Maseru: Today, Chargé d’Affaires, a.i. of the United States Embassy Keisha Toms-Boutaleb joined by the Principal Secretary of the Ministry of Trade and Industry Dr. Francis Tlhopheho Sefali, the Interim CEO of the Lesotho National Development Cooperation (LNDC) Molise Ramaili, and the Managing Director of Lesotho PostBank Molefi Leqhaoe for the Second Annual Lesotho Annual Exporter Awards Ceremony. The Annual Exporter Awards is a collaboration between the United States Government, through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), LNDC, and Lesotho PostBank to recognize and reward export performance and innovation by Lesotho export firms.
The event is meant to incentivize and encourage export firms in Lesotho to continue exploring innovative ways to improve their export competitiveness and their ability to take advantage of the nearby South African market and the U.S. market under the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA).
The awards were presented in a total of six categories. For Most Innovative and Versatile Exporter, LeafGlow emerged as the winner, while Jalad Africa won the award for both Best Exporter in Market Sustainability and Best Emerging Exporter. Centimetre emerged as the winner of Best Exporter for Market and Product Diversification, while Liberation Clothing won the award for High Impact Exporter for their exemplary community engagement and employee empowerment efforts.
The award winners, covering industries such as garments, personal protective equipment, handicrafts, cosmetics, and agro-processed products, were representative of an increasingly diverse Lesotho export sector. Jalad Africa emerged as the overall winner and was named Exporter of the Year for 2022. The firm will now compete in the Regional Awards to be held in July, against other Exporter of the Year winners from Eswatini, Mozambique, South Africa, and Zambia. LNDC and Lesotho PostBank established an expert evaluation team to judge the nominees.
Chargé d’Affaires, a.i. Toms-Boutaleb lauded the continuing collaboration between the United States and the Kingdom of Lesotho and noted that the results of this collaboration are illustrated by the award winners. She said: “We look forward to the day that beautiful Basotho handmade handbags are used not just in the United States, but across the world, benefiting the people of Lesotho.”
P.S. Dr. Sefali said: “As a small country, we need to aim higher and go beyond our borders to international markets, like the exporting companies here today have done. Our prosperity as a country unquestionably depends on that.”
The United States Government will continue to assist Lesotho export firms to increase exports by overcoming complex market entry requirements and connecting with the U.S. and regional markets.
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