Possible business partnerships between companies in Northwest Ohio and South Africa as well as academic opportunities linking South African universities with UT were explored during a March visit by a distinguished alum of The University of Toledo and the South African Ambassador to the United States.
Papi Molotsone and the Ambassador, His Excellency Ebrahim Rasool, met with Toledo Mayor Mike Bell, University of Toledo President Lloyd Jacobs and several Northwest Ohio business leaders.
“South Africa has an emerging economy and could be a global economic power,” the Ambassador said. “I see many similarities between the United States and South Africa. We want to align with the US, which is the global leader. UT is a globally relevant university, offers research and development, and is centrally located. Academia is a global currency and is a very good medium to create opportunity. This visit and our relationship can help us discover our natural partners.”
Molotsane, a business and engineering graduate of The University of Toledo, is currently executive director of Altius Investment Holdings, a South African company with diverse interests in agriculture, supply chain, financial services and information technology. His career also includes leadership positions with businesses in fields including Internet services, telecommunications, transportation and food services.
“It is important for colleges to collaborate, to link like-minded institutions,” Molotsane said. “No man is an island. I was educated at The University of Toledo, and progress happens through relationships with people.”
“Enhancing regional economic development and building academic partnerships are critical components of the UT College of Business and Innovation’s mission, and we certainly welcome opportunities to play a vital role facilitating such activity on a global scale such as this,” noted COBI Dean Thomas Gutteridge. “Molotsane is one of UT’s most distinguished alumni, and his extensive business success and humanitarian endeavors reflect positively on the value of a UT education. We hope these initial discussions will lead to the pursuit of mutually beneficial economic and academic relationships between Northwest Ohio and South Africa.”
UT President Lloyd Jacobs said, “The University of Toledo was honored to host the South African Ambassador as well as a distinguished UT alum for these discussions with government, corporate and academic leaders, and dialogue how UT and Northwest Ohio can best partner with entities in South Africa, one of the most important emerging areas of the world.”
Rubin Patterson, Chair of the UT Sociology and Anthropology Department and Director of Africana Studies at UT, observed, “Hosting this visit was a major first step in developing multidisciplinary linkages between UT and counterpart universities in South Africa, as well as building the global social, cultural and economic networks for this region. Africa is a major economic growth market, and we would like to see UT students expand their knowledge about the exciting things happening in many countries of this fascinating continent.”