Tinubu advocates increased investment in African youths
Tinubu voiced his concern that African leaders were not doing enough to foster socio-economic development within their nations.
The President made these remarks during the Breakfast Launch of the Tony Elumelu Foundation (TEF) Impact Report, which coincided with the 78th United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) meeting held in New York.
The report, titled "The Tony Elumelu Foundation Entrepreneurship Programme: A Decade of Impact," spotlights the remarkable contributions of the TEF's flagship $100 million Entrepreneurship Programme in advancing Africa's socio-economic development.
This initiative was jointly organised by the TEF, the United Nations Development Fund (UNDP), and the United Nations Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) GEN-U, a global partnership aimed at equipping young people with the skills and connections needed for education, employment, and social impact opportunities.
Represented by the Minister for Trade and Industry, Doris Uzoka-Anite, President Tinubu voiced his concern that African leaders were not doing enough to foster socio-economic development within their nations.
He stated, "I don't think we are doing enough as Africans for Africa. I think we need to do a lot more. Tony Elumelu is the major driving force behind investment in SMEs, youth support, entrepreneurship, and start-ups. We need to challenge ourselves further."
Highlighting Africa's rich resources and burgeoning youth population, President Tinubu emphasised the need for Africans to support one another, urging the continent to move away from reliance on donor funding.
He highlighted the critical role played by Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) in driving Nigeria and Africa's economic growth, contributing nearly half of the national GDP and more than 80 percent of employment.
President Tinubu affirmed that the government would provide the necessary infrastructure, including regulations, property rights, access to justice, protection from unfair competition, and improved access to power, roads, and ports.
Chairman of TEF, Tony Elumelu, noted that the foundation embarked on a transformative journey for Africa 13 years ago by enhancing entrepreneurship development and encouraging African solutions. He emphasised the need for support and collaboration to brighten this beacon, saying, "100 million dollars is a drop in the ocean compared to what we need in Africa. Young Africans need economic support."
Elumelu called for collaborative efforts to invest in young Africans, empower women in economic activities, and alleviate poverty. He stressed that poverty anywhere posed a threat to everyone everywhere.
The CEO of TEF, Somachi Chris-Asoluka, reported that the foundation had empowered young African entrepreneurs from all 54 African countries, surpassing its initial targets by funding 18,000 entrepreneurs and disbursing over $100 million in seed capital.
These entrepreneurs have created over 400,000 jobs across African countries, with 91 percent of supported businesses still active and generating significant revenue.
Chris-Asoluka also highlighted TEF's commitment to gender representation, aiming to create a brighter and more inclusive future for Africa.
Ahunna Eziakonwa Assistant Administrator and Regional Director for Africa at UNDP, underscored the importance of the partnership between UNDP and TEF, driven by a shared interest in fostering development across Africa and globally.
She emphasised that Africa's wealth lies in its population, constituting 70 percent of young, vibrant, and innovative Africans.
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