Local mobile phone company launched
HISTORY was made on Friday in Maseru when Lesotho launched its first ever mobile phone manufacturing company, Diamond Stone. A brainchild of the former MGC Executive Director, Toloane Matekane, and Mohono Mohono of SME Group, Diamond Stone is a company that manufactures smart phones under the same brand name.
The company officials said they spent the last two years doing extensive research in order to develop its range of smartphones that include the Amber, Eternity and Promise series.
The firm hopes to capitalise on the low penetration of smartphones, especially among the rural population.
With a production base in Sekamaneng on the northern outskirts of Maseru town, Diamond Stone is a small scale enterprise currently employing 20 people.
The number of jobs created by the company is estimated to increase to 35 within the next six months and grow to 200 by the end of 2018/19 financial year.
The company officials claim they manufacture mobile phones from scratch, initially for the local market although the aim is to gradually expand into the Southern Africa region and ultimately to the rest of the continent and beyond.
According to the Managing Director of Diamond Stone Mr Matekane, the first batch of smartphones will hit the market at the end of next month in selected shops as part of a testing phase.
“Digital life will no longer be a privilege of the few,” Mr Matekane said, adding, “This (smartphone) is the most powerful digital tool ever created in Lesotho to empower every Mosotho”.
“Diamond Stone will democratise the digital culture in the Kingdom and even Basotho in the remotest of villages will have the same access to digital entertainment, digital learning and banking methods which are currently enjoyed by those in towns.
“I am mandating the Diamond Stone team to encourage phone users in Lesotho to migrate to Diamond Stone phones.”
Temeki Tšolo, a Minister in the Prime Minister’s Office, hailed the historic launch, saying it would create more jobs for Basotho, increase diversification and innovation in the manufacturing industry.
“The birth of any new company is worth celebrating in an unstable economy such as ours, but the birth of a company completely owned by Basotho is a clear demonstration of the will of the people to do what they can in the circumstances to salvage their future,” Mr Tšolo said.
Small Business Development Minis- ter, Chalane Phori, who represented the Minister of Communication, Science and Technology, Joang Molapo, appealed to Basotho to support the company to enable it to grow.
“This development will improve Lesotho’s reputation and it is an indication that we are developing as a country.
“I am therefore very proud of this company and call on all Basotho to support it in order for it to be successful,” Mr Phori said.
For his part, co-founder of Diamond Stone, Mr Mohono said the project was inspired by the need for the country to start moving towards an efficiencydriven economy as its natural resources would eventually run out, thus calling for alternatives on which the economy could be based.
The launch was attended by captains of industry, cabinet ministers, principal secretaries as well as members of parliament among others.
Minister in the Prime Minister’s Office Temeki Tšolo (right) cuts the ribbon.at the launch of Diamond Stone while the company’s co-founder Toloane Matekane (left) looks on.
saMples of phones manufactured by Diamond Stone.