How Africa Can Thrive In a Post-Pandemic World

Ronak Gopaldas is a Director at Signal Risk, an exclusively African risk advisory firm. His work focuses on the intersection of politics, economics, and business on the continent. We discuss the biggest economic challenges currently facing the African continent, how we’ll get to the predicted Mega Cities in Africa if the African Continental Free Trade Agreement will survive the pandemic, how Africa has managed the pandemic relative to other regions of the world, where Africa features in post-pandemic geopolitics and practical strategies Africa can implement to thrive in the post-pandemic world.

Discussion highlights

Biggest economic challenges currently facing the African continent

  • Covid-19
  • Commodity Prices
  • Capital Flight
  • Disease
  • Debt
  • Dysfunction

Mega Cities predicted for Africa by 2100, how do we get there?

  • Africa needs to follow a route to industrialisation that has never been done before.
  • We need to think smart and strategically.
  • The young population can be an economic stimulus, provided they are healthy, well-educated, and productive.
  • Not much good news out there at the moment.
  • African continental free trade agreement plays to our strengths.
  • Ronak expands on above.

Will the African Continental Free Trade Agreement survive the pandemic?

  • There has been significant progress.
  • 3 tensions that need to be resolved:
  • 1: Pan African vision vs the domestic politics of certain countries.
  • 2: Protecting the smallest countries.
  • 3: What is happening on a technocratic/ political level vs what is happening for the man on the street.
  • Ronak expands on above.

How has Africa managed the pandemic relative to other regions of the world?

  • Ronak explains how African countries have been able to manage the pandemic quite well in general.

Post-pandemic geopolitics: Where does Africa feature?

  • Africa is really important in a new game of geostrategic chess between global superpowers.
  • America vs China - Ronak explains.
  • It is up to African countries to make the right strategic choices to avoid being exploited.

Practical strategies Africa can implement to thrive in the post-pandemic world

  • 5 color economy. Not only to survive but to be successful.
  • Blue economy: Sustainable use of ocean resources.
  • Green economy: renewable energy and agriculture.
  • Purple Economy: Cultural exports.
  • Flat white economy: Technological and digital opportunities.
  • Grey economy: Informal economy.
  • Ronak explains above.


About Ronak Gopaldas

Ronak is currently a Director at Signal Risk, an exclusively African risk advisory firm. His work focuses on the intersection of politics, economics, and business on the continent.

He was previously the Head of Country Risk at Rand Merchant Bank (RMB) for a number of years, where he managed a team of analysts who provided the firm with in-depth analysis of economic, political, security, and operational dynamics across sub-Saharan Africa. During his time at RMB, he also served on the Africa and International Management board and a number of exco positions.

A prominent voice in print, radio, and television in both the local and international media, Ronak has made frequent appearances on the likes of CNN, BBC, Al Jazeera, and CNBC Africa, and also publishes regular opinion and analysis pieces. He has spoken at a number of the world’s top universities and at leading Africa focussed policy and business conferences as a moderator, panelist, and keynote speaker.

In 2016, he delivered a powerful Tedx talk entitled “Embracing Africa: beyond the binaries” and in November 2015, he participated in the Asian Forum on Global Governance in New Delhi with a number of young leaders from around the world. He is a fellow of the Young African Leadership Initiative (YALI) and was selected as one of South Africa’s “Brightest Young Minds” in 2011.

Ronak holds a BCom degree in Philosophy, Politics, and Economics (PPE) with Business French as well as a BCom (Hons) in Financial Analysis and Portfolio Management from the University of Cape Town (UCT). He also recently completed an MSc in Finance (Economic Policy) through the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) in London

Source: LinkedIn

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