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Tony Elumelu ties Africa’s economic growth to private sector development

By Sunday Aikulola
26 October 2018   |   4:05 am
For Africa to compete favourably with other continents, the private sector must be encouraged, insists the founder of Tony Elumelu Foundation (TEF).

Founder of the Tony Elumelu Foundation, Tony O. Elumelu.

For Africa to compete favourably with other continents, the private sector must be encouraged, insists the founder of Tony Elumelu Foundation (TEF).

Tony Elumelu, speaking at TEF Entrepreneurship Forum 2018 in Lagos yesterday, noted that the foundation was built on his conviction that the private sector holds the key to the transformation and economic development of Africa, encapsulated in the philosophy of Africapitalism.

“We are all brought together by one goal: to change Africa and to create that change through the power of entrepreneurship. From our thriving markets to the new generation of African multi-nationals, Africa is showing that economic and social transformation is within our grasp and is being driven by Africans.

“I travel frequently across Africa. I see new technologies breaking down old barriers. I listen to young women and men telling stories of endurance, persistence and, yes, success. Our political leaders are beginning to understand that by unleashing entrepreneurs, creating enabling environment and ensuring that business does well and actively contributes to wellbeing, our culture will be transformed.

“We are already seeing the results. Our entrepreneurs have gathered $52,486,347 in revenue, an increase from $18,155,241.31 recorded before the programme, and they have created 11,971 jobs so far from the 4,034 recorded before the programme.

“This year, we are focusing on networks, the ability to exchange ideas, goods, services and capital. Africa, for too long, has been restricted by geography, boundaries and infrastructure. This year, we made a strategic decision to extend the reach of the programme by developing a digital platform that connects African entrepreneurs and the ecosystem on one platform, TEFConnect. Millions of entrepreneurs will access the tools and opportunities,” he said.

TEF encourages every entrepreneur applying for the entrepreneurship programme to identify the goal(s) their businesses are aligned with.

According to Elumelu, these entrepreneurs are committed to not just creating economic wealth but also the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to impact their communities.

Chief executive officer of TEF Forum, Paraminder Vir, noted that the foundation had empowered 4,470 people.“We are beginning to see the results. They are creating jobs, generating revenues and making social impact through their businesses in the 54 African countries. Across critical sectors such as agriculture, information and communication technology (ICT) and healthcare, our entrepreneurs are driving Africa’s economic diversification and structural transformation,” he added.

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