Malmberg Fellow Nete Khoanyane Meets with the Prime Minister of Lesotho
From December 13-15, 2022, African and U.S. leaders met in Washington, DC, for the US-Africa Leader Summit. This meeting “continued efforts to strengthen ties with African partners based on principles of mutual respect and shared interests and values.” Our Malmberg Fellow, Nete Khoanyane, attended the Summit and met with the newly elected Prime Minister, Sam Matekane, of her home country Lesotho.
Prime Minster Sam Matekane was sworn into office on October 28, 2022. His goals for Lesotho are to build economic growth, increase job opportunities, decrease poverty, empower youth, and collaborate with individuals and countries to face problems in Lesotho. Part of his plan while attending the the Summit was to meet with the Lesotho diaspora in the US to see where they are, what they’re doing, and how they can work together with their home country. The Summit provided a platform for him to see what the diaspora is and the challenges they are experiencing in the US, such as their desire for improvements to the Lesotho embassy.
According to Nete, this was an “essential event because it unlocks inter-country and inter-continental relationships and creates new collaborations.” One thing she stressed to Prime Minister Matekane was the importance of the Malmberg fellowship itself, as it was created for people from Lesotho. Specifically, this fellowship supports early-career Lesotho nationals studying a master's degree at the University of Pittsburgh in health care, public affairs, education or other areas affecting Lesotho. Nete herself is pursuing a master's degree in Clinical Exercise Physiology.
Nete is interested in health systems, and she describes how Lesotho has a lacking health system – especially in research labs. Lesotho has cures for ailments that work, but not a lot of means to do larger research tests on long-term and broad efficacy. There’s also no chemotherapy in Lesotho, and it’s very expensive to send people to South Africa for treatment. The Lesotho government spends a lot of money every year to support cancer patients. If Pitt can support Lesotho in health infrastructure and research opportunities, that would take a large weight off the Lesotho government.
Overall, Nete was excited for the opportunity to personally meet with Prime Minister Matekane and share her story and passions. She is looking forward to future collaborations with the Lesotho government and what the new prime minister can accomplish through his care of the Lesotho diaspora and commitment to building connections.