African dependence on the outside world: a major challenge

How to reduce African dependence accentuated by COVID-19?


African dependence on the outside has increased in the economic and health context which has prevailed for several months. As of August 2, 2020, Africa had 19,920 confirmed deaths and 602,578 recoveries for 944,450 recorded cases, according to the Center for Disease Prevention and Control for Africa. A real health disaster where hospital systems are put to the test. The disaster being health, the COVID-19 pandemic also induced an economic crisis. Business and trade are at a standstill, unemployment sets in, and the poor are getting poorer. This article takes a quick look at the current economic and health situations and then suggests 03 avenues for reducing African dependence.

The economy in near recession, health in crisis

The economy in decline and for good reason

Falling world trade

World trade is expected to register in 2020 a contraction of between 13% and 32% under the effect of COVID-19 which has strongly "disrupted economic activities and normal life in the world", estimated the World Trade Organization (WTO ). The International Monetary Fund, the World Bank and African leaders called on Friday April 17 for rapid international action to help African countries dependent on the outside to cope with the epidemic of the coronavirus which will cause this year a the continent's economy contracted 1.25 %, an unprecedented low.

World leaders are stepping up plans to find a balance between health security and restarting the economy. The immediate goal for the vast majority appears to be to bring the pandemic under control and to mitigate the economic damage caused to individuals, businesses and countries.

Health systems, a major emergency

88 African intellectuals challenge ...

88 intellectuals call for rethinking health systems. They invite leaders to “rethink health as an essential public good” and to “seize this moment of the COVID-19 crisis as an opportunity to review public policies” for the protection of populations. In their eyes, there is no question of opposing economic security and health security but rather of insisting on the need for African governments to take into account the conditions of chronic precariousness experienced by the majority of their populations.

03 ways to reduce African dependence

The informal sector, a threat to be converted into an opportunity

It is an opportunity for African states to bring informal sector businesses into the formal sector. By extending the public aid system to this population, it will be easier in return to ask for the institutionalization of informal sector actors as adopted in the batch of decisions taken in UEMOA.

Promotion of local products, a sovereign solution

Another cause of the persistence of Africa's dependence on the outside is the underdevelopment of the primary and secondary sectors of the continent. Agriculture and the processing industry still lag behind the pack. It is no longer a secret that we must promote local wealth by investing in local productions for our food security and reduce dependence on Africa.

Local consumption, the golden secret

Local consumption to reduce African dependence
Local consumption to reduce African dependence

The other side is to sensitize the populations to have confidence and to consume local products to limit African dependence on the outside. It is a habit or even a mentality to instill in African communities. Returning to various traditional diets would help fight many diseases and food insecurity. 

COVID-19 has once again exposed Africa's dependence on heavy imports of food and medicine. In such a major crisis, African states are invited to reflect on their food dependencies and rethink their agricultural model. Secondly, Africans must give more priority to their health systems and devote more funds to scientific research instead of financing projects that do not meet the real needs of the populations.

Ensuring the autonomy of the continent is the immediate challenge. Much remains to be done. The field is quite vast and the workers for many lack of conscience to absorb African dependence.

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A curious, motivated and determined young leader, Obed Kodjo is an agronomist and blogger who is active in organizations that advocate the awareness and development of African youth. Innovation is his passion and for this he never ceases to cultivate himself in order to make a difference in his actions. He dreams of a conscious Africa that solves its problems on its own without outside help.

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