Lesotho businessman sworn in as prime minister

MASERU, Lesotho (AP) — Lesotho’s businessman-turned-politician Sam Matekane was sworn in Friday as the new prime minister of the southern African country.

He won the most seats during the Oct. 7 elections but needed the support of smaller parties to form a new government with his Revolution For Prosperity party.

Regional leaders attending the event included South African President Cyril Ramaphosa, who described Lesotho as being over the years “a refuge for many people facing many challenges in their own countries.”

Matekane said there was no time to waste in dealing with the challenges facing his country’s population of 2.1 million.

During his campaign, Matekane promised to expand markets for garments manufactured in Lesotho and to diversify the products exported to the U.S. under the African Growth Opportunities Act.

The garment-making industry is Lesotho’s largest employer after the government and had more than 45,500 textile workers at the beginning of 2020, according to official statistics. But about 25% lost their jobs amid the global economic slump caused by COVID-19.

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