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Tony Elumelu foundation releases documentary on Transforming Africa

June 16, 2016 By Hassan Gbassay Koroma

The Tony Elumelu US$100 million Foundation Entrepreneurship Programme (TEEP), on Tuesday, 14 June released its first groundbreaking documentary that would be committed to empowering over 10,000 entrepreneurs from all over Africa, as well as creating jobs and generating wealth.

The Tony Elumelu Foundation is an Africa-based and funded philanthropic organisation founded in 2010 with a commitment to driving African economic growth by empowering African entrepreneurship.

The Foundation aims to create lasting solutions that contribute positively to Africa’s social and economic transformation through impact investments, selective grant making and policy development, as well as seeks to influence the operating environment so that entrepreneurship in Africa could flourish.

 “I am deeply proud of what we accomplished in TEEP’s first year. We funded entrepreneurs, established networks and helped extraordinary people take control of their destinies and we did it on an incredible scale. This film is a depiction of Africans telling our own stories as we spur innovative and economic development on the continent,”said Tony O. Elumelu, founder of TEEP.

He said the documentary ‘Transforming Africa’ is one that tells the story of an African’s vision to harness the ingenuity and creativity of Africa’s entrepreneurs, adding that once refined, would be unleashed as an engine of growth on the continent.

He disclosed that for the year 2016, over 45,000 entrepreneurs from 54 African countries applied for the second round of TEEP, more than doubling the number of applications received in 2015.

He said the subsequent films in the series would explore the impact of the entrepreneurs in creating jobs‎ and innovation that would be solving key issues.

It could be recalled that at the launch of the foundation in 2010, philanthropist Tony O. Elumelu said Africa’s development was a personal mission and that it was his belief that Africans should take primary responsibility for their own development.

He reiterated that no one was going to develop Africa but African themselves and that ‘charity’ as conventionally defined was not the best solution for the continent, adding that they needed a new philanthropy that focuses on building the capacity of the private sector to create jobs and wealth for sustainable development.

“I firmly believe that we should be strategic and catalytic in our philanthropy. It is not, and should not be, about simply providing funding, as this is only one of many possible tools for impact. I would encourage entrepreneurs to give their time and experience, and use their influence to create impact. The projects we support, for instance the Nigeria Fast Growth 50, demonstrate our desire to embrace global opportunities and practices, while ensuring that as much as possible of the value adding aspects of Africa’s resource wealth stay on our continent,” he said.

He added that he often tells the story of how a US$5 million investment in a small failing bank about 17 years ago spawned United Bank for Africa, a multinational pan-African financial institution that has created 25,000 jobs, generated wealth in communities all across Africa and  expanded finance for trade, created stronger financial infrastructure for investment and economic growth, paid taxes to national and local governments to support public services and given millions of customers control over their financial lives.

“I set up the Foundation to tackle some of the problems African entrepreneurs face, as entrepreneurship is my passion. I would also like to encourage more of Africa’s high-net-worth individuals to give and support their passions in an institutional manner. It is my belief that home-grown African philanthropy should be setting the agenda for the continent’s development. It is my hope that the Foundation will inspire businesses and entrepreneurs to actively play more of a role in Africa’s development. This is my vision,” he concluded.

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