Lo­cal mo­bile phone com­pany launched

Sunday Express - - FRONT PAGE - Bereng Mpaki

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.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Lesotho

© PressReader. All rights reserved.