It’s time for Africa — Matekane

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Bereng Mpaki

BUSINESS mogul Sam Matekane is dreaming of seeing Africa’s natural resources being processed on the continent to address its developmental challenges like unemployment.

Fresh from being named Africa’s leading entrepreneur of the year by Forbes last weekend, Mr Matekane on Monday told journalists that Africa was blessed with natural resources that should be used to develop it.

Mr Matekane, who is the chairperson of the multi-sector business empire, Matekane Group of Companies (MGC), said the continent must unite to address its challenges.

“With the natural resources that we have in Africa, we should be able to move from being mere consumers to being manufacturers,” Mr Matekane said.

“For example, Lesotho is one of the countries with the best diamonds but we still do not have businesses that process the diamonds. My dream is to see Lesotho setting up diamond auctions and opening more businesses for diamond jewellery and polishing in this country.

“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 said the African business sector should be united to fight the Covid-19 pandemic.

“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.”

He said the African continent needs an average of 40 million vaccines daily and only South Africa, Egypt, Morocco, Senegal and Tunisia are unable to meet the demand with their own vaccine production.

“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,” Mr Matekane said.

On receiving the Forbes award, Mr Matekane said it presents him, Lesotho and Africa with a challenge to prove that this was not a fluke.

“This award is given to African entrepreneurs who have performed excellently throughout the years. 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,” Mr Matekane sai

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