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By Kabelo Mollo
Something big is coming. I have been saying this for six or seven months now. It keeps proving true. First the government changed in the kingdom with almost one outright winner. Then out of nowhere I found myself in Washington DC at the African Leaders Summit and then while all that was happening business was quietly developing in the background. It’s coming, but the question is, are we ready for it?
I have been thinking about my trip to the US and what I think the summit actually meant. I’ve been struggling to put my thoughts down but I’ll try my best in this piece. I get the distinct feeling there’s about to be a scramble for Africa again. But not for its resources this time, rather for its virgin market share. The unbanked, the untouched in tech and the under resourced. America is obviously very keen to capture vast swathes of the continents green fields. It looks to me though like they’ve missed a beat because China arrived first and have built a wonderful patronage with African leaders to date. China’s investment strategy on the continent has been deliberate and consistent. Say what you will about the Chinese but they have ploughed in big capital and have duly negotiated favourable contracts for themselves. This begs the question: will America arrive in the mood for a bidding war? Or will they focus solely on the aforementioned Greenfield investments?
Lesotho is very far back in terms of digital and technological advancement. We are that untouched potential investment that a venture capitalist with a decent risk appetite would want to bet on. In every sphere of our existence technological advancement could improve our lives. Whether its communication, agribusiness, mining or even tourism the Kingdom is going to require both hard and software that expedites processes so that we might find ourselves sustainable and also competitive in a global economy. Both China and the US should be looking at Lesotho with glee. The potential for smart cities, smart farming, and other IOT solutions is huge!
Both superpowers have enjoyed warm relations with the country in the past and I haven’t heard anything to the contrary with our new administration. So then, which one will trump the other in the quest to capture the bulk of the available opportunity? And how will the other partner position themselves to prove better viability? How will they avoid a bidding war? And most importantly how will Lesotho ensure that it gets the best deal for the country? President Biden seemed bullish at his multilateral summit and the African presidents in turn seemed malleable enough, but President Xi was the ever present elephant in the room.
I don’t want to harp on about the two super powers. In fact, I want to rather focus on what we as ordinary Basotho whether we’re entrepreneurs or laymen are doing to ready ourselves for what’s coming? Are we prepared for the fourth industrial revolution? Are we familiar with Web 3 and crypto? Are we ready for data centres and that type of large scale investment? What in reality will the rollout of 5G mean to us?
It’s all well and good having an iPhone 15 so you can take IG worthy pictures, but are you maximizing the potential of the machine? In a country this far back in terms of digital and technological advancement that’s a power tool that ought not just be for IG worthiness. Which is not to belittle that particular medium because that could potentially be a revenue stream as well. It could be a lot more though!
I’m excited for what’s coming. Myself and my small business are prepared for what’s coming. Sky Alpha HD is in a position to receive investment for scaling up, while also being ready to carry on along the path we’re on! Ours is an agile business, and we’re small enough that we can contort in to whatever’s requisite. I hope those of you with digital and digi-ready solutions are prepared…