Connect with us

Africa speaks

COVID-19 4th Wave: Can Africa Stand Alone?



African Union(Image: AU) Written By: Nchimunya Muvwende

We had just landed in that country after a 10 hour flight from the beautiful continent of Africa. As the air hostess made the final disembarking announcements, there seemed to be one persistent statement she kept repeating. She announced that those that came from an African country that had Ebola should be first to disembark so that they can be severely screened.

Since only a few blacks were on that flight, all eyes were on us and people wondered why we sat still. The lady went on to call out the names of the passengers and they moved from their seats as though taking a walk of shame. With my colleagues, we took advantage of this time to disembark from the plane before it was congested and join in solidarity with our fellow Africans.

The discovery of the Omicron variant of the COVID-19 in Africa and the reaction of the western countries that
rushed to ban only African countries out of all countries having the new variant worldwide from traveling to certain countries made me wonder whether African cannot stand on their own. In the words of Dr Ayoade Olatunbosun-Alakija, co-chairperson of the Africa Union’s African Vaccine Delivery Alliance she argued that had the first Covid-19 virus, the one first identified in China in 2019 originated in Africa, it is clear the world would have locked us away and thrown away the key. If the world was so quick to react in a harsh and negative manner, what guarantee can
Africa have that their interest will be prioritized at the world scene?

Despite the many educated Africans and the traditional medicine experts, why is it that so far, no vaccine or cure has come from Africa, 2 years after the emergence of the pandemic? This therefore calls for an introspection and ask whether solutions cannot originate from Africa.

Local expertise

Before civilization and the coming of pharmaceutical medicines, Africans had ways of identifying medicines they could use to deal with various illnesses. When a new disease was discovered, the people vested with knowledge in the African society could rise to the occasion and attempt to find a solution.

But why is it that in the 21 st century, Africans now find it easy to simply wait for solutions from the western countries and possibly want it donated to them? Where are the old men and women who used local resources to find remedies to deal with diseases that affect their people? Does it mean that nothing good can come from Africa and there is always a need for approval in everything?

These are but challenging questions that Africans should beginning addressing. There is nothing wrong with working together as a globe to solve world problems but when it seems our survival is at the mercy of others hence making us vulnerable, there is need to rethink our usefulness. Since not even one vaccine has so far been manufactured in Africa, what will happen if we can no longer access the produced vaccines?

There is no doubt that Africans, working individually and collectively are capable of being part of the solution. Let us not sideline the local experts, solutions and resources in anticipation that help will come from only the developed countries.

Local economic activities

The pandemic disrupted global supply chains and this affected the production capacities of many companies and many people lost their source of livelihoods. Many African countries are heavily import dependent and rely what they import for trade and consumption. However, with the closure of borders to Africans, for how long will Africans survive if the closures are prolonged?

It is like Africa has gone back to the pre-independence days where most products where either foreign owned or had to be imported. It is time to reconsider the import substitute policies where nations began to produce goods that were similar to that which they had for so long imported. Through these, industries were created, employed increased and trade improved. Perhaps the selective closure reminds countries of the need to learn to be self-reliant in certain things.

Lessons can be picked from the development of China in the 1970s when they looked for inward solutions by using their own people, resources and expertise to develop and the results are there for all to see. Let us promote intra-Africa trade, production and expertise so that we change the narrative of going to the negotiating table as beggars. Let not the outside world be prioritized at the expense of African nations because it is this division that reduces our bargaining potential.


Impact on tourism

Africa happens to offer one of the best tourism services because of the abundance of natural and wild resources it is blessed with and with this, employment and incomes can generated to benefit many. The industry contributed to 7.1 percent of the African GDP in 2019 and anticipated to bring in billions in revenues in 2020 when the COVID-19 pandemic almost collapsed the industry when international tourists could not travel. The industry has a heavy reliance on international tourist arrivals and its growth is then premised on the activities on these tourists.

The question that begs an answer is, when God placed the various wild animals, natural resources, water bodies and the beautiful tourist attracting features in Africa, did he envisage that these should depend on foreigners for Africans to benefit? It is time to promote local tourists and ensure that intra Africa tourism is boosted. It is common to find that many citizens within countries have never visited local sites but this narrative needs to change. Create packages that locals can afford, increase advertisement within countries and put policies that will help industry players to survive. The international tourists should not be prioritized alone but the local people need to be incentivized.

Can Africa stand alone is not a question of ability but a choice to explore our potential. Africa has always had the potential to become a force to reckon with, however, the challenge has mainly been the belief that to develop, it needs to follow the path laid down by the advanced countries. Collaboration with the rest of the world should continue and be strengthened, but this not sideline inward looking approaches for development.



Continue Reading
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Africa speaks

Nigerian-Born Ayomide Idogun On Creating Impact



Ayomide Idogun is the co-founder at the New African Movement, an initiative aimed at ensuring Africa is conducive for Africans. Ayomide is a development strategist, policy analyst, and military historian with a major flair for transformative change through strategic thought, leadership, and empowerment.

Recently, he had the opportunity to be a delegate at the Arab Youth International Model United Nations Conference, now known as the Best Diplomats Conference, held in Dubai. Beyond the piquancy that came with meeting over 150 people from about 80 countries, and the experience of learning different cultures, the delegates were largely charged with proffering solutions to solving the global food crisis.  Ayomide represented the great people of Guatemala, who sadly are no strangers to this phenomenon, with 4.6 million people at the least, facing the hunger crisis, and suffering hugely from food insecurity.

This led him to come up with prospective solutions, to ensure farmer empowerment, and the mitigation of factors hindering food supply minimized to the barest minimum, so as to ensure Guatemala does not just become self-sustaining, but grows to the point of exporting food produce to other Nations. His efforts did not go unrewarded as he bagged the Outstanding Diplomat Award, in recognition of his outstanding negotiation, leadership, and overall performance during the course of the conference.


He is a trainer and speaker with core area in leadership, capacity building and development. Some of his engagements amongst others, includes, training members of the African community in the United Arab Emirates, on capacity building and maximizing potentials, to ensure their time and resources are utilized to maximal effect. And at the maiden edition of DisruptHR Lagos, organized by OutsideinHR, where he spoke on the role COVID-19 played on priorities for humanity, and the ever-changing landscape of work.

Ayomide Idogun holds a degree in Policy and Strategic Studies from Covenant University, a second degree in History and Strategic Studies from the University of Lagos, and he is currently enrolled in the School of Politics, Policy and Governance, where he is undergoing the Public Leadership and Policy Programme.


Continue Reading

Africa speaks

Scrabble for Africa Reborn?



Kamala Harris, U.S Vice President (Image: Reuters)

In a speech presented to a group of women entrepreneurs in Dakar, Senegal early this year, US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen stated that the United States had come as a partner to help Africa realize its massive economic potential. Arguably, Africa has long been a continent of interest to Western countries, and in recent years, their influence has been growing at an unprecedented rate. Whether it is through economic investments, military partnerships, or cultural exchanges, Western nations have been making significant strides in establishing themselves as key players on the African continent. It appears that most developed countries are trying to grow their influence on the African continent in what appears like the rebirth of the scrabble for Africa of the 19th century, albeit not through direct colonization but other different forms of control and influence. 

Unprecedented Visits

Could it be coincidental that nearly all world power countries are visiting Africa at intervals not seen in the recent past? The first quarter of 2023  witnessed the visit of US Vice President Kamala Harris to Ghana, Tanzania and Zambia, the visit of US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen to Senegal, Zambia and South Africa, the visit of China’s foreign Minister Qin Gang to Ethiopia, Egypt, Gabon, Angola and Benin, the visit of Russian foreign minister Sergey Lavrov to South Africa, Botswana and Angola and the visit of France President Emmanuel Macron to the Democratic Republic of Congo, Gabon, Angola and the Republic of Congo. Each of these high-level visitors has argued that their visits are aimed at creating meaningful partnerships with African countries with France acknowledging that foreign powers are jostling for influence in Africa.


The French President added that Africa is a theatre of competition and advanced countries are seeking long term partnerships. In an interview at the white house after her recent trip to Africa, US vice President Kamala Harris argued that by 2050, one in four people occupying space of earth will be in Africa and as such, this presented a lot of opportunities in terms of the future and since Africa has a median age, the demographics have an impact on the entire globe. It appears the leaders from advanced countries are seeing the potential that Africa has and are each trying to clinch partnerships in the continent but can the same be said of African leaders? How many African leaders have taken time to visit each other to discuss the opportunities in their nations and work on actualising them? 

The real question that African leaders should ask is, why is Africa becoming a theatre of Competition for foreign nations when it can be a centre of cooperation for the advancement of the continent? Is it not true that when elephants are fighting, it is the grass that suffers and in this case the grass will be Africa?

Trade potential

Africa is home to some of the world’s largest reserves of mineral resources such as diamonds, gold, platinum, copper, and iron ore, among others. Undoubtedly, Africa is the richest continent and therefore, its untapped trade potential is very attractive. It is no wonder that developed countries are competing to foster relations with African countries. However, it should be noted that the competition for Africa’s resources has a long history, dating back to colonial times when European powers scrambled for control of Africa’s land and resources. Today, the scramble for Africa is driven by a range of factors, which include the growing demand for natural resources, and Africa’s emergence as a key market for consumer goods and services.

The trade potential that each country in Africa has, if well exploited would be sufficient to end some of the major challenges faced. However, the focus has mostly been on external trade with developed countries rather than intra-Africa trade hence unfavourable outcomes. Trade with developed countries has mostly been unfair due to factors such as developed countries using their economic and political power to negotiate trade deals that favour their own interests at the expense of African countries.

Further, African countries often lack the bargaining power in trade negotiations due to being small compared to their trading partners and may be forced to accept unfavourable terms in order to access advanced markets. It is interesting that the pricing of commodities predominantly found in Africa is determined by the developed countries and Africa has no control whatsoever. The question remains, what voice do African countries have to decide on what and who to trade with as they seek to actualise their potential?

African countries should come to a realisation that their strengths lies in their numbers and the ability to work together. Why should Zambia order fuel from far countries and incur huge transport costs instead of importing from Angola, its neighbour? Africa will be respected on the global stage when economic decisions such as trade focus on inward solutions rather than continued dependency. The African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) which should be the world’s largest single market is a key weapon to boost Africa’s economic freedom. Africa should not come to the trade table as beggars but rather equal partners because the World needs what Africa has and not only the other way round. 

Working in partnership with other countries is not the problem, but having only one partner benefiting is. While it is true that scrabble for Africa is history, its reoccurrence in the form of control, power and cultural change should be questioned. It’s a call for leaders, investors, Africans and interested stakeholders to ensure that African interests and viewpoints are prioritised by all in working towards bettering people’s lives. Africa has potential to be its own redeemer instead of being ripped apart in the fierce struggle resembling the scrabble for Africa. In the context of globalisation, Africa should seek meaningful and mutually beneficial deals that are only possible when it comes to the negotiating tables as equal partners, not as directionless people who need deliverance.

By: Nchimunya Muvwende

Economist- Zambia

Continue Reading

Africa speaks

Prof. Remi Duyile on Nigeria 2023 election and advice to the youths



Prof. Remi Duyile, Founder Legacy Premier Foundation 

As Nigerians are gearing up and campaigning for the 2023 election begins, Business Africa Online asked Prof. Remi Duyile share her thoughts on what this election means to her and why everyone must be involved, why we cannot afford to get it wrong this time around, and advice to the youths. Excerpts.

Her Response:

I held a political role in Nigeria a few years ago, which provided me with a good understanding of the country’s political institutions. As we approach another year in the political chapters of Nigerian history, we must not only look forward with expectations but also reflect on our previous experiences in order to identify and choose the right leaders for our future.

We’ve all heard the saying “,those who fail to learn from history are likely to repeat it.” With elections approaching, it is critical that we look back and critically examine not only the people, but also the patterns that have led us here. We cannot build the Nigeria we want without learning from the past and making the necessary adjustments while preparing for the future. It takes time for change to occur, just like Rome did not rise overnight. Nevertheless, now is the time to lay the foundation for the Nigeria we seek to build, tomorrow. 


There may be a question in your mind as to what these foundations are. There is first of all a sense of worth and worthiness in life. For any nation to fully develop, it must place a high value on the lives of its residents. As we prepare for the next elections, we must question which of these candidates prioritizes the worth of life and a sense of being Nigerian citizens. This includes: freedom of speech, equality and democratic processes at all levels. This is a priority because unless the worth of life and a sense of self are prioritized above all else, even the best-looking prospects will ultimately become unyielding and dictatorial.

Secondly, there is the growth of human capital and socioeconomic empowerment. It is common knowledge that every industrialized country prioritizes these two factors. No nation is more powerful than its economic potential. Our leaders must be intentional about this. Being a producing nation is one way to successfully enforce this. Nigeria is a great country, yet we are unable to enjoy the fruits of our labor.

All human capacities that can help to improve our economy include the capacity to create, invent, strategize, and engage. To think for ourselves, to maximize the potential of our teeming young people, to generate opportunities and employment, all of these are vital for progress and must be prioritized if we are to see any change in our nation.

Continue Reading


Most Viewed