African leaders seek ways to mitigate COVID-19 challenges on human capital
Over 2,000 business and civil society executives from 35 African countries joined the United Nations (UN) leaders at a virtual UN Global Compact gathering to call for greater commitment to Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in response to challenges created by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The one-day event themed ‘Uniting Business for Africa We Want: Decade of Action and Opportunities’, was organised by the UN Global Compact in collaboration with Global Compact Local Networks in South Africa, Kenya, Ghana, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Nigeria, Tanzania, Morocco, and the Indian Ocean and Mauritius Regional Network.
Opening the meeting, UN Deputy Secretary-General, Amina Mohammed said Africa must be vigilant to prevent COVID-19 from slowing its momentum.
She said governments, financial institutions, and the private sector must stay the course by driving sustainable investment, maintaining access to international markets, putting the brakes on corruption, and strengthening support for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMES).
She urged that African leaders must always invest sustainably in the poor and marginalised communities, leaving no one behind.
Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and Executive Director of the UN Global Compact, Sanda Ojiambo, maintained that African science and technology paired with responsible business solutions could solve education, labor, and operational challenges.
She said with the summit where the speakers made progress on investing in youth, furthering energy production using sustainable ocean business practices, and tackling climate change and gender equality issues was commendable.
According to her, “African industry represents a vital link to the chain of more than 11,000 companies and 3,000 non-buisness signatories to the UN Global Compact.”
Others speakers included CEO of Bank of Africa Group BMCE, Othman Benjelloun; CEO, Equity Bank Congo, Celestin Mukeba; and Vice President, Unilever West Africa, Siddarth Ramaswamy, among others, who participated in sessions covering supply chain challenges in Africa to opportunities for increasing gender equality in doing business.