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Standard Bank, China in economic drive

Lesotho Times

Lesotho's widely read newspaper, published every Thursday and distributed throughout the country and in some parts of South Africa. Contact us today: News: [email protected] Advertising: [email protected] Telephone: +266 2231 5356

Tokelo Khausela

THE Standard Bank Group, in partnership with the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC), are on an ambitious drive to boost the Lesotho economy by opening Chinese markets for local producers.

The two parties facilitated for a local beekeeper, Sister Julia Mafike, to participate in the third edition of the China-Africa Economic and Trade Expo (CAETE) held in Changsha, China, from 29 June to 2 July 2023.

The expo was meant to capacitate small-scale enterprises with expertise on trade and producing top-standard products.

This was the first time that African entrepreneurs had the opportunity to experience the trade exhibition.

This year’s CAETE was held under the theme, ‘Common development for a shared future’.

Standard Lesotho Bank marketing manager – communications and sponsorships, Manyathela Kheleli, said this was a great opportunity for Basotho as China was the second-largest economy in the world and was in need of different products such as raw materials.

“They (China) are opening up opportunities of trade to Africa in order to foster direct business cooperation at sub-national level,” Mr Kheleli said.

“The focus of this recent trade expo was more on the agricultural sector and beekeeping industry, hence the selection of a Mosotho, Sister Julia Mafike, who met the standard requirements. She participated in the expo through her beekeeping business and her product was up to standard.”

Mr Manyathela also noted that the expo would assist Sister Mafike to grow her business profile, as well as positively impact Lesotho’s economy.

“The opportunity to export beyond borders is directly linked to the growth of the economy because she will be receiving foreign currency from her sales, thus, leading to the potential of growing the country’s worth,” he said.

For her part, Sister Mafike, who owns JMM beekeeping (PTY) Ltd, said she was delighted to participate in the expo as it had broadened her market. She added her trip was a success because she had secured new clients.

“In the three days I spent at the expo, I managed to build relations with a chemist owner in China to supply them with the honey. My products meet the market requirements as they have undergone trials at the National University of Lesotho’s laboratory and passed the tests,” Sister Mafike said.

The businesswoman also said she offers wines with 19 different flavours infused with honey. Her business supports local brands as she uses fruits from Lesotho in her products.

“I realised that the Chinese are far ahead in technology and that is one trait that makes them thrive. If we work towards the attainment of learning and adapting, we could be unstoppable.

“I hope to get new packaging materials for my wines and have a unique bottling that will attract my clients from a distance,” Sister Mafike proudly added.