LRA, SLB, BEDCO unite against unemployment

NEO SENOKO

MASERU – Rising unemployment remains one of the biggest challenges, particularly among the youth of the country. Statistics from the World Bank show that unemployment in Lesotho remains high at 24 to 28 percent coupled with high inequality and poverty. The best performance for the country was back in the year 2000 when Lesotho recorded the lowest jobless rate of 22.96 percent.

In an attempt to address the unimpressive situation that has been exacerbated by rising youth unemployment, the Lesotho Revenue Authority in collaboration with Standard Lesotho Bank and the Basotho Enterprise Development Corporation once again joined hands through the Bacha Entrepreneurship project to assist young, unemployed Basotho entrepreneurs realise their dreams and finally employ some of their counterparts.

The project, currently in its second phase, will be more inclusive by reducing entry levels to COSC. In phase one only graduates between the ages of 21 and 35 were allowed to compete for M500 000 put aside by the three institutions. Only three successful entrepreneurs were given the opportunity to lay their hands on the M500 000 to grow their businesses.

This year however, things have improved a bit with four entrepreneurs scheduled to have a share from the increased amount of M700 000. Speaking on behalf of the project, Standard Lesotho Bank marketing manager Manyathela Kheleli noted: “In phase one we were only awarding graduates but now things have changed following the public outcry. We have also increased the amount to M700 000 with four entrepreneurs scheduled to benefit.

“We are currently undertaking road shows throughout the country in an effort to create awareness among the youth of this country regarding the project.” Since the launch of the project in 2015, a total of eight companies have benefited through the project. While statistics further suggest the country’s economy grew on average around three percent for the past three years, more growth can be achieved through the success of projects such as the Bacha Entrepreneurship Project.

Manyathela, however, warned that people who compete for the funding should be dedicated and focused in order to realise their dreams. “We need people who are dedicated and understand the bigger picture. You need to devote your time in order to be successful,” added Manyathela in an interview with Public Eye on Tuesday this week, revealing they had encountered problems in the past.

“People should be sure that they are really entrepreneurs because we have encountered a situation where people abandon their projects and go on to seek employment elsewhere.”

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