NAIROBI, Kenya May 20 — African leaders have said the continent needs to be involved as a partner in providing solutions for the global post-COVID-19 economic recovery.
The cross section of leaders who included Heads of State, captains of industry and technocrats drawn from across the continent said Africa has the competencies and resources to support the world recovery from the Coronavirus health crisis.
The leaders who included Presidents Uhuru Kenyatta (Kenya), Macky Sall (Senegal), Alassane Ouattara (Ivory Coast), Julius Maada Bio (Sierra Leone) and Mahamadou Issoufou (Niger) spoke during a virtual meeting convened by the New York Forum Institute.
The New York Forum Institute is an American not-for-profit institution whose focus is to develop innovative solutions for economic growth, alliance building and fostering relationships.
Speaking at the meeting whose theme was, ‘Resilient World: An African call for a New World Order,’ President Kenyatta asked the international community to view and treat Africa as an equal partner in development.
“Africa is not the problem but through partnership we can be a solution,” President Kenyatta told the pan-African panel.
The Kenyan Head of State said the Covid-19 pandemic presents the world with a new opportunity to recalibrate its relationship with Africa adding that the continent is so far managing the crisis better than that many people expected.
He said resource and information sharing among nation states is critical in the successful management of the current health crisis.
“It is quite clear to me and many of my colleagues on the African continent that our success in defeating this particular disease is going to be based both on our individual country response and more importantly on our collective response as a continent,” the Kenyan leader said.
Citing the Kenyan government’s insistence on the use of mobile money transfer services during the current health crisis as opposed to cash transactions, President Kenyatta said Kenya has deployed technology to help manage the spread of the virus as well as keep the economy moving.
“In Kenya, technology has played a huge role in the way Kenyans have transacted with each other in the last ten years. Technology has not only provided job opportunities but contributed to the growth of the economy,” President Kenyatta said.
He noted that during current containment period, Kenyan youths across the country had set up technology enabled start-ups that are assisting communities to continue accessing key supplies and services such as food and medicine.
President Kenyatta thanked the Bretton Woods institutions and other multilateral lenders for coming up with packages to help African countries cushion their economies for the adverse effects of the pandemic.
He said before the current health crisis, Kenya was always timely in meeting its financial obligations and that as a continent, Africa needs the opportunity and support to go through the current situation and thereafter, the continent will be able to stand on its own and meet its responsibilities.
“To win there must be an opportunity. To win we must change the way we think. To win we must change our response to humanity,” President Kenyatta said.
He said under the leadership of South African President Cyril Ramaphosa as the African Union chairperson, African leaders have been holding talks on how to partner in tackling challenges arising from the current health crisis.
President Sall of Senegal said the Covid-19 pandemic will push African countries to rethink their models of development especially in the allocation of resources to key sectors.
The Senegalese leader urged the international community to provide a level playing field for Africa to meet its obligations.
Presidents Alassane Ouattara, Julius Maada Bio and Mahamadou Issoufou echoed sentiments shared by their Kenyan and Senegalese colleagues adding that Africa’s bulging youth population is a resource that can help the world overcome the adverse socioeconomic effects of the Covid-19 pandemic.