BusinessDay

How Africa missed 10 years worth of Economic growth in 2020 – Hundeyin

Africa emulated measures like aggressive social distancing, lockdowns to curb the spread of covid-19, and consequently, this dealt a blow to the economic growth of the continent, David Hundeyin, an investigative journalist said at the ABC conference recently held in Lagos.

The safety measures adopted as a response to the covid-19 pandemic across Africa were informed directly by what was practiced in Europe, China, the US, and Canada; meanwhile, Nigeria’s problems and economic dynamics are completely different.

The major economies in Africa, namely Nigeria, Kenya, South Africa, Ghana, etc were quick to shut their economy down resulting in an increase in unemployment and job loss.

Now that the world is on a path to economic recovery, in places like Uganda, schools are still closed 2 years after even though there is actually no data or evidence that suggest that the closure of schools is helping their pandemic prevention outcome, the UK based journalist noted.

Africa missed the opportunity to leapfrog decades worth of industrial revolution by seizing the advantage of global economic lockdown and shutdown, the investigative journalist revealed.

Globally, most of those who have died have been aged over 80, while Africa is home to the world’s youngest population with a median age of 19 years, according to UN data.

Read also: AFCON and some dismal African realities

David added, “because we were not affected as much as the developed countries were, Africa, had the opportunity for competitive advantage to be opened for business when other countries were closed for business.”

As a result, Africa lost the opportunity to step up to global economic opportunities during covid and now in the post-covid era, which has so far seen economic recovery, Africa is further locked out of opportunities of global economies.

To back this up, David referred to the harsh reaction of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) member countries to the Omicron variant by first labeling it as the South-African disease and then enforcing a travel ban on South Africa, Nigeria, and other sub-Saharan countries.

Also, David Hundeyin opined that other issues constraining Africa’s economic growth asides from the pandemic include Economic Illiteracy in government’s policy-making, making decisions that are not based on data, comprehension deficiency, unfounded superstition, and bullying.

However, when engaged on the outlook for the path to recovery of Africa’s economic growth and how to change the development narrative, to unlock investment opportunities in Nigeria, and Africa at large, the journalist made mention of the fact that a significant level of government participation is needed to bridge the development gap in the continent.

In the same vein, “the road to recovery may belong, and it may be steep, but prioritizing policy actions and investments that address the challenge of creating more, better and inclusive jobs will pave the way for a faster, stronger, and inclusive recovery for African countries,” said Albert Zeufack, World Bank Chief Economist for the Africa regions.

The award-winning journalist said “the solution to getting the change we desire is a political solution. There has to be a government in place that actually understands what economics is and how an economy runs, the government needs to be at the forefront of trade policies. Without that, we’re stuck.”

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