In a bid to achieve a sustainable growth in Africa, the chairman of United Bank of Africa and founder of Tony Elumelu foundation on Monday called on French business community, stakeholders and influential Africans in developed world to support “structured philanthropy” in order to promote upcoming entrepreneurs.
Elumelu disclosed this during a live interview with Serge Michel, Editor-in-Chief at Le Monde in France, just few days to the Tony Elumelu Foundation Entrepreneurship Forum, which will take off from 28th -29th October, 2016 in Lagos, Nigeria, where over 45,000 applicants in 54 African countries are in attendance.
Prior to his participation at Le Monde, the UBA boss and the world richest man, Bill Gates paid a courtesy visit to the French Development Agency (AFD) to discuss ways the institution can increase its financial commitment to Africa.
Discussing the challenges rising entrepreneurs face in developing continent like Africa, Elumelu said “The biggest obstacles to development in Africa are a lack of an enabling environment, infrastructure and access to electricity. Imagine a young entrepreneur having to provide power access for a growing business.”
He also proffered solutions to some of the obstacles saying: “It is important that Africans increasingly embrace ‘structured giving’ because it helps us, assist worthy individuals who are not part of our families, or neighborhoods, but who have great need and potential.”
Also, Elumelu cited the achievements of the Tony Elumelu Foundation’s Entrepreneurship Programme as a valid example of how Africans can solve their own problems via entrepreneurship and better governance.
“Better governance will solve our problems. We can’t afford to ignore entrepreneurship. We need to do both. We need government to realize that the success of entrepreneurs will lead to more success for government. Government can’t create all the employment opportunities needed in the economy. Only the private sector can do this. Government must create an enabling environment to allow businesses to thrive.”
Also speaking, Bill Gates who was also a panelist at the event emphasized on partnership said “States can no longer fund themselves their development, by giving back, we tap into the best part of ourselves. Everything significant we’ve done was through partnerships.”
Finally, Elumelu called on both the public and private sector to invest back into the continent by focusing on entrepreneurship and encouraged French investors to connect with local partners.
In attendance were Melinda Gates, Jean-Marc Ayrault, Minister of Foreign Affairs, France, The Aga Khan, spiritual head of the Ismaili Muslim community and Remy Rioux, CEO of Agence Francaise de Development.