recently passed legislation to extend the Act for another 10 years, it still has to go through the House of Representatives.
The legislation has played a big role in sustaining Lesotho’s textile industry, which is the single biggest private sector employer with approximately 39 000 workers.
Said Mr Leisanyane: Lesotho’s participation at Source Africa in the past two years has not only been helpful in terms of securing more orders for local manufacturers, but also by exposing them to the sophistication of products manufactured in the region and in the continent.
“The exposure that the trade fair provides to our medium Basotho-owned companies plays a significant role in the efforts employed to localise the industry.”
This year’s event included a two-day trade exhibition, African country pavilions, and international business seminars with focus on AGOA. Over 1600 decision makers had an opportunity to view an extensive range of products and services from more than 200 exhibitors in 2015.