Digital Connectivity, Investing in Health


For Steiner, digital connectivity is essential in rebuilding economies in the region post Covid-19. This would make it easy for persons to stay in touch with friends, family, and work remotely. In addition, it would encourage innovation and improve learning opportunities.

“Digital connectivity is very crucial to connect schools to the internet. We need to address inequality; also, the virus has put a spotlight on Africa’s healthcare system.

“Africa needs to look at intermediate strategies like micro-insurance to ramp up this sector. Healthcare has the ability to make a large percentage of the occupation fall into extreme poverty,” he added.

Speaking further, Steiner pointed out that the developmental gains recorded by the continent in the last decade were now at risk, in terms of manpower and economic.

According to Steiner, “The health system across Africa is still uneven. The universal health coverage is not a reality and it will be very difficult for governments to finance in the near future, national health services that can essentially be funded just from the public purse.

“We need to look at micro-health insurance. Insurance sectors working with governments could massively expand coverage for hundreds of millions of people to cover the major health risks.

“These are the things that throw people back into poverty and 40 per cent of people who escape from extreme poverty often fall back into it often because of health crisis. We need to also look at the education sector like impacting entrepreneurial skills, the reality of what is happening right now is that hundreds of millions of children are deprived of their education and I think we have learned very quickly that digital connectivity could be a crucial leap-frogging opportunity to connect all schools in the continent.”

On his part, Maurer said there was need to look at pandemic as part of a broader health system which needs stabilisation.

“We must do more than life-saving. This pandemic has illustrated the weakness of health, water, sanitation and social systems, and we have to heavily invest into the stabilisation of these systems,” he stated.

Also, Yahmed said: “We have to get away from the commodity driven model which has failed in creating prosperity. Secondly, self-reliance should be one of the major objectives. The pandemic is wake up call for Africa, creating new streams of revenue and self-reliance by the African continent.

“We need to use this crisis to take Africa to the next level. This crisis is going to be a super accelerator of already existing trends. I think it has to be a wake-up call for us to attain goals we haven’t reached.

“Create new revenues for the economy. We also need to attain self-reliance. Self- reliance is an important goal. Africa manufactures only two per cent of what it produces. We need to use this crisis to take Africa to the next level. Invest in digital infrastructure, digital education, agriculture is another opportunity we need to grab. We need to get the AFCTA working.”

Kaberuka also said what Africa needed to tackle the pandemic was something unusual, adding: “it is not business as usual. It is not marginal action; it is radical action.”

Therefore, for countries in Africa to cushion the effect of the pandemic on their citizens, among other economic stabilisation measures, a large dose of fiscal and monetary policy interventions would be crucial to support and protect vulnerable persons.