The Africa day has brought conversations about the current pandemic to light with regards to the economic recovery of African Nations by sought global leaders.
On 25 May 1963, Africa made history with the foundation of the Organisation of African Unity (OAU) the precursor to the African Union (AU).
Africa Day is intended to celebrate and acknowledge the successes of the Organisation of African Unity (OAU now the AU) from its formation on May 25, 1963, in the fight against colonialism and apartheid, as well as the progress that Africa has made while reflecting upon the common challenges that the continent faces in a global environment.
The Coronavirus that has ravaged the African continent and world over for the past nations has shuttered most economies and the leaders are seeking solutions through which they can restore their economies as well as adopting to normalcy in post Covid-19 era.
United Bank of Africa on this year’s Africa day created room for discussion on matters regarding the African countries economy. The discussion run under the theme “Growth, Jobs and Sustainable Development Amidst a Global Pandemic.”
The Chairman of the United Bank for Africa (UBA), Tony Elumelu, stated that the Coronavirus Pandemic currently ravaging the world presents an opportunity to reset the African continent so that Africans can be empowered to become more productive and self reliant.
“I see this pandemic as an opportunity to reset Africa.” Elumelu said whilst pointing out that Africa as a continent has all it takes to emerge into a strong digital economy, the UBA Group Chairman advocated a martial plan that will galvanise the entire continent and make Africa less dependent on the ‘circularity of debt’ from developed nations, which according to him, has been a major setback for decades.
“As we engage the rest of the world in providing relief, we need to look for more fundamental solution to Africa’s challenges. I have often argued for a martial plan overtime. We need to mobilise everyone. If we have a martial plan that mobilises resources to address particular issues, then we can mitigate against this constant begging for assistance.”
He added that Africa has the resources needed to support her people for a better and more resistant economy by urgently empowering youth and Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs),
“The truth is that we have resources to help mobilise people. As the founder of the Tony Elumelu Foundation, we committed to endow $100m to support young African entrepreneurs and we have been seeing the positive results this has yielded so far. It is evident that if we can fix access to electricity, ensure stability of the macro-economic environment, ensure prioritisation of the youth, empower our small and medium scale enterprises and fix youth migration, then we are in for a better and more resilient economy’. “There is the urgent need to prioritise our youths and empower our SMEs. The people who work hard need to be encouraged,” Elumelu noted passionately.
The President of Liberia, George Weah who was one of the panelists on the forum said his country has taken up stringent measures to ensure the economy is uplifted from the pandemic through easing financial burdens,
“In Liberia, we have taken up measures to ease the financial burden on vulnerable businesses in the informal sector by providing small loan assistance to SME’s and traders. In addition, we are working with commercial banks to manage the repayment of loans.”
Among other panelists were Senator Chris Coons, Senator and Member of the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Peter Maurer, President International Committee of the Red Cross [ICRC]