Lesotho
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ETL, UNDP in partnership

By ‘Mamohaila Rampo

MASERU

To capacitate and improve women-led businesses in the country, Econet Telecom Lesotho (ETL) has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) on Monday.

ETL will provide technical and required support digitally, by launching an application called E-commerce that will sell products for a program under the UNDP called Her Empire.

Through this partnership, UNDP and ETL intend to explore and exploit jointly, usage and adoption of mobile technology to respond to emerging development challenges and accelerate attainment of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in Lesotho through provision of catalytic platforms, technologies and capacity building support to enable inclusive economic activities and data innovations, promote access to social and public services, and enable human security at community level.

Her Empire is a program, under the UNDP, of 18 women who were educated and mentored on establishing successful businesses and writing proposal. This was after realisation that UNDP database is mostly dominated by male businesses so they wanted to promote gender equality in order to ensure that female entrepreneurs are not left behind in business.

Speaking at the signing event, UNDP Resident representative to Lesotho Nessie Golakai said this is not the first MoU between the two companies , before UNDP, with the help of ETL had developed several digital solutions for the Government of Lesotho in Health, Community Policing, and some information systems to capture and analyse data to help strategic delivery of different ministerial mandates including the Micro Small Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) database for Ministry of Small Business Development, Cooperatives and Marketing, and Waste Management Information System for Ministry of Tourism, Environment and Culture.  

She said based on this experience, it was imperative for UNDP Lesotho to partner with private sector entities, particularly those in the ICT and Telecoms sectors like ETL, to provide both the technical support and other required resources. UNDP embraces value addition brought by this partnership, and it is an important enabler that fits well into our new Strategic Plan.

For his part, ETL  Chief Executive Office ( CEO) Dennis Plaatjies said a large percentage of the countries economy relies on small business that are mostly led by women, so through this agreement they will help improve  this business and provide a broader market for them through the E-commerce application that will also sell internationally.