Kampala, Uganda | Julius Businge | Top world leaders in government and private sector want tangible solutions to heal world economies that have been hit by coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19).
They were speaking during celebrations for Africa Day 2020 facilitated by United Bank for Africa (UBA). The event was screened live across the continent, according to a media release shared on May 27.
The focus was on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the Covid-19 pandemic.
Through this virtual panel discussion, leaders emphasised the need for meaningful collaboration between governments and the private sector, as a requirement for the quick recovery of the economy of the African continent post Covid-19.
The panel included the President of Liberia, H.E George Weah; United States Senator Chris Coons; the President and Chairman of the Board of Directors of the African Export–Import Bank, Professor Benedict Okey Oramah; President, International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), Peter Maurer.
It was moderated by the Group Chairman, UBA Plc, Tony O. Elumelu. Elumelu said there was need to mobilise resources quickly and explained the necessity to identify a more fundamental solution to Africa’s challenges.
“This is the time for us to deal with the situation, this is not the time for finger pointing, but for collaborative efforts by governments and organisations to fight the pandemic globally,” he said.
He added: “There is need to flatten the curve, we need global co-operation to stem global depression. Africa requires a large stimulus package and we need long-term solutions to prevent a cycle of debt.”
Liberian President, George Weah, demonstrated how collaboration has assisted his country to stem the suffering brought about by the coronavirus pandemic.
He said that, in Liberia, they have taken measures to ease the financial burden on vulnerable business in the informal sector by providing small loan assistance to SMEs and traders.
In addition, he said, they are working with commercial banks to manage the repayment of loans as well as to create stimulus packages for citizens.
US Senator Chris Coons said governments must develop a vaccine that is free and affordable and freely distributed so that full economic activities can return.
“This is no time to be looking backwards,” he said. Benedict Okey Oramah called for the swift implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) agreement. He disclosed that Afrexim has made available $200million to supply fertilisers and grains across Africa.
UBA’s Covid-19 support As a contribution towards the fight against the COVID 19 global pandemic in Uganda, the bank made a donation of Shs570m to the Government of Uganda.
UBA group made similar donations to 20 African countries where it has a presence, totaling to $14million.