35.1 C
Sierra Leone
Tuesday, May 17, 2022

Entrepreneurship the only path to independence & sustainability-Tony Elumelu

November 7, 2016 By Hassan Gbassay Koroma from Lagos, Nigeria

Founder of the Tony Elumelu Foundation, who doubles as Chairman of the United Bank for Africa, has said in Lagos that entrepreneurship is the only path to independence and sustainability for Africans and the continent as whole.

Tony O. Elumelu was speaking at the just concluded 2016 Tony Elumelu Entrepreneurship Forum hosted at the Lagos Law School in Nigeria.

He praised the entrepreneurs and noted that his Foundation’s ambition was for recipients of the award to become ambassadors of entrepreneurship in the African continent.

According to him, the entrepreneurs could be the next generation of wealth creators, who share the Foundation’s commitment to the economic and social transformation of Africa.

He said he was excited about the 2,000 entrepreneurs selected to attend the event and that the gathering was in some ways bittersweet as he continues to reflect on 63,000 ideas received during the programme’s two years of existence.

Mr. Elumelu challenged all stakeholders from the public and private sectors, civil society, multilateral organisations and investors in Africa’s economic development to join hands with the Foundation to support the wider African entrepreneurial community.

“We need to support our entrepreneurs because extreme poverty and economic opportunity rarely coexist in the same place,” he said.

He used the forum to announce partnerships with regional institutions, including the African Development Bank, ECOWAS, Coca Cola and the International Trade Centre, among others.

Giving his keynote address, President Ernest Bai Koroma called on other organisations and individuals to emulate Mr. Tony Elumelu and his Foundation.

“What is unique about this programme is that it not only provides a platform for entrepreneurs to build connections, but they are also being taught how to build their businesses in a sustainable way. Other philanthropists will be inspired to support and promote this philosophy,” he said.

Also speaking, Former Nigerian President, Olusegun Obasanjo, hailed Mr. Elumelu’s perseverance and focus in giving back, adding, “Some others do not have the idea of empowering the next generation of Africans in the manner and scale that you have done.”

He urged the entrepreneurs to exercise patience, while calling on the Nigerian government to implement policies that encourage investors and entrepreneurs to do business in the country.

During the forum, a high-level panel discussion was dedicated to identifying policies to strengthen an enabling environment for entrepreneurs in the continent. The discussion was moderated by Lerato Mbele from the British Broadcasting Corporation. The distinguished panelists included President Koroma, Olusegun Obasanjo and Former Prime Minister of Benin, Lionel Zinsou, who discussed ways of creating a safe playing ground for entrepreneurs.

Related Articles

Latest Articles