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We should move from consumer mentality-Matekane


…as mogul brings victory home

Seabata Mahao

Lesotho’s businessman and chairman of the Matekane Group of Companies (MGC) Sam Matekane clinched the prestigious Forbes Africa’s leading entrepreneur of the year 2021 award.

Speaking at a media briefing to make the announcement, Matekane said the honour brought a sense of pride for him as he was able to hoist the national flag at the international platform.

“We are gathered here to celebrate an honour and pride that has been bestowed upon us as a nation. I am humbled by the recognition I received as the Best Africa Leading Entrepreneur of the Year. It gives me great pleasure to have been chosen to represent Lesotho and Basotho on a continental and global stage by the Foreign Investment Bank (FIN) in partnership with Forbes.

“I could not have achieved this honour without the support of Basotho and my heart is filled with gratitude and overwhelming joy. I would like us to embrace this award as a nation and see it as an ignition that will propel us to achieve more. Amidst the pandemic, the economic recession, we continue to push through and we need to remain strong and resilient as we target more milestones as Basotho as well as Africans,” Matekane said.

Matekane stated that the award is given to African entrepreneurs who have performed excellently throughout the years. Furthermore, he explained that he realises the responsibilities that come with the award and the role he has to play to serve the nation as an agent of change in the business sector.

The business sector in Lesotho as well as Africa need to unite in the fight against the current covid-19 pandemic. There is a great opportunity to harness the capacity of the African scientists, the corporates, the government and the development partners to engage in the manufacturing of a vaccine also enhance testing and care for covid-19 patients.

“Out of 54 countries of the African continent, only five are engaged in vaccine manufacturing, namely Egypt, Morocco, Senegal, South Africa and Tunisia. We have to know what constraints we have as Africans to manufacture the vaccine. It is time Africa stands on its two feet and address its own development challenges and I appeal to all relevant role players in the region to find ways of expanding the capacity of vaccine manufacturing in Africa,” Matekane said.

The role of the business sector is to set up the required manufacturing infrastructure and get the necessary steps roll out. Moreover, there are many opportunities to be explored by the business sector in Lesotho as well as in Africa and with the natural resources that are available, Africa should move from consumers to manufactures.

He further indicated that Lesotho has the best diamonds but does not have businesses that process the diamonds.

“I dream to see Lesotho setting up diamond auctions and opening more businesses for diamond jewellery and polishing to be a self-sufficient country with enough industries to create job opportunities.

“The 35 years that I have spent in business have taught me one thing which I want to share today, ‘nothing is impossible’. Basotho have supported MGC from the first day until today and I wish the growing companies in Lesotho could work together with the government to grow the economy of our country,” said Matekane.

Africa has the capability to manufacture and grow its economy as long as they can join together, he stated. Matekane also clarified that coal is manufactured from Africa to be sold to other continents while it has the ability to mine coal and manufacture steel.

Matekane mentioned that Basotho are producing locally, they need help to upscale so that the whole nation will start believing in the local products. Basotho should support local, produce local, grow local brands and the economy will grow. Also state that the business sector has a big role to play in uplifting the economy of Lesotho and eradicate poverty.

Matekane stated that the Africa Best Leading Entrepreneur of the year does not come with any funds and he also expressed his sincere gratitude to Basotho, the employees of MGC, FIN and the Forbes team. He also thanked His Majesty King Letsie III for the words of encouragement on his speech and the Government of Lesotho for the support throughout the years.

“This award is a challenge to me and you as the nation as it is a way forward for the country to join Africa and work together to improve and depend on ourselves. I plead with Africans to join in the implementation of the vaccine manufacturing laboratories by building four plants across Africa then calling in the African scientist and the business sectors as a way of job creation,” Matekane said.

Speaking to Newsday, Matekane said that, very soon he is going to present Sam Matekane Foundation. The foundation is going to assist and empower young entrepreneurs in Lesotho as well as Basotho who have passion for the business and the eagerness to grow.

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