Lesotho: Matekane Rues Instability, Corruption

The Lesotho flag.
12 November 2019

Business tycoon Sam Matekane of Matekane Group of Companies (MGC) says political instability and corruption have a negative impact on the country's ability to attract investment.

Mr Matekane says the on-going political instability and escalating corruption have made attracting investment into the country tougher.

Mr Matekane said this earlier this week upon his arrival from Canada where he recently received a business excellence and philanthropy award from the Canadian business community.

Through the recognition, Mr Matekane has also been appointed an ambassador of the African business community and he is now expected to act as a conduit between Canadian businesses and those from the continent.

The award certificate was jointly signed by the Canada-Africa Chamber of Business president Garreth Bloor and prime minister of Lesotho Thomas Thabane.

The message on the certificate reads: "In appreciative recognition of your outstanding business acumen and commendable philanthropic contribution for the welfare of the Basotho nation, the government of Lesotho and the Canada- Africa Chamber of Business jointly present to you Mr Ntsokoane Samuel Matekane this certificate of honour".

And on arrival back home this week, Mr Matekane said political instability and corruption chase away prospective investors.

"The major obstacles in business are political instability and corruption," Mr Matekane said.

"These very things were also discussed in Canada, that when a country is unstable, and is involved in corruption scandals, then it becomes a challenge for investors to come in because they do not like to inject money into an unpredictable environment. They will simply look for other countries to invest in.

"And this is going to make my job (of attracting investors) difficult."

He said the recognition would allow him to represent Lesotho and other African states in talks with the Canadian community.

"This award says I will be able to go to Canada to engage with the Canadian private sector to come up with plans on how to help African states to do business with their Canadian counterparts.

"I will be going back to Canada before the end of this month to meet with the Canadian Chamber of Business to plan how we are going to work going forward."

He also said that his mission is to look for trade partnerships instead of aid.

"I am not going to go out there to look for grain but I will go out to look for people who will help us to produce our own grain with the land that we have.

"I will look for investors who will come to develop our towns. That is the only way we can ever hope to change the status quo of this country.

"We all know that countries like Canada have been donating food stuffs to Lesotho for a long time but I am saying the days of donations are over. We must strive for solidarity as a nation and build a country that we can all be proud of."

Mr Matekane said the award was a huge honour to him and the whole country.

"I am thankful for the recognition because I did not know that while I was going on about my business somebody was watching. So, the award is a pat on the shoulder from those who have been watching my work."

He also called on the private sector to unite for improved impact on the country's economic development. He also encouraged them to join the Lesotho Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI), which he is a member of.

"Since I am going to be you representative in talks with the business communities from other countries, unity will make it easier for me to represent your interests.

"When business is united, it is able to engage with government and advise it accordingly on business matters. Our rulers are not business people and therefore they cannot possibly know how best to lead the business sector," Mr Matekane said.

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