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Nigeria, Tony Elumelu Foundation, picture
On 13 and 14 October, 1,000 young entrepreneurs from 54 African countries met at the annual forum of the Tony Elumelu Foundation (TEF) in Lagos, Nigeria. With AFD’s support, the businessman and philanthropist Tony Elumelu is pursuing his ambitious objective of launching the careers of 10,000 young entrepreneurs.

Sometimes a helping hand can come to the rescue and there are initiatives that change the face of a country… or even a continent. The initiative of Tony Elumelu, the famous Nigerian billionaire banker, aims to help 10,000 young people continentwide quench their thirst to become entrepreneurs. 

With his TEF Entrepreneurship program, Tony Elumelu had a vision: invest USD 100m over 10 years to identify, train, coach and finance 10,000 entrepreneurs. The challenge was launched in 2015 to boost Africa’s development by itself, and to demonstrate the importance of private entrepreneurship for employment and development.  

“It is young entrepreneurship that will create wealth”

AFD’s Director in Nigeria, Olivier Delafosse, who was interviewed by Guineenews.org at the forum during which 1,000 young future bosses received awards this year, echoes this viewpoint: 

Having a fully-fledged African foundation is something unique to Africa. The Tony Elumelu Foundation targets young entrepreneurship that will create the wealth, growth and employment of tomorrow in Africa. It is not the public sector that will create employment. We believe that we need to provide the public sector with the means in infrastructure, electricity, the business environment and regulations in order to make life easier for companies and provide them with infrastructure. This is what will allow them to develop and create employment and wealth.

AFD is supporting the foundation’s initiative

During the forum, AFD signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the TEF foundation to promote young entrepreneurship in Africa. The agreement concerns both a guarantee for loans allocated to the start-ups supported by the foundation and a joint knowledge production program on young entrepreneurship. It also promotes the sponsorship mechanism led by the foundation. Tony Elumelu is such a fast-mover that Africa should rapidly know all about it. 

Nigeria, Tony Elumelu, biography

Tony Elumelu, who are you?

Head of the United Bank for Africa (UBA), one of the most powerful banks in Africa, Tony Elumelu, 54, has set out to be the promoter of “Africapitalism”. For this Harvard graduate, this means giving priority to the productive sectors of the economy, to the private sector, and to the productive economy, focusing on Africa. Tony Elumelu is not very keen on international aid delivered without distinction and works to redirect these funds – and his own money – towards the agricultural sectors, companies and start-ups that will make Africa’s entrepreneurs of tomorrow.

The foundation he has set up promotes young entrepreneurship in Africa, by financing the program of the same name mentioned here, which combines training, networking, equity contributions and sponsorship.

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