COVID-19 Pandemic: Soludo Wants Nigeria, Other African Countries Repositioned

*Professor Charles Chukwuemeka Soludo, was formerly Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria

Former Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and a member of President Muhammadu Buhari’s Presidential Economic Advisory Council (PEAC), Professor Charles Soludo, has called for a fundamental strategy to redesign the country for an effective transition to a viable economy after the ravaging Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, which has practically shut economies of the global community.

The former CBN governor who initiated the banking reforms, which was later extended by his successor, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi and former Emir of Kano made the call when he appeared as a guest on Arise News Channel programme, tagged The Morning Show. The channel is owned by Thisday newspapers. As a fall out of the lessons learnt from the pandemic, the Prof. who is one of the best brains to have come from Igboland in recent history said the country can no longer afford to be left behind as a result of the pandemic. According to him, the value and opportunities should be created in the agriculture, technology and manufacturing sectors.

Soludo said, “It all depends on what you do in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. If people think of it as a binary or sequential thing that we first of all finish with the pandemic and then come back to deal with the economy, there will be no opportunity and it will not augur well by not taking advantage of this opportunity. It all depends on what we strategically do today. China today has opportunistically positioned themselves, while the world is locking down; they were raking in hundreds of billions of dollars.

“China ejected positively about $2.5 billion when everybody seems to be on recession. African countries should opportunistically position themselves and think differently. How do we tackle the pandemic given our local realities in such a manner that we can also position ourselves to the advantage of the rest of the world? For instance, it all depends on what we do. What will happen to remittances and tourism? With COVID-19, Africa will almost lose a lot. All these will have consequences as well or how quickly we recover.”

He continued, “One thing is sure; Africa must deal with the orchestrated conversation against the 5G technology. Technology is the language of the future; it is the future and Africa will continue to be a land of opportunities. Investments are warranted and countries that have got the enabling environment and regulatory ease of doing business will obviously make it. Our potentials are quite huge; there will be a creative distraction; there are huge opportunities for value addition; it’s a virgin land as it were. I want to believe that over 400 companies make annual revenue in excess of one billion pounds in a year. The future is here whether it is in terms of solid minerals sector, agriculture, technology, and manufacturing, especially. It is the place to be with the right strategies,” he added.

Soludo continued, “How do you get people to eat because there is a link between nutrition and health? With this, we need to fill the missing link because there are so many people that cannot afford to feed. It means there are many Africans who are in need – about 1.3 billion people. And about two to five per cent can afford the lockdown. There are people who are malnourished with immune system down, there are thousands dying every day,” the former CBN boss stated.

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