Connect with us


We must export or we perish!



First and foremost, I will like to congratulate ‘my homeboy’, Mr Nkaku Nkabi for being elected the new leader of the All Basotho Convention (ABC). Hee Mazenod e betla likakapa. As a self-appointed ambassador of Mazenod Airport City, I hereby convey sentiments made by the citizens of Mazenod; “Hee Ntate, re kopa linotlolo tsa li-lexus, hoba re batla ho busa. Asseblief!” Banna! So there’s yet another political party that has been formed? Is it the millionth one? I don’t even remember its name but the only thing I saw on the news on LTV, is that it has a blue colour. What a bloody waste of time! Haai! The quality of politics in Lesotho has deteriorated to the lowest level. Petty and without quality. Emong ke enoa ka mona, o na fana ka likoankoara le mazimba, TY mane. Likoankoara! (Hey Muckraker, here’s an idea for a catchy nickname). The whole Deputy Prime Minister of Lesotho was busy campaigning in Teya-Teyaneng by buying mazimba and likoankoara from street vendors and handing them out to the needy. Deputy Prime Minister! Awe banna. Khot! In any case, as I’ve previously mentioned, I’m not going to vote in the upcoming general elections, so I couldn’t be bothered. I won’t stand in the queue for hours to elect the very same old corrupt people. Now, let’s talk about some mentality stimulating stuff. There’s a research that was recently conducted by South African universities on the top subjects in demand by matriculants or simply put, the most applied for subject, for first year entry. Subjects of choice. You’ll be surprised to know that subjects or courses in high-demand on the list are: 1. Bachelor of Law, 2. Bachelor of Medicine (MBChB) and 3. Bachelor of education. But why is law in such high demand? I was smart, I didn’t choose law but architecture and there’s an interesting point that one of my lecturers named Rodney Harbour once made on our first day of our architecture lecture at the University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN). Rodney (He always insisted on being called by his first name) told us about how an annual intake of architectural students (number of 1st year students) is determined and the theory was quite fascinating. The intake was determined by and based on the number of bags of cement sold per annum. That would be an indicator of: 1. Projected construction activity and 2. Projected economic activity. For instance, PPC would then inform the then University of Natal that, “we see a sudden boom in sales and we think this graph will grow for the next four to five years”. PPC would further say, “As a result of the demand in cement (bags), we’ll require you (University of Natal) to train 100 architects, 120 Civil Engineers, 130 Structural Engineers and 45 Quantity surveyors.” Based on the forecast of economic needs! Even though Rodney simplified the analogy on the number of bags sold, it made us think we were surely being trained with a promise of a job at the end of the three-year course (out-put). In a way, this is how an economy should be run and I’ve always suspected that we don’t quite know how to run an economy in Lesotho. Without sounding as arrogant as some people perceive me to, we don’t understand the fundamentals of running an economy, hence the low economic activity and high unemployment rate. Bo-Ntate, le Bo-Mme, in simple language, if you do not export, you perish. You have to export, in order to earn foreign currency. That’s the profit of a country. Imagine running a business that never realises a profit. The same applies to countries. You can’t run a country where almost everyone relies on the government. It doesn’t work that way. We need to produce, to export. Our education and training system keeps on producing graduates without factoring basic and global economic needs. Let’s take a classic mistake we repeatedly make of producing 100 million lawyers, 500 000 sociologists and 5 million teachers year-in, year out without looking at the demands of the economy. Who needs a million lawyers? That’s why Lesotho is so unstable. Lawyers are very troublesome. Haai! There’s never peace where lawyers are in the majority. I tell you. Let me put it this way; there is an exceptionally high demand for quality organic food globally. Lesotho has fertile soil, clean water, clean air and a young labour force to drive production of high-value crops such as asparagus. Markets such as China and India have a growing middle class that is starting to eat well and demands organic food. Why don’t we invest in hydroponic farming, possibly in the closed textile factories? Now, even though global trends are moving in that direction, Lesotho is still stuck in the old ways of producing thousands of graduates that are irrelevant for global needs. Let’s take a look at the situation at the Limkokwing University of Creative Technology. Is there a need to keep on producing so many architects, graphic designers and fashion designers? To be absorbed by which economy? Can this economy absorb a mass production of architects and graphic designers? The answer is no. Lesotho needs to learn from countries such as Germany and South Korea. About 60 years ago, both countries made a conscious decision to shift their education system to vocational training as well as science and technology. This shift was done in anticipation to building industries for the export and global market. Look at the global success of Samsung, LG and Hisense. What about the global success of VW, BMW and Mercedes? The global market. An outward approach to an economy. The truth of the matter is that Lesotho is just wasting money by training people that end up obsolete. People who can’t even plant spinach or cabbage. People that just want to sit in offices, watch YouTube, eat biscuits and fart all day. If you want to grow an economy, you grow it by exporting products and earning foreign currency. You can’t run an economy by just mass-producing people that will end up being unproductive. Exports create jobs! Look at Letšeng Diamonds. Does it mine diamonds for the local market? No! Maybe it’s time Lesotho looks into investing aggressively to upgrade the Lesotho Agricultural College (LAC) and possibly convert it to a fully-fledged university of agriculture to respond to global needs. In closing, the real trick is to learn to adapt to changing global needs. When the Distell Group (producers of Savannah) was affected by the ban of alcohol due to the hard lock-down in 2020, it resorted to producing hand sanitisers with the alcohol in stock, in response to a global need caused by the Covid-19 pandemic. I mean, the pandemic taught a lot of people to respond and adapt to changes. A lot of factories changed their production to producing masks and this is the way to respond to economic needs. Unlike a factory named Lesotho that would still be producing underwear (mekoarela) instead of responding to global economic needs of masks. Let’s adapt to changes, export or perish!

Continue Reading
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *



Copyright © 2022. The Post Newspaper. All Rights Reserved