Maseru – Mosotho business mogul Mr Sam Matekane, who was last week named Africa’s leading entrepreneur by Forbes magazine, says Africa’s time is now.
The chairperson of Lesotho’s multi-sector business empire, Matekane Group of Companies, told journalists this week that he dreams of seeing Africa’s natural resources being processed on the continent to address developmental challenges like unemployment.
Instead of remaining consumers, Mr Matekane said, Africa should start manufacturing and adding value to its resources.
“For example, Lesotho is one of the countries with the best diamonds but we still do not have businesses that processes the diamonds. My dream is to see Lesotho setting up diamond auctions and opening more businesses for diamond jewellery and polishing in this country,” said Mr Matekane.
“The business sector should be united to start thinking about how Lesotho can be the self-sufficient with enough industries that create the much-needed jobs.”
He also said the COVID-19 pandemic presented opportunities that spurred development.
“This pandemic presents 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 and enhance testing and care for COVID-19 patients.
“Imagine what kind of economic impact we could bring if we set up vaccine factories in Lesotho based on this kind of demand? We must know what constraints we have as Africans to manufacture COVID-19 vaccines and start addressing those demand gaps.
“It is time Africa stands to address its own developmental challenges. I therefore, appeal to all relevant role players locally and in the region to find ways of expanding the capacity of vaccine manufacturing in Africa.
“As the business sector, our role is to set up the required manufacturing infrastructure and get the necessary steps to roll out. My dream is to see my country being self-sufficient and Africa becoming united and able to address its own challenges without heavy reliance on the international countries. I believe Africans can do this,” said Mr Matekane.
Turning to the Forbes honour, he said: “I am humbled for being one of those whose work is recognised as outstanding. I also realise the responsibility that comes with this award.
“I am aware that I must play a role to serve my nation as an agent of change in the business sector. I have certain aspirations, which I firmly believe are achievable if people can work together.”