Director, Trade facilitation Kenya Trade Network Agency, Rose Rona has said it is imperative that African countries reduce their dependency on Western Nations, otherwise they will continue to struggle during crisis.
Rona gave the advice while speaking at a webinar organized by Africa Canada Trade and Investment Venture with the theme: “COVID-19 & International Trade Post COVID-19”.
Rona explained that if Africa’s dependency on Western countries should continue, it would affect its economy during emergencies as witnessed in the COVID-19 pandemic due to lack of preparedness.
She stated that the global value chain is not sustainable and that Africa’s GDP declined from 3.2% to 2. 8% during the pandemic.
Rona also highlighted the positive work which entrepreneurs in countries such as Kenya, Madagascar and Senegal have been doing around innovations of devices during the pandemic and advised that the continent needs to maximize the opportunities available to them.
She also added that African countries need to invest more in health care system and the Government have a major role to play in collaboration with private sector.
Also speaking at the webinar, the Executive Chairman, Owoniko Ranch and Farms and Co-founder/ Executive partner Loftyinc Allied Partners Limited, Michael Oluwagbemi noted that African countries “do not need dollars” to build infrastructure
“The opportunity is definitely is there. Business men see opportunities in challenges. It is not just about government; private sector must take up the responsibility. Global supply chain is concentrated in one part of the world which had negatively impacted the global economy.
“African has a very good advantage especially with raw materials, an area where we have competitive advantage. We haven’t strengthened and resulted in seeking this outside the continent. Food is important so we must encourage agriculture,” he added.
A participant, Patrick Ogunnowo stated that Africa seems to be suppressing the curve so far. It looks like it might escape the worst of the pandemic, but will have to be cautious about it.
There is a possibility of a W curve. There is a good chance of re-occurrence of the curve, which could see a possibility of regular lockdowns. Businesses need to plan accordingly, and capital could flow to Africa if they can act efficiently to pull it in. He reiterated that global capital could flow to Africa if we can act efficiently to pull it in. Western economies are badly battered, while countries in Africa are not so battered. Capital will look for countries that are less battered. This is an advantage for African countries to strategies in being emergent Markets.
Another participant, Anthony Agbonkhese, CEO, Nerdiaconnect, Canada,highlighted that a lot of progress has been made on cross border trading corridors like the Mombasa-Nairobi Corridor; the Addis to Djibouti road, rail and port connect; and the Abidjan-Lagos corridor which handles more than 2/3 of west Africa trade. In his opinion, intra Africa trade should be encouraged as the signing of the Africa Continental Free Trade agreement (ACFTA) will open up more trade channels between African countries.
Africa Canada Trade and Investment venture is an organization that focuses on a values-based, ethical approach of creating platforms to allow trade and business in key sectors with demonstrable scale potential, profitable returns and sustainable growth. Their investment model aims to above all, generate wealth that contributes to economic development between Canada and Africa.