Africa-Press – Lesotho. The prevailing geopolitical tensions, global pandemics, and far-reaching effects of climate change, continue to have a devastating impact on human life, livelihoods, economies and communities around the world.
This situation has been compounded by soaring food and fuel prices as well as the unsustainable levels of debt. This is according to Prime Minister Sam Matekane while addressing the recent 15th Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa (BRICS) summit held in Sandton, South Africa.
Mr Matekane also said people in the global south bore the heaviest brunt of all these challenges, hence the urgency of dialogue among developing countries to promote economic development, peace, and prosperity, has never been greater.
“We call for dialogue and negotiations as fundamental tools for achieving economic development and peaceful resolution of conflicts around the world. We call on the BRICS countries to support the African Common Position in this regard,” Mr Matekane said.
“We commend the rising influence of the BRICS bloc in recent years and believe it can serve as a valuable platform for addressing the key challenges faced by the global south.
By fostering stronger relations among developing countries, we can unlock considerable opportunities for trade, investment, and technological development,” Mr Matekane said.
Mr Matekane also said the BRICS countries were among the largest export markets in the world and their role and influence in global trade could not be overstated.
“As we approach the 78th Session of the United Nations General Assembly, it is evident that many countries lag behind in our collective pursuit of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
The need for immediate action is crucial when addressing global challenges like climate change,” Mr Matekane said. “In the current Public Sector Investment Programme, there are several infrastructure projects that are aimed at addressing the gaps in the energy and transport infrastructure.
Lesotho is endowed with natural resources, specifically water and diamonds. ” The premier added Lesotho also had huge potential for green energy generation such as hydro, solar and wind power for domestic markets and export into the southern Africa power-pool.
“We, therefore, invite BRICS countries to partner with us and invest in these ventures which offer guaranteed lucrative returns on investment.
Allow me also, Excellencies, to inform you that we are planning to convene the Water and Hydrogen Conference and EXPO in Maseru, Lesotho, from 12 and 13 October 2023,” Mr Matekane said.
“We welcome strategic partnerships with like-minded nations and institutions. We invite all of you to grace this ground-breaking conference with your presence”.
Mr Matekane also said Lesotho recognised the importance of infrastructure as a catalyst for promoting economic growth and attracting private investment, adding the development of air transport and road networks was equally important.
The government, he added, had accordingly prioritised the construction of interconnecting roads that will link Lesotho and certain parts of South Africa with the port of Durban.
Lesotho, he further noted, was therefore making efforts to enhance and upgrade its international airport. “This presents an auspicious opportunity for investment and collaboration with BRICS countries and the business sector,” he said.
Moreover, Mr Matekane indicated that with the establishment of the New Development Bank (NDB), he anticipated funding opportunities to implement various agreements such as the African Continental Free Trade Area Agreement, as well as China and India preferential arrangements.
“We need to place greater emphasis on the three fundamental pillars underpinning BRICS, namely promoting financial and economic development through cooperation and openness, respecting the sovereignty of other countries and pursuing peaceful resolutions to conflicts, and working to ensure justice and representation in the global governance system,” Mr Matekane said.