Nigeria’ s former Minister of Finance, Dr Ngozi Okonjo – Iweala , on Saturday charged leaders of countries in Africa to work on several opportunities the coronavirus had created to rebuild the continent ’ s economy .
The economic expert said the advent of the pandemic exposed weaknesses of economies on the black continent .
Okonjo – Iweala , while delivering a virtual lecture at the 15 th convocation of Bowen University, Iwo , Osun State , where she bagged a honourary degree of Doctor of Science in Technology , however , suggested six ways the governments on the continent could benefit from the opportunities exposed by the novel virus and build their economy in post – COVID years .
The former minister , who called for diversification of the economy through industrialisation , stressed the need to add value to raw materials and create jobs for the vast youth population on the continent , noting that Africa imports 94 per cent of its pharmaceuticals for a population of 1 .3 billion .
She said coronavirus should provide the opportunity for the continent to develop medium supply chains of pharmaceuticals .
She also called for digitisation of the economy and implored the governments to prioritise micro , medium and small scale enterprises .
She said with over 90 million estimated SMEs on the continent , only 15 per cent were formally registered.