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Strengthening Africa’s Best Pandemic Defense

Ensuring that the continent’s small and medium-size enterprises have access to the capital and expertise they need is critical to combating COVID-19 effectively. African-owned solutions that are adapted to local conditions and create valuable employment opportunities may be the key to mitigating the pandemic’s economic impact.

PARIS – COVID-19 is having a devastating impact on the global economy. Like every continent, Africa has been bracing itself for a sharp economic downturn. Yet, despite the inevitable recession, the pandemic has created a unique opportunity to promote the growth of small and medium-size enterprises (SMEs) on the African continent. Indeed, empowering the continent’s SMEs could limit the pandemic’s long-term economic fallout.

By creating the right environment for young entrepreneurs and start-ups to scale innovative solutions that are emerging from the crisis, African countries have a chance to stimulate job creation. This is crucial on a continent where youth employment stands at 16%, and 10-12 million young people enter the workforce every year.

Since the beginning of the outbreak, young entrepreneurs and SMEs have been actively involved in developing innovations to combat the potential effects of the virus on African countries. From the “Solar Wash,” a sun-powered, touch-free water dispenser in Ghana, to triage tools in Nigeria and the “DiagnoseMe” COVID-19 remote screening platform in Burkina Faso, young Africans are conceiving ingenious local solutions to help prevent the spread of the disease.

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