Elumelu lobbies African entrepreneurs on inclusive African capitalism philosophy
African entrepreneurs hold the key to unlock employment opportunities and grow economies, Tony Elumelu Foundation (TEF) founder, Tony Elumelu has said. In his message at the TEF forum, in Lagos, Nigeria, Elumelu said growth in Africa is the responsibility and opportunity for Africans themselves.
“Nobody but us can develop Africa. Africa’s destiny lies in the hands of a new generation of Africa entrepreneurs,” said Elumelu whose organisation has committed $100 million to identify, train and fund 10 000 African entrepreneurs, over a 10 year period, with the goal of realising $10 billion in revenue for the continent and creating a million jobs.
Elumelu said everyone is aware of the African continent’s rapid growth in population. He stated that this demographic explosion and the need to create meaningful employment for the next generation cannot be solved by only government jobs. He said there is a need to democratise job creation. “And the surest way to achieve this is by creating and empowering entrepreneurs. Only entrepreneurs will create the millions of jobs, that we need, to lift our economy out of poverty,” read part of the statement.
He elaborated that entrepreneurship is a bottom up solution to economic growth and development. The businessman said there is a need to focus on empowering the individual, who in turns creates hope and opportunity in his or her community.
“Everywhere I go on our continent, I meet young Africans, who are leveraging technology to create innovative solutions to address both local and global problems, in sectors as diverse as agriculture, health care, financial service and manufacturing,” said Elumelu.
He added that these ambitious individuals have the idea, the spark, and see the opportunity but sometimes they lack capital. Against this background, Elumelu said they want to incubate a new generation that can become the catalysts for further entrepreneurial-led growth.
“It is why we lead in the engagement with government and other policy makers, to ensure that an environment is created that positively supports the entrepreneur,” he said. Elumelu also said that the TEF programme is driven by his inclusive economic philosophy of Africa capitalism.
He believes that a vibrant Africa-led private sector, with significant participation from entrepreneurs, is the key to unlocking African and social potential.
TEF chief executive officer, Parminder Vir OBE, revealed that since 2015, they have supported 3000 African start-ups with training, mentoring, funding and membership to Africa’s largest network of entrepreneurs.She said they were equipping the entrepreneurs with the skills, networks, mindset and values they need to succeed as the next generation of business titans.