Chairman of the United Bank for Africa (UBA) and founder of Tony Elemelu foundation, Tony Eleumelu has urged world leaders to invest massively in the development of Africa’s power, youth development and human resources to drive economic growth in the continent.
Speaking on a panel at the 2020 UK-Africa Investment Summit in London, he stressed the need to invest in critical sectors of the economy such as electricity and human resources, noting that this will galvanise the continent, taking into consideration the huge population which Africa currently boasts of.
“Empowering the youths will help us create jobs and alleviate poverty and I think that this empowerment must start from creating an enabling environment, from making sure we have roads, mass transportation systems and most importantly, fixing the problem of shortage of electricity on the continent. If we do all of this, we will unleash the enormous potential that resides in Africa and in these young people.”
Through his foundation, the Tony Elumelu Foundation, (TEF), in the past 5 years, over 9,600 youths have been empowered across the continent with seed capital, mentoring and networking to grow their businesses and enable them contribute to economic development.
“During lunch, I interacted with some alumni of the Tony Elumelu Entrepreneurship programme who said they were beneficiaries of $5,000 support in 2015 from the TEF, and today, they have just completed raising U$3million becoming one of the biggest food chain providers in Rwanda. These are some examples of what such interventions can do. We support, give them an enabling environment, provide a platform and think of our prosperity in a sustainable fashion,” Elumelu explained.
On his part, the World Bank President, Malpass, spoke of more focus on digital financial services, stating that investing in Africa will help to take the continent to another level, adding that there is need for more availability of electricity and good trade policies that will boost businesses on the continent.
The UK Africa Investment summit 2020, which was opened by the British Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, for the first time ever, brought together African heads of states, business leaders and investors, to discuss future partnerships between the UK and African nations.
Other speakers on the panel include the President of the World Bank Group, Mr. David Malpass; the Chief Executive Officer, Development Partners International, Ms Runa Alam; and the Group Chief Executive Officer, Vodafone Group, Mr Nick Read.