Renowned Economist and Investment Consultant, Kwame Pianim, has called on African governments to realign their spending priorities toward supporting private businesses to thrive amid the COVID-19 economic destabilisation.
This, he said, would enable them to create the needed jobs for the teeming unemployed youth and those experiencing lay-offs on the continent during these dreadful days of COVID-19, when the western world is struggling to cater for their own populations.
According to him, only a robust, dynamic and supported private sector can help provide jobs and unleash the exciting and productive employment opportunities to uplift youth in Africa.
“Africa’s defining challenge is that the youth we need to use to develop Africa are jobless; and if we do not create the freedoms around for the youth, they will migrate somewhere else. Africa is a very youthful continent, a trained and technology savvy youth; equipped with nation-building skills, they can be a force for development. But if the private sector does not create the jobs for them, they will become a destabilisation factor for our continent,” he said.
Mr. Pianim, made these pronouncements while speaking on the theme ‘Democracy, Politics, Leadership and the development of Africa’, at a virtual business roundtable discussion organised by Ismael Yamson and Associates.
Touching on democracy and the private sector, he emphasised that the role of democracy in the private sector’s development is very critical – noting that without democracy there will be nothing like an enabling environment for businesses to thrive.
“In this era of information technology, we need democracy to be able to provide the needed broadband, adequate width and competitive price for our tech-savvy youth to get involved. We need democracy to facilitate our access to markets in an increasingly technology-driven world,” he stated.
He further emphasised that Africa needs well-trained professionals to make the AFCFTA a success; but if the freedoms essential for innovation are siphoned, brain-drain will continue to dominate the continent. “The inclusion of business communities in the design and formulation of protocols will enrich success for the Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AFCFTA), which will enable African businesses to grow and expand,” he stressed.
The COVID-19 pandemic outbreak, he said, has unmasked the need for African countries to use their natural resources as leverage against the western world to acquire the right technologies that will help build their industries.
Mr. Pianim also emphasised the need to support African women in contributing their bit to growth of the economy – reiterating that the Mastercard Index for Women Entrepreneurs in Africa 2020 shed light on the surge of African women in entrepreneurship; showing that in Ghana, Uganda and Kenya there are more women business-owners than in any developed market of the world. “If we can give a little more support to our women entrepreneurs, they will do wonders,” he stated.