Tap market opportunities,  says Vodacom boss

Tap market opportunities, says Vodacom boss

MASERU – VODACOM Managing Director, Mohale Ralebitso, says Lesotho must be clear on its market opportunities and positioning if we are to build a country we can all be proud of.
Ralebitso was speaking on Monday at the Brand Africa Network’s roundtable business discussion with the theme: Brand Lesotho – Catalyst for Investment Creativity and Prosperity.

Ralebitso said Basotho should focus on their major exports such as water and collaborate with other countries to achieve success.
“We should compete for market share instead of working individually. We should start to own and invest in our own resources,” Ralebitso said.
He said the marketing channels must be clear and well aligned with clear segment propositions for targeted market segments.
“We should try to activate tourism investment,” he said.
The Lesotho chapter of the Brand Africa Network hosted Lesotho’s first Brand Africa roundtable discussion in an effort to facilitate meaningful discussions around how Basotho can work together to build a brand for Lesotho.

The founder and chairman of Brand Africa, Thebe Ikalafeng, said “we are living in a very beautiful continent which can feed the rest of the world”.
He said the image of Africa does not reflect its economic diversity, entrepreneurial aspirations hence the optimism that goes with rising investment, growth and stability.
Ikalafeng said current economic growth rate for Africa was far too low.
He said African industrial development has been stalled since the 1970s and the livelihood of most Africans has been marred by poverty, hunger, poor education, ill health, violence and corruption.
Ikalafafeng said Africans must unite on how they are going to move the continent forward for the better.

“We should fight to have a common market in Africa,” he said.
He said we normally talk about the good attributes of Lesotho yet we don’t talk of our brand.
He described national branding as highlighting, encouraging, reinforcing, communicating and aligning a nation’s attributes to present the nation in a way that helps it reach defined strategy goals.
“The more interconnected the world is, the more people crave a sense of place. The more distinctive and unusual, the better,” he said.

He said Basotho need to find their roots so as to stand out and be recognisable.
He quoted Thabo Mbeki that “out of Africa reborn must come modern products of human economic activity, significant contribution to the world of knowledge, in the arts, science and technology, new images of an Africa of peace and prosperity”.
Ikalafeng said we need to support our brands.

He said 80 percent of the brands Africa admires are not from Africa.
He said that Africa accounts for only 1.8 percent of intellectual property in the world and 2.4 percent of trademarks, which account for 87 percent of all African intellectual property.
The Brand Africa’s Investment Climate Reform Manager, Rebone Makoa, said that as a country we should collaborate and build the knots where the system does not work.

He said most of the local investors will tell you that it’s not easy to bring the money in Lesotho due to some tight regulations.
He said we need to grow and to build investment and we need to grow our own people in terms of jobs and meaningful careers and in terms of being happy to do what they are doing.
“We should build our own brand,” he said.

Refiloe Mpobole

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