Dar es Salaam. The Covid-19 pandemic presents an opportunity to reset the African continent so that Africans can be empowered to become more productive and self reliant, United Bank for Africa (UBA) Plc chairman has said.
Mr Tony Elumelu said this on Wednesday at a high-level roundtable discussion that brought together African leaders including the Special Envoy of the African Union on Covid-19, Dr Ngozi Okonjo – Iweala and a Covid-19 Special Envoy responsible for mobilising international economic support for Africa, Tidjane Thiam.
The session was titled: ‘Resilient World: An African call for a new world order’.
A statement from UBA Bank in Tanzania, which was availed to The Citizen yesterday, said Mr Elumelu said he saw the pandemic as an opportunity to reset Africa.
Whilst pointing out that Africa as a continent has all it takes to emerge into a strong digital economy, the UBA Group Chairman advocated a martial plan that will galvanise the entire continent and make Africa less dependent on the ‘circularity of debt’ from developed nations, which according to him, has been a major setback for decades.
“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 a martial plan overtime. We need to mobilise everyone. If we have a martial plan that mobilises resources to address particular issues, then we can mitigate against this constant begging for assistance,” he said.
He said as the founder of the Tony Elumelu Foundation, he was committed to endowing $100 million to support young African entrepreneurs.
“There is the urgent need to prioritise our youths and empower our SMEs. The people who work hard need to be encouraged,” Elumelu noted.
Tidjane Thiam supported what Elumelu had proposed, saying rather than depend on international assistance at every point, there was the need for governments and institutions to invest in activities that will prioritise the youths and create a better enabling environment.
Okonjo-Iweala called for a system where youths and women will be empowered to create and produce more to boost the African economy.