Uganda and Lesotho to Establish Joint Bilateral Commission to Strengthen Cooperation

MASERU, Lesotho – Uganda and the Kingdom of Lesotho have taken a significant step towards enhancing their bilateral and economic ties by agreeing to establish a Joint Bilateral Commission (JBC). This landmark decision was reached during a crucial meeting held on Monday, 27th May 2024, between H.E. Amb. Paul Amoru, the High Commissioner of Uganda to Lesotho, and Lesotho’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Hon. Lejone Mpotjoane, along with Principal Secretary Ms. Thabang Lekhela, at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs headquarters in Maseru.
In the meeting, Minister Mpotjoane praised High Commissioner Amoru for his steadfast commitment to strengthening and expanding cooperation between Uganda and Lesotho. The proposal for a Joint Framework of Cooperation—either as a Joint Commission for Cooperation (JCC) or a Joint Bilateral Commission for Cooperation (JBC)—aims to establish a platform for discussing and formalising sectoral Memoranda of Understanding (MOUs).
The key areas of cooperation identified during the discussions include education, agriculture (specifically coffee production and exchange), renewable energy, information and communication technology (ICT), and tourism. High Commissioner Amoru highlighted the potential for increasing trade volumes and fostering a balanced relationship that benefits both nations, citing the longstanding trade partnership between Uganda and Lesotho. He also emphasised the cultural exchanges between the countries, focusing on their shared values and traditional African heritage.
With over 200 Ugandan families residing in Lesotho and contributing to various sectors such as education, health, NGOs, and the informal economy, the ties between the business communities of both countries have strengthened, promoting bilateral trade and investment. High Commissioner Amoru stressed the importance of the visa-free policy between Uganda and Lesotho, describing it as a symbol of trust that has facilitated social and economic benefits through open borders.
Amb. Amoru was accompanied by two Ugandan businessmen, Mr. Andrew Mukiibi and Mr. Norman, during his visit. Mr. Norman expressed interest in constructing student accommodation in Maseru, while Mr. Mukiibi is looking to expand his fresh fruits and vegetables venture, which currently operates in Kempton Park, Johannesburg, supplying organic produce such as pineapples, avocados, sweet potatoes, and bananas.
Minister Mpotjoane reiterated Lesotho’s strong commitment to collaborating with Uganda to enhance economic productivity for mutual benefit. He also announced plans for the Prime Minister of Lesotho to visit Uganda at the earliest opportunity. The Acting Principal Secretary was tasked with drafting the JBC agreement, which will be shared with the Ugandan High Commission for further input.
High Commissioner Amoru’s visit to Maseru, which began on Friday, 24th May 2024, included meetings with the leadership and members of the Ugandan community in Lesotho, engagements with the Minister and Principal Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and connections with private sector actors in Lesotho. He was accompanied by Mr. Opio Richard Bob, Second Secretary of the Uganda High Commission, Mr. Mukiibi of Federal Foods, and Mr. Norman, a Ugandan businessman with extensive operations in South Africa and Lesotho.
The Uganda High Commission in Pretoria remains dedicated to fostering robust bilateral relations and economic cooperation between Uganda and Lesotho, aiming for sustained growth and development that benefits both nations.
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