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|A panel discussion on the theme also presented an opportunity for experts to share their views of Post COVID-19 recovery pathways for the continent|
|PORTSMOUTH, United Kingdom, June 29, 2020/ — According to a report by the AU, Africa will lose about 20 million jobs in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. A study conducted by the global auditing firm McKinsey “Tackling COVID-19 in Africa,” stated that Africa’s economies could experience a loss of between $90 billion and $200 billion in 2020. The scale of disruption caused by COVID-19, which has been further exacerbated by poor health infrastructure in the continent, has been of grave concern to business, political and diplomatic leaders in the continent and beyond. |
In response to the growing concern, and as part of its mandate of evolving solutions to the continent’s challenges, African Leadership Magazine UK organized the 4th annual African Summit with the theme COVID-19: Pathways to Africa’s Economic Recovery and Future Growth.
The event which held virtually on the 25th June 2020, assembled global leaders, including Her Excellency Baroness Patricia Scotland, Commonwealth Secretary-General; His Excellency Rt. Hon. Ambrose Dlamini, Prime Minister of Eswatini, Her Excellency Jewel Howard-Taylor, Vice President of Liberia, Lord Dollar Popat, Member UK House of Lords and UK Prime Minister’s Envoy to Rwanda and Uganda, among others.
Lending her voice to the discussion, SG Scotland, in her opening remark, stated that, “as the nations of the Commonwealth and the world more widely work to rebuild economic and social fabric and infrastructure, the need for inclusiveness and resilience will be of utmost concern. Inclusiveness and resilience have long been Commonwealth watchwords. They are also central to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.”
Continuing, she maintained that, “I believe they are vital considerations as we set out to map Pathways to Africa’s Economic Recovery and Growth, and as we move forward from the massive disruption and dislocation caused by COVID-19.”
On his part, Prime Minister Dlamini averred that “In a nutshell, Eswatini’s pathway to post COVID-19 recovery is focused on boosting the private sector and streamlining the fiscal adjustment plan.” He also maintained that, “Early projections are estimating growth to be around 1.5 per cent with the implementation of the program.”
“In a way, this pandemic provides us with the opportunity to institute reforms in Government with the focus firmly on achieving the milestones articulated in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs),” he said.
Similarly, Vice President Taylor, maintained that “Countries and governments are under obligations to ensure that women and girls survive the surge of violence against them because everyone is in a survival mode since predators are preying on the vulnerability of women and girls.”
“Countries across Africa are in lockdown mode, and this is having devastating effects on the continent’s population – a majority of whom have to live below the poverty line and have to hustle to win bread for themselves. If these people are asked to stay home, you can imagine what that means for them. The lockdown makes access to essential social services nonexistent.
VP Howard-Taylor said despite the glomming global picture; policy makers must showcase Africa as the new frontier,” she said.
Lord Dolar Popat, on his part, called on African leaders to see COVID-19 crisis as the best opportunity to change its mindset and position the continent as the next labour market of the future.
In his words, “Africa must redesign itself”.
The publisher and founder of the African Leadership magazine and host of the Africa Summit 2020, Dr Ken Giami, in his earlier welcome address called on all stakeholders in the Africa project, including non-African lovers of the continent, to join hands and build partnerships for Africa’s recovery and future growth, as the continent navigates the challenges arising from the COVID-19 pandemic.
Dr Giami noted that ‘the World as we knew it may have changed forever. Therefore, as we adjust to the unfolding new normal, I call on all stakeholders of the Africa project to do the hard work and the smart work required, so we can build a resilient and sustainable pathway to Africa’s future’.
A panel discussion on the theme also presented an opportunity for experts to share their views of Post COVID-19 recovery pathways for the continent. Panelists were drawn from politics, diplomacy, business and academia. The discussants include Sen. Manqoba Khumalo, Minister of Commerce & Trade, Kingdom of Eswatini; Hon. Hamat Bah, Minister of Culture & Tourism, The Gambia; Dr Christian Lindfeld, Managing Partner, Africa Advisors GmbH; Dr Victor Oladdokun, Former Director of Communications, African Development Bank; Senyo Hosi, Chairman Ghana Chamber of Bulk Oil Distributors, Saul Frazer, CEO Global Properties, Gambia; and Professor Samuel Edoumiekumo, among others.
Highlights of the event included the unveiling of the top 100 COVID-19 Champions; the launch of the African Business Council; and the presentation of an award to selected leaders for their exemplary leadership.
The annual Africa Summit traditionally holds in London UK, but, held virtually this year due to the COVID-19 disruption. The event It is part of African Leadership magazine’s response to the debate on resetting Africa’s development priorities post-COVID-19.