Basotho Diaspora Online Platform launched



MASERU— Wednesday, April 17 marked the official launch of the Basotho Diaspora Online Platform at the United Nations (UN) in Lesotho, spearheaded by the Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Relations. This platform is poised to enhance communication and networking between the government of Lesotho and the Basotho diaspora community.

Minister Lejone Mpotjoane explained that the Basotho online platform is tailored to broaden interaction among the Basotho diaspora through a structured approach that aligns with contemporary technological demands. “We are genuinely excited to witness these technological advancements, which are also aligned with our second National Strategic Development Plan (NSDP), where technology and innovation are paramount to national priorities,” he said.

Mpotjoane noted that this platform will facilitate seamless communication among Basotho residing in different countries, enabling them to share news from Lesotho and beyond. Additionally, it will serve as a conduit for information regarding investment opportunities, employment, and other essential issues of the nation.

He elaborated on the significant progress made regarding the diaspora agreement, highlighting achievements such as the formulation of diaspora policy by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the establishment of the Basotho Diaspora Association and, notably, the integration of migration and diaspora issues into the NSDP for the first time in national planning history over the past five years by the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning.

He revealed that, as a result of these efforts, Lesotho has been nominated by the office in Geneva to lead other countries on the global compact for safe, regular, and orderly migration. Mpotjoane affirmed their readiness to undertake this responsibility, striving to position Lesotho as a leading country within the Southern African Development Community (SADC) region.

Halieo Lelosa, President of the Basotho Diaspora Association (BDA), highlighted the widespread presence of Basotho globally, mentioning that in 2021, Basotho were situated in 51 countries across five continents, with the possibility of even more countries now. She outlined the initiatives undertaken by BDA, including the establishment of a WhatsApp group for grassroots leaders to address the diverse needs of their members, encompassing migrant workers, cultural preservation, burial societies, and economic empowerment.

Lelosa said the Basotho diaspora online platform will serve as a central hub for diaspora members to exchange knowledge and engage on matters pertaining to their connections with Lesotho, as well as foster networking opportunities amongst themselves. Council member of the Republic of South Africa and developer of the BDA online platform, Maraisane Ntšekhe described it as a versatile tool that can be utilised by various stakeholders, including ministries within the country, seeking to collaborate with the diaspora.

He referred to the platform as a comprehensive database accessible online, allowing individuals to register and access stored information securely. Ntšekhe underscored its capacity to facilitate remittances directly through the platform, eliminating the need for physical transactions.

The acting Head of Office at IOM Lesotho, Masoai Dennis emphasised the pivotal role of migrants as agents of change, enabling the development of both country of origin and destination countries through contributions such as remittances, investments, expertise, and skills.

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