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COVID-19 Economy: Why Nigeria must develop digital economy, increase national savings

Published by on May 13th, 2020.


*FIN lists strategies for Africa’s post-COVID economy

COVID-19 Economy

By Prince Osuagwu, Hi-Tech Editor

Foreign Investment Network (FIN) has listed a number of economic strategies Nigeria and other African countries could adopt, to avert the economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

FIN is a United Kingdom-based company driving foreign direct investment, FDI for Africa and other developing economies.

The group, in a video conference programme it organised, themed: COVID-19 and The Economic Threat: How Africa can overcome financial crises”, said the new economic experience brought about by the COVID-19 has created a sudden summersault in global financial outlook.

Participants at the conference, including financial experts, members of the International Community, United Nations consultants and other contributors from various countries in Africa, expressed fear that some economies have nosedived while others are undergoing monumental shift.

They, however, noted that while the situation creates panic, it has also provided an opportunity for African countries to try digital investment and explore new tools for economic growth.

At a panel discussion moderated by a United Kingdom-based journalist and author of books on economic crime, Nich Kochan, Africa was advised to focus more on increasing national savings, develop a more open communication model and create jobs, markets within the continent, for the good of people in the continent.

London Enterprise Ambassador and Chief Economic Strategist in ECOWAS Commission, Prof Ken Ife, said that   “Nigeria is recognised as one of the countries that produces more food than it requires but 30-40% of it can’t make it into the food chain because of post-harvest losses, poor storage, lack of value additions, lack of quality infrastructure, transport cost among others.

“Africa should find a way of increasing national savings because national savings is something you can borrow against. Our national savings are very low and we have far more money outside the banking system; we have to be more creative in developing informal savings mechanisms.

“That is where we can get the money to finance our infrastructure and limit external borrowings.  In Nigeria, we also have the diaspora remittance, $26b much more than the oil revenue,” he said.

READ ALSO: West African graduates to revamp Africa’s digital economy with Hugo ML’s Webinar series

However, Edmond Magoma an entrepreneur from DRC said “It is now time for Africa to find African solutions to African problems. So far, our mind sets are not right.

“We depend all the time on foreign aids while 80% of the world resources are in Africa. It is clear that Africa has to start to develop its own economy.

“African leaders are failing the African people. We need to start to invest in our own economy, develop our own industry and become autonomous in terms of food, “ he said.

Earlier, Soji Adeniyi, former Chairman of United Nations Pensions Fund, said Africa already has an advantage. “We are already seeing some solutions coming from different parts of Africa, the Madagascar experience of the COVID organic for instance; we should be talking about it and how to further test it.

“Why are we copying and pasting the model of shutting down knowing that our economy can hardly survive these challenges and yet we are going with the blanket of shut down now or regret later;  why are we not trading with ourselves despite the global lockdown? “ he asked.

Former Canadian Minister of International Development, Christian Paradis, hinted on the need for a coordinated approach in the supply and distribution of materials, reliefs, vaccines and others to Africa as COVID-19 hits the continent harder.

He said: “Social distancing and self-isolation as we see in the western world and other countries with safety nets is not just possible in most of the countries in Africa and we need to keep that in mind.

“The communication door must be wide open between the African countries in need, the donor countries and the multinational organizations, “ he said.

Also, Chairman of Prodrig Capital, The Netherlands, Victor Politis, argued that the future of the continent lies in creating jobs, import substitution projects and new large projects that will help the sub-Saharan Africa emerge strong from the tragedy they are going through now.

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