By Prince Osuagwu
Foreign Investment Network, FIN, has advised Africa to innovate for survival in the anticipated global economic crisis, following the coronavirus pandemic.
COVID-19 pandemic has changed the world. The novel virus caught the world totally unprepared creating unprecedented medical and economic responses.
This new experience has created a sudden summersault in global financial outlook. While some economies are on a nose dive, others are undergoing monumental shift, creating novel economic outlay and opportunities for digital investment and exploring new tools for economic growth.
Taking cognizance of implications of these strange developments on the economies of Africa, Foreign Investment Network, FIN, organised a programme with theme “COVID-19 and The Economic Threat: How Africa can overcome financial crises”.
The event witnessed massive participation from financial experts, members of the International Community, United Nations consultants and many more contributors from various countries in Africa all contributing to FIN advice for Africa.
The panel discussion was moderated by Nich Kochan, a United Kingdom based journalist and author of books on economic crime.
There was a general agreement that Africa as a continent has remained an infant too long.
It was also noted that despite the militating effects of the pandemic it can also create the needed push for Africa to get out of its cocoon and redirect its energy into massive infrastructural development, feeding of its citizens and much more
Former Canadian Minister of International Development, Christian Paradis, stressed the need for a coordinated approach in the supply and distribution of materials, reliefs, vaccines, to Africa as covid-19 hits the continent harder.
He said: “Social distancing and self-isolation as we see in the western world and other countries with safety nets is not just possible in most of the countries in Africa and we need to keep that in mind.
“The communication door must be wide open between the African countries in need, the donor countries and the multinational organizations, ” he said.
Still on FIN’s advising Africa, Chairman of Prodrig Capital, The Netherlands, Victor Politis, said the future of the continent lies in creating jobs and creating import substitution projects, creating new large projects that will help the sub-Saharan Africa emerge strong from the tragedy they are going through now.
Also, Prof Ken Ife, London Enterprise Ambassador and Chief Economic Strategist in ECOWAS Commission, said: “FAO recognizes Nigeria as one of the countries that produces more food than it requires but 30-40% of it can’t make it into the food chain because of post-harvest losses, poor storage, lack of value additions, lack of quality infrastructure, transport cost among other things.
“Africa should find a way of increasing national savings because national savings is something you can borrow against. Our national savings are very low and we have far more money outside the banking system; we have to be more creative in developing informal savings mechanisms.
“That is where we can get the money to finance our infrastructure and limit external borrowings.
“In Nigeria, we also have the diaspora remittance, $26b much more than the oil revenue, ” he said.
However, Edmond Magoma an entrepreneur from DRC said: “It is now time for Africa to find African solutions to African problems. So far, our mind sets are not right.
“We depend all the time on foreign aids while 80% of the world resources are in Africa. It is clear that Africa has to start to develop its own economy.
“African leaders are failing the African people. We need to start to invest in our own economy, develop our own industry and become autonomous in terms of food, ” he said.
Earlier, Soji Adeniyi, former Chairman of United Nations Pensions Fund, said: “Africa already has an advantage. We are already seeing some solutions coming from different parts of Africa, the Madagascar experience of the COVID organic for instance; we should be talking about it and how to further test it.
“Why are we copying and pasting the model of shutting down knowing that our economy can hardly survive these challenges and yet we are going with the blanket of shut down now or regret later.
“Why are we not trading with ourselves despite the global lockdown?, ” he asked.