A health crisis that affected industrial parts of the world took a different twist in Africa.
With physical proximity challenged, in most of the continent, we have seen a surge in African solidarity on the most vulnerable members of our communities. This generosity needs to turn into an industrial plan to sustain the most vulnerable through decent jobs.
We have to remain cautious, according to the Africa Centre for Disease Control, even though the virus took a different twist on the African continent.
While the health crisis is not necessarily averted, the limited number of deaths allows countries to rethink their confinement strategies thus seeking a balance between health and economic responses.
Ultimately, the virus reinforced the need for decent jobs and employment. They remain the key issues to resolve in Africa for youth. As such, African central banks, like in other parts of the world, have an enabling environment role to play.
Policymakers need to rethink their role. They have to become catalysts of employment through incentives for investments in innovation and industrialisation.
In a world where COVID-19 is here to stay, value chains will need to be shorter and serve local populations. Thus, no African country can afford not to be a stronger contributor to the African value chain, for African production, to meet African consumption at minimum.
And these strategies must be to meet local demand while targeting regionally and continental markets at first.
A change in the supply chain requires a significant increase in productivity and supplemental capacity to transform locally and produce for 1.3 billion people in Africa.
Thus the African Continental Free Trade Area represents a significant opportunity for African demand of good and services to reduce imports and improve Africa’s balance of payments.
The surge in domestic resources to fight COVID-19 means that Africans can finance their own transformation.