By: Mpho Shelile

On May 26, 2024, First National Bank Lesotho (FNB) commemorated its 20th anniversary by hosting a lively Africa Day celebration in Hlotse. The event aimed to uplift Micro-Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) and showcase local artists, emphasizing the significance of African unity and cultural heritage.

The festivities included captivating live performances by talented artists such as Sanere and Omali Themba. Their music and dance created a festive atmosphere, resonating with the spirit of Africa.

Beyond the festivities, FNB Lesotho’s commitment extended to socio-economic development within the communities it serves. By honoring African heritage and supporting local businesses, the bank demonstrated its dedication to both culture and education. This holistic approach aligns with FNB’s broader strategy of community engagement and empowerment.

FNB Marketing and Communications Director, Mrs. Masakoane Hanyane highlighted the bank’s commitment to celebrating African Day in a meaningful way. Last year, FNB recognized the pressing issue of unemployment in Lesotho and decided to take action to improve the country’s economy.

“This year, FNB chose to celebrate African Day away from Maseru, opting for the town of Hlotse,” Mrs. Hanyane expressed gratitude to FNB’s clients and the Hlotse community for their warm welcome. Additionally, she emphasized the significance of commemorating 200 years as a Basotho nation.

Mrs. Hanyane called upon all Basotho citizens to unite in addressing unemployment. As part of their efforts, FNB has selected the Philisanong orphanage in Pitseng Leribe. To involve the broader community, FNB plans to place containers at their branches in Teya-teyaneng, Hlotse, Maputsoe, and Botha-Bothe. Every Mosotho is encouraged to contribute as much as they can, fostering a collective spirit of giving back to the less privileged.

In her opening remarks, Delegasi Mokebe, CEO of FNB, emphasized the critical role played by Small, Medium, and Micro Enterprises (SMMEs). Recognizing their significance, FNB has actively chosen to support and promote these businesses, aligning with their motto: “How can we help you?”

Mokebe highlighted FNB’s innovative solutions designed specifically for small businesses. Notably, the E-wallet service streamlines financial transactions, while speed points eliminate the need for business owners to carry physical cash. These initiatives demonstrate FNB’s commitment to empowering SMMEs and fostering economic growth.

In his address, Hon. Mokhethi Shelile, Minister of Trade and Industry, Business Development, and Tourism, expressed appreciation for FNB’s efforts in promoting small businesses. He acknowledged the challenging nature of this work but emphasized its importance for the Basotho community.

Hon. Shelile highlighted that Basotho need not travel to South Africa for services that can be provided locally. He emphasized the value of flea markets, which showcase services offered by Basotho entrepreneurs. By supporting such initiatives, the community can recognize and appreciate homegrown solutions.

The Minister encouraged MSMEs to actively engage with one another by visiting different stalls. Networking and learning from fellow business owners can lead to innovative approaches and growth. Additionally, he mentioned key organizations—such as BEDCO, LNDC, and CAFI—that focus on youth and women empowerment, providing valuable assistance to entrepreneurs

Mrs. Mathabiso Liphoto, co-founder of Thabi Jewelry Designer, discovered her passion for jewelry during her time at an international school. The school’s emphasis on creativity inspired her to teach herself the art of jewelry design, laying the foundation for her business.

Over time, Thabi Jewelry Designer has flourished, allowing Mathabiso to create personalized earrings. Her dedication and talent have borne fruit, and she expresses gratitude to FNB Lesotho for the opportunities they’ve provided. With heartfelt appreciation, she hopes that FNB continues to support even more small businesses, blessing them in their endeavors.