An Economist, Kwame Pianim, says that the outbreak of the Covid-19 Pandemic has unmasked the need for African countries to use their diplomatic and negotiation capacities to build and revive the private sector on the continent.
He said while others are considering the option to redraw from dependence on the world economy to focus more internally, Africa should rather push for better global interconnections. This must be aimed at removing all the obstacles that hinder the growth of businesses on the continent.
To this end, he admonished African governments to realign their spending priorities towards supporting private businesses. To enable them create the needed jobs for the teeming unemployed youth on the continent.
Mr Pianim, therefore, urged governments in Africa to use their procurement muscles at all levels of governance to build the private sector. Mr Pianim made these remarks while speaking at a virtual business roundtable discussion held on Wednesday, May 27, 2020.
The event was organised by Ishmael Yamson and Associates, and it was on the theme “Democracy, Politics, Leadership and the Development of.Africa”.
Lessons from Covid-19 pandemic
Lessons from the pandemic, he says, may also signal a policy overhaul for African governments, focusing more on productivity to achieve self sufficiency. The Covid-19 pandemic, he again says, will also push African countries to build strong reserves to cushion their economies in the event of any future natural shocks.
He also stated that Africa is blessed with well trained, equipped and ITC savvy youthful population who could be a great source for development of the continent. He however, added that this youthful population could also be used as a tool to destabilise the continent if the private sector is not supported to create jobs to keep them engaged.
According to Mr. Pianim, only a robust and dynamic private sector can help unlock the abundant entrepreneurial talents of African youth.
“A dynamic, robust and supported private sector can provide the exciting and productive employment opportunities to take our youth, now some 500 million, but expected to rise to 1 billion by 2050, productively engaged in nation building at home, here in Africa”, he said.
Democracy and private sector
The renowned Economist, again, said the role of democracy in the development of the private sector cannot be overemphasised. Stressing that it is democracy that creates the enabling environment for businesses to flourish.
In this technologically driven atmosphere, Mr Pianim, explained that the private sector needs democracy to provide it with the ICT infrastructure that is required to propel them to the next level.
“We need democracy to be able to provide the broadband, adequate width and competitively priced for our tech savvy youth to get involved. We need democracy to facilitate our access to markets in an increasingly technology driven world”, he remarked.
Mr Pianin further called for the creation of a platform for policy discussion and formulation between the public and private sector.
This, he further adds, can “generate an environment for predictable, credible and reliable policies that is critical for business planning”.
Consequently, he said, the inclusion of the business community in the design and negotiations of the protocols will ensure the success of the intercontinental free trade area, which is expected to help African businesses to grow and expand..
By Salifu B.B. Moro