Last week in an article about Equity Bank’s African Recovery and Resilience plan, we introduced the plan and discussed it at length. In today’s article, we look at the six pillars that the bank is using to ensure a well-rounded development program for the continent.
Food and agriculture
Each African country has potential for agriculture, some bigger than others. Countries have capacity to feed themselves and have enough surplus to export food and earn some foreign exchange. However, agricultural programs are often underfunded, fragmented and uncoordinated. We also have a lot of our agriculture under non formalized subsistence farming, and this is not commercially viable on a large scale.
The African Recovery and Resilience Plan will go about these weak links by mapping agricultural ecosystems and value chains by financing agriculture players, empowering subsistence farmers to grow commercially, and catalyzing agro-processing dialogue with Governments, private sector and industry bodies with an aim to tackle agricultural challenges in an all-rounded style. These are just a few of many more interventions that are detailed in the plan.
Trade and investment
Africa has massive trade potential which is unfortunately underappreciated. With the right trade policies and awareness Africans of the opportunities that are at our feet, cross border trade will be a major player in economic recover of the continent.
This is in the recovery plan’s blueprint, along with value addition to Africa’s raw materials, and strong communication about global advocacy of African opportunities, and other trade boosters like collaborating with freight forwarders for ease of storage and movement of large amounts of goods from one African country to another and for export.
Manufacturing and logistics
The potential for growth in Africa’s manufacturing sector is massive and unfortunately also underestimated. Manufacturing will bring along with it utilization of African raw materials thus value addition and enhanced trade, a spike in MSMEs and therefore jobs across the entire value chain of manufacturers, suppliers, logisticians and many more. This will inject a log of finances and morale into local and collective economies.
Creating linkages between countries, coordinating trade and financing suppliers will all create a favourable environment for manufacturing and trade, with clear results of recovery.
This is an exiting one. Through this project, Equity Bank’s aim is to empower millions of MSMEs who will in turn improve their businesses and create jobs. The bank’s plan is to empower 5 million MSMEs, with a projection that each of these will create 5 direct jobs and 5 indirect ones. That is a total of 50 Million jobs into African economies. An empowered people will be fueled to get on their feet and work even more and this is how the continent will be on a sure growth path.
African MSMEs disenfranchised due to fragmented and disorganized value chains. The recovery plan will provide holistic financial solutionis to connect MSMEs to formal value chains.
Nothing moves without technology in this era. With homegrown technologies courtesy of our vibrant youth and other developers, Africa is looking at smart tech that is specific to our challenges. With technology, we are looking at smart farming, smart factories, and smart trading platforms and these are just a few examples. In the end, technology will encompass everything from simple communication to complex IoT and big data to run and automate massive projects.
Social and environmental transformation
As much as Africa can industrialize and achieve economic power, these achievements would only mean good for the people if they are comfortable as social beings. The African Recovery and Resilience plan does not go to go all big on economies while leaving the people behind. People have already always been an important part of private sector and for Equity, there are already programs like Equity Afia which now has a network of 53 outpatient medical centers across 19 counties in Kenya. The bank is also very keen on education especially among the less fortunate, with the Equity wings to fly program which has so far facilitated over 37,000 beneficiaries through secondary school in partnership with Mastercard Foundation. As Africa grows, the people grow with it.
Of course industrialization will take a long time to reach global competitiveness. But it is possible as any other regional block as long as long as there is sharp focus and keen actualization by the banks and its partners. This ship will turn. It will take time, but it will turn.