Elumelu charges African leaders to prioritise economic empowerment


The chairman of Heirs Holdings and founder of Tony Elumelu Foundation (TEF), Mr. Tony Elumelu, has enjoined African leaders to change and improve the business terrain to deal decisively with issues of joblessness and poverty on the continent.

Speaking at the opening session of the 2017 World Economic Forum on Africa held in Durban, South Africa, Elumelu said Africa’s business environment is stifling with entrepreneurs providing their own water, transport, and own electricity.

“How are they going to succeed? Embrace legacy, you are not here forever. You must improve the business terrain to deal decisively with issues of joblessness and poverty,” he said.

Elumelu who was on the panel with others including Winne Byanyima, executive director, Oxfam; Lindiwe Mazibuko, former parliamentarian and leader of the opposition in South Africa, and Rich Lesser, global chief executive officer/president, Boston Consulting Group (BCG) stressed the looming threat of widespread joblessness saying “it is the greatest challenge for the continent.”

The TEF chairman who proffered entrepreneurship development said his Foundation had supported entrepreneurs from 54 African countries.

He said TEF had committed $100 million commitment to African entrepreneurs in 2015 as well as created 3, 000 small businesses across Africa.

“We have seen first-hand how SMEs create a multiplier effect where more youths are gainfully employed through the jobs created. To transform Africa, we must make doing business easy for them,” he said.

However, he said the private sector cannot achieve much solely without the government’s critical role.

“It is all about legacy. If our political leaders embrace legacy and it guides them, they will fix Africa,” he added.









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