The Chairman, United Bank for Africa Plc, Tony Elumelu, says the coronavirus pandemic presently affecting the world creates a chance to reset the African continent so that Africans can be empowered to become more productive and self-dependent.
A statement from the bank indicated that he said this on Wednesday at the high-level roundtable discussions made up of African leaders including the Special Envoy of the African Union on COVID-19, Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, and Tidjane Thiam, who is also a COVID-19 special envoy responsible for mobilising international economic support for Africa.
During the session titled, ‘Resilient world: An African call for a new world order’, Elumelu stated, “I see this pandemic as an opportunity to reset Africa.”
While pointing out that Africa had all it required to emerge a strong digital economy, the UBA Group chairman advocated a martial plan that would galvanise the entire continent and make Africa less dependent on the ‘circularity of debt’ from developed nations.
He said, “I feel that as we engage the rest of the world in providing relief, we need to look for a more fundamental solution to Africa’s challenges.
“I have often argued for martial plan overtime. We need to mobilise everyone. If we have martial plan that mobilises resources to address particular issues, then we can mitigate against this constant begging for assistance.”
Elumelu added, “The truth is that we have resources to help mobilise people. As the founder of the Tony Elumelu Foundation, we committed to endow $100m to support young African entrepreneurs and we have been seeing the positive results this has yielded so far.
“It is evident that if we can fix access to electricity, ensure stability of the macro-economic environment, ensure prioritisation of the youth, empower our Small and Medium Enterprises and fix youth migration, then we are in for a better and more resilient economy.”
He stressed the need to prioritise the youths and empower the SMEs, adding that those working hard should be encouraged.