By Our Reporter
For much of last week, where two or three top government The situation is functionaries or Chief Executives of some flourishing Small and Medium Scale Enterprises, SMEs, gather in the two major cities of Lagos, the nation’s Commercial hub and Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, their discussion centered on the one day Forum organised by the United Bank For Africa, UBA plc, a pan African Bank, African Day Conversations and the far reaching decisions on how to develop the African Continent. The situation is the same in other African countries.The UBA one day Forum on African Conversations Day, was said to have attracted experts from different fields including Agriculture from both the African Continent and outside the Continent.
The experts were said to have come to the conclusion that African countries require homegrown solutions like investment in human capacity building and agricultural expansion to rebuild Africa and put the continent on a stronger footing post COVID-19. The participation Macky Sall, President of Senegal and George Opong Weah, a former Liberia Foot ball Star and the country’s president may have exposed the two African leaders to the reality on ground and to help in drawing a roadmap for the African Union, AU, for the development of the Continent in Post COVID 19 era.
Abiola Bauwah, a Ghanaian and senior Program Coordinator, Regional Network of Agricultural Policy Research Institutes, may have used his expert knowledge on Agriculture to emphasis on how Africa should rely less on foreign donors, but invest in Agriculture in order to make the Continent self-sufficient in food production., he noted that “There are five areas that the African governments need to work on to reach the SDG goals: the private sector, rapid industrialization, institutions and the rule of law, human capital and remove the barriers across Africa.
The Agricultural expert was said to have suggested that that African should institute its own brand of capitalism which is an economic philosophy that says that the human and capital resources of Africa are the only ways in which the Continent can develop Africa.
Nalishebo Meebelo, a Zambian, described in Zambia circles as a Leadership Coach and who incidentally is the Chairman Go Ahead Africa Limited, revealed that there are a lot of young people who can go along with the value chain of manufacturing, transporting, technology and marketing, adding that, “Government cannot do it alone, as it had to work with other stakeholders. The Zambian warned that ‘’cut and paste solutions will not work in Africa, insisting that what the Continent need now is to have its own homegrown solutions to fight this coronavirus pandemic.”
Eugenia Abu, a veteran Journalist, who was said to have focused on the huge role that women and youth must play in rebuilding the continent, stressed the need for African countries to work together to provide solutions to its numerous challenges. “Women, entrepreneurial champions, young people and collaborations between African countries are very key to developing Africa,” she had stated.
Ndidi Nwuneli, aNigerian and Founder of Leap Africa, was saddened that the agricultural sector remained hugely untapped, emphasising the need for a change of mindset where people usually equated agriculture to poverty. “This is a $1 trillion industry and we are neglecting it’’, he lamented. Appealing to Africans to have a change of mindset and invest in the agricultural sector, she urged the government to prioritize it, leverage on it, transform our educational system in order to prepare young people to go back to Agriculture and trade with each other.
Sobel Aziz Ngom, a Senegalese, pointed out on the need for the youths to take charge in Africa. “It is time for young people to lead, he said. According to him, the challenge which African countries have at the domestic and continental level is making the change in our structure and in the political system that will give a place to young people to be 100 percent engaged,” Ngom remarked.
In his own submission, Tolu Ogunlesi, a Nigerian and Social Entrepreneur and Founder Leap Africa, disclosed that “All over the developed economies and some developing countries, young people are seizing the opportunities, open to them to lead their countries, noting that the time has come for African countries to start thinking about how to make sure that this is not just for the age of COVID 19 but beyond COVID-19.
He noted that even if the pandemic was to disappear today, ‘’I hope that the lessons we have learnt, we are not going to forget them and go back to where we used to be in the past”, he declared.
For Roland Kwemain, a Cameroonian, Founder and Executive Director, Social Change Factory, suggests the need for other Financial institutions to tow the line of UBA in events such as UBA Africa Conversations that would expose African countries on the path of development.
He averred that “If 100 multinationals in Africa were doing that UBA had done over the years in promoting SMEs and holding such investment workshops,, African could have gone far because CSR is an amazing leverage not just for the brand but also for supporting people & women in terms of activities. “The truth is that we need partnership between the government, Corporate Organisations and the civil society,” he said.
T Note that the pan African Bank is one of the leading pan-African financial institutions offering banking services to more than twenty million customers across the globe. With an established presence in 20 African countries, the bank also has established operations in the United Kingdom, the USA and France, thus, connecting people and businesses across Africa through retail, commercial and corporate banking, innovative cross border payments and remittances, trade finance and ancillary banking services.
It is not surprising why Sall, the President of Senegal, had always associated with the bank activities because of the exposure he had received in running his country over the years without always running to the International Monetary Fund, IMF, or multi-lateral Financial Institutions to borrow or waiting for donor nations.