The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Chamber of Bulk Oil Distributors (CBOD), Senyo Hosi has urged African leaders to pay close attention to the lessons from COVID-19 for the continent to be self-reliant.
Mr. Hosi was speaking during a panel session on the theme “COVID-19: Pathways to Africa’s Economic Recovery and Growth – The place of policy response and private sector mobilization in Africa’s recovery efforts” at the virtual Africa Summit 2020.
Hosi, an economic policy analyst told the panel the coronavirus pandemic has pushed the continent to look within to solve its problems.
“Africa has a perfect opportunity under Covid-19 to reset its thinking and to trigger the paradigm shift that it has been waiting for. We’ve always said that Africa is going to be the next economic frontier, but the question is a frontier for who? Is it going to be a frontier for ourselves? If Covid-19 hasn’t taught us anything at all, I think it should tell us the need for ourselves to be self-reliant on very key issues and basic things and to be a bit more futuristic in our thinking and our planning.”
In Africa, over 335,000 thousand coronavirus cases have been recorded with attendant deaths of over 8,850.
Many African countries closed their borders in line with the imposition of lockdowns and other restrictions measures to deal with the pandemic.
Although this may have caused a strain on economic activities, the halt on importation meant the continent had to look within to fill the gap.
In Ghana, indigenous companies took charge of the production of personal protective equipment such as facial masks, ventilators and alcohol-based sanitizers.
This somewhat spurred economic activity.
Senyo Hosi said it is no longer be acceptable for the continent to be dependent on foreign support while she [Africa] sits on arable lands and has a vibrant youth population.
He believes the proper use of agriculture, human resource, education and value addition are the surest ways for the continent to recover from the pandemic and achieve economic development.
Vice President of Liberia Jewel Howard-Taylor, a keynote speaker, maintained it was Africa’s job to keep its economies afloat during the pandemic, but said it was more important not to miss the negative effect of Covid-19 on women and girls because of their significant roles.
“There’s a lot of loss of income for women, there’s a loss of mobility (where to go to settle sexual reproductive health issues), there’s a loss of empowerment of women, but most importantly there is an increase in sexual and gender-based violence across our world.”
She called for the prioritization of empowering women and girls during this global crisis.
The virtual Africa Summit 2020 organised by the Africa Leadership Magazine (ALM) was graced by other distinguished speakers including the Prime Minister of Eswatini Ambrose Dlamini, Secretary-General of the Commonwealth Patricia Scotland, Former Director of Communications of the African Development Bank Dr. Victor Oladokun and Member of the UK House of Lords and Prime Minister’s Envoy to Uganda and Rwanda Lord Dollar Popat.