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Empower African entrepreneurs, Elumelu charges Japan

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Seventh Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD) in Yokohama, Japan

In an impassioned keynote speech delivered before global leaders, at the seventh Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD) in Yokohama, Japan, African investor and philanthropist, Tony O. Elumelu, challenged the government of Japan to invest five per cent of its $50 billion commitment to Africa, in empowering entrepreneurs.

At TICAD 2016 in Kenya, Japan pledged $30 billion for Africa, he noted, adding: “This year you have generously increased this to $50 billion.

“If we invested just five per cent in Africa’s new generation of entrepreneurs, following my foundation’s robust, proven model of getting capital directly to those best placed to catalyse growth and create real impact, we could touch 500,000 lives across the 54 African countries.

“This would be broadening markets, facilitating job creation, improving income per capita, and laying the key foundation for political and economic stability.”

Elumelu’s statement captured his vision of a relationship between Japan and Africa, which prioritises economic and shared prosperity.”

He outlined the three key pillars of a bold and transformative structure- investment in infrastructure, partnership with the African private sector, and investment in Africa’s youth.

Elumelu urged Japan to learn from the Tony Elumelu Foundation, which is empowering African entrepreneurs, as the most sustainable means of accelerating the development in the continent.

The Tony Elumelu Foundation, in just five years has assisted over 7,500 African entrepreneurs across every African countries, with seed capital, capacity building, mentorship and networking opportunities through its $100 million Entrepreneurship Programme.

Elumelu’s advice carried the weight of his track record of business success, founding Africa’s global bank- United Bank for Africa (UBA), which has grown its presence to 20 African countries, as well as in the United Kingdom, France, and the USA.

Heirs Holdings, Africa’s private investment company, also actively invests in key sectors of Africa’s economy and controls millions of dollars in its investment portfolio and together, employing over 30,000 people and transform the communities they operate in.

President of South Africa and Co-Chair, TICAD, Cyril Ramaphosa, corroborated Elumelu’s stance, saying: “If you really want good returns, as Mr. Tony Elumelu said, come to Africa.

“Africa presents risk-adjusted returns and is a market in which investments are flowing at a hundred billion dollars – that is the new profile of Africa that is being presented to the world.”


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