Technology and Food Security to Drive Africa’s Post-Pandemic Resurgence: Panelists

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Speakers at a Doha Forum panel discussion on ‘post-pandemic Africa’, yesterday.

Africa’s young population, investments in technology and food security are expected to drive the continent’s post-pandemic recovery over the next three to five years, Doha Forum panelists revealed yesterday.

A panel of high-level speakers across government, technology, finance and entrepreneurship included HE Kandia Kamissoko Camara, Minister of State, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Côte d’Ivoire, HE Godwin Obaseki, Governor of the Edo State in Nigeria, Charles Murito, Director, Sub-Saharan Africa, Government Affairs and Public Policy, Google, Wale Adeosun, Chief Investment Officer, Kuramo Capital Management and Ken Njoroge, Founder, Cellulant.

Joe Eshun, CEO of Deloitte East Africa, moderated the roundtable on “Post-pandemic Africa”.

Obaseki said the main effect of COVID-19 was the disruption of livelihoods and small businesses. He said the lockdown had given birth to startups and technology, while the war in Ukraine had exposed the inadequacy of the global food system.

“The pandemic has drained capital from small and medium-sized businesses, but it has opened up an investment opportunity as most of them have started using the technology. This, in turn, has spurred tech startups, and young people in this space are now making a living working for companies outside the country.

“However, the Ukrainian war has created real alarm for our food systems. With rising food prices, especially staples like wheat, grain, rice, etc., we need to invest in large-scale agriculture. We have rolled out programs to trigger investments in this aspect and use technology to leverage production,” Obaseki added.

On the other hand, Murito said that Africa’s youthful population, which covers a third of the world‘s population, should be empowered to fill the future local and international jobs.

“Research shows that more than a third of the global workforce will be based in Africa by 2050. Africa will serve the world when it comes to the young people needed to fill global jobs” , did he declare.

Adeosun added that there is an exponential growth in venture capital raised for startups in Africa, and that the informal economy (creative arts space) has helped Africa reduce the perception of risk on the continent. He pointed out that the effects of income from the informal economy and young technological problem solvers have also stimulated reinvestment in the local economy.

Earlier, Sheikha Al Mayassa bint Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani said Qatar was eager to explore ways to partner with Africa and discuss business opportunities that can empower the continent.

She noted the Qatar-Africa Business Forum and how the platform can foster trust and partnership between countries and continue to build bridges between Africa and Qatar.

Sheikha Al Mayassa said a Fashion for Relief program will be held in October in Doha with the Education Above All Foundation. Proceeds will be used to invest in creative programs, particularly in Africa.

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