It is possible to hold five and a half ideas together, conceived in the middle of deep sleep, wake out of the sleep in the morning while the same ideas are still intact than trying to coherently conceptualise what kind of economic system Africa should embrace post-COVID-19.
What is obvious, however, the lesson so far learned at this stage of the COVID-19 crisis, is that Africa’s economic system is kaput because it has been dismally weak; heavily dependent on foreign [external] largesse [altruism], faux philanthropy and the health of foreign economies.
Now that the health of these foreign economies is under serious attack (threat), ravaged by the COVID-19 pandemic, they are all coming tumbling down like a towering deck of cards at the slightest shock. That means, the African economic system is coming crushing down with them too, perhaps with more long term consequences.
If and when COVID-19 is sorted and no longer a mass health threat it is now, the world will inevitably and inescapably have to deal with a lot of serious consequences, and new realities. The world will have to invent and be comfortable with a whole new language in the process like “Post-COVIDI-19 stress disorder“.
Just as there are many socioeconomic and political disorders being inevitably forced into creation by the current state of the COVID-19 crisis, there are, many new, exciting things and socioeconomic opportunities being created. Perhaps – and understandably, not quite yet given as much [media] attention as the world is in thrall to the COVID-19 pandemic. But, historically, no crisis is wholly without opportunities.
In fact, all crises are as destructive as their power to create massive opportunities. Underneath the wreckage of destruction, lies great economic opportunities. It is up to and the task of entrepreneurs to look deep into and beyond the wreckage of destruction, and look for opportunities therein. Many prominent companies such as General Electric, IBM, were started out of deep recessions. The COVID-19 crisis is no different from past crises in so far as presenting new economic opportunities.
Every crisis presents opportunities, not so much to the prepared – because this is more of a myth than reality, hardly anyone knows for certain when and what crisis is unfolding to adequately prepare to jump at the opportunities presented – but to those with readily available resources.
But, possibly like most of the world, Africa is faced and will have to deal with one inevitable fact (outcome of the lockdown measures, particularly the stay-at home directive) and that is a sudden surge in population.
Why? Because, inevitably, when people [couples] are grounded at home, more so when many have been, for various reasons, avoiding each other for long under the guise of and hiding behind work obligations, will naturally have no option but to reconnect intimately to fill the void.
That intimate re-connection primarily provides comfort and fills the void otherwise created by the sudden disruption of their daily life routine, which includes avoiding each other intimately; a factor that may contribute to some unintended birth control effects. But only if it’s not compensated by unintended birth increases outside their “normal” relationships.
So, it is reasonable to assume that as couples spend more time together during the “stay at home”, many are inevitably busy getting cuddly and wiggly under the sheets or wherever. The inevitable consequence of this sudden, arguably forced intimate re-connection among many couples, is going to be a baby boom [bulge] 9-10 months from now. Babies born 9-10 months from now, will most likely be the outcome of the “stay at home” directives.
We might fondly refer to the generation conceived during the COVID-19 pandemic and the subsequent lockdown (Stay at home directives) and born, hopefully 9-10 months from now post-COVID-19 and without falling victim to COVID-19 – the “COVID-19 Generation” or “Post-Stay-at-Home Generation“
African countries that have been put under lockdown for more than three weeks are most likely to experience this baby boom than anywhere else.
The post-COVID-19 baby boom in Africa, will undoubtedly add more weight on many African economies struggling to cope with many other post-COVID-19 economic challenges.
While a baby boom in itself might be a great future economic “resource“, it will need to be well provided for to be potentially useful in the economic future of Africa. It will also put more demands on currently struggling to almost non-existent vital services such as healthcare, social and welfare services. Demand for other equally vital economic infrastructure for and in any functional economic system such as an efficient transportation network will inevitably increase.
African countries and their governments, like the rest of the world, are faced with enormous socioeconomic and political challenges ahead – post-COVID-19. To navigate the enormous tasks ahead, it will and should certainly not be business and “busyness” as usual. They will need to get their act together, and up their governance models.
Importantly they will need to restructure, possibly better, overhaul and redesign the current economic model under which African economies operate because it’s evident, it just isn’t suitable for and doesn’t serve Africa’s needs and priorities.
Africa needs an Africa-centred economic system that serves, primarily, African needs and interests. An Africa-centred economic system conceived with Africa, its people and their needs and interests in mind and at the centre of its purpose. Not an imported economic system conceived to extract value from Africa by exploiting its natural and human resources.
An Africa-centred economic system doesn’t mean and should not be an inward looking system. Far from it, it should be cooperative and willing to learn from other world economic systems and their best practices.
This is where, and the time, when African leaders must step up to the plate and demonstrate not only their leadership but commitment to Africa and its people.