By Francis Ogwo
Frontline economist and Nigeria’s former Finance Minister Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala has highlighted six economic opportunities for Nigeria and other African countries in the quest to recovering from the harsh economic impacts of the COVID 19 pandemic.
Okonjo-Iweala who was a guest convocation lecturer on Saturday at the 15th Convocation of Bowen University in Iwo, Osun State,Okonjo-Iweala,, spoke on ‘Revisiting Africa’s Economy Post-COVID-19’.
According to her the impact of the pandemic on Africa’s economy has dealt a great blow on Africa’s economy and would need conscious efforts by African leaders towards a speedy recovery.
“As Africa recovers from the health and economic impacts of COVID-19, it must learn from the pandemic.
“COVID-19 has highlighted the existing structural and institutional weaknesses of Africa’s economy but it has also cast a light on existing opportunities and opened up new ones. Africa must seize all these factors to re-fashion its economy and build it with more resilience.
“Let me highlight six opportunities and approaches for re-fashioning a post-COVID-19 African economy.”
Speaking further Okonjo – Iweala said more jobs would be created if massive industrialisation takes place which would boost job creation for the teeming population of Africa..
“COVID-19 brought into relief Africa’s undiversified commodity-dependent economy. The lack of diversification relates to both products and sources of revenue.
“Africa must manufacture more through value-addition to the raw materials it exports. The transformation of cocoa into delicious Ivorian chocolate provides a good example.
“There is no doubt that African countries need to make the requisite investment in infrastructure, skills, and a conducive business environment,” she added.
The former Minister also spoke on digitisation of economic, health, and educational activities in Africa going forward.
One of the opportunities highlighted by the pandemic is the potential of the digital economy including e-commerce, e-learning, e-health while noting that African governments must grow the continent’s about 90 million Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises through free registration, access to grants, soft loans, amongst others to ensure business owners grow and create jobs.
Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala it would be recalled is Africas top contender for the coveted post of Director -General of the World Trade Organization (WTO).