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Empowering Young African Entrepreneurs

African Presidents and Global Leaders Tackle Job Creation, Youth Empowerment at the 2019 Tony Elumelu Foundation Entrepreneurship Forum

Screen Shot 2019 07 30 at 1.51.35 PM
Screen Shot 2019 07 30 at 1.51.35 PM
  • More than 5,000 participants and 60 speakers across 3 continents converged at the largest gathering of African entrepreneurs
  • 150 SME owners from across 20 African countries exhibited at the UBA Marketplace

At the recently concluded 5th edition of the Tony Elumelu Foundation (TEF) Entrepreneurship Forum, five African Leaders and thousands of young African entrepreneurs converged at the most influential gathering in the African entrepreneurship ecosystem. Job creation and youth empowerment were the key themes tackled at the Forum.

The Tony Elumelu Foundation, which has been at the forefront of advocating for entrepreneurship as the catalyst for the economic transformation of Africa, convened the 2-day Forum on the 26th and 27th of July at the Transcorp Hilton Hotel in Abuja, Nigeria. The event convened over 5,000 participants from 54 African countries, including representatives of the 7,521 beneficiaries of the Tony Elumelu Foundation Entrepreneurship Programme. To date 477 Kenyan entrepreneurs have directly benefitted from the seed funding coming from the Tony Elumelu foundation.

More than 60 global speakers from the public and private sectors across 3 continents participated in interactive masterclasses, plenary sessions and debates geared towards generating ideas and defining concrete steps Africa must take to empower its youth and accelerate the continent’s development. Guests interacted directly with young budding entrepreneurs from across the 20 African UBA-present countries who exhibited their innovative products and solutions at the UBA Marketplace, powered by Africa’s global bank, United Bank for Africa (UBA).

Moderated by American journalist and host of CNN’s show, ‘Fareed Zakaria GPS’, the Presidential Debate, which formed the highlight of the two-day event, focused on charting the way forward towards the eradication of poverty in Africa through job creation. The leaders on the

panel included H.E. Paul Kagame, President, Republic of Rwanda; H.E. Macky Sall, President, Republic of Senegal; H.E. Félix Tshisekedi, President, The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC); H.E. (Prof.) Yemi Osinbajo (SAN), Vice President, Federal Republic of Nigeria; and Hon (Dr.) Ruhakana Rugunda, Prime Minister, Republic of Uganda, representing the President of Uganda, H.E. Yoweri Museveni.

Healthcare played a dominant role in the conversations as healthcare leaders in the public and private sectors tackled this theme on the plenary session “The Role of Healthcare in Economic Transformation”. Speakers on this panel include Dr. Awele Elumelu, Trustee, Tony Elumelu Foundation and Founder/CEO, Avon Medical Practice; H.E (Mrs.) Aisha Buhari, First Lady, Federal Republic of Nigeria, H.E (Mme.) Djena Kaba Condé, First Lady of Guinea; H.E. (Mme.) Keïta Aminata Maiga, First Lady, Mali; Gilles Carbonnier, Vice President, International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC); Oulimata Sarr, Regional Director ai, UN Women Central and West Africa; and Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director General, World Health Organisation.

At the Forum, Tony O. Elumelu, (CON), Founder of the Tony Elumelu reiterated the urgency in creating jobs on the continent to catalyse Africa’s development.

He said: “Extremism is a product of poverty and joblessness. Poverty anywhere is a threat to everyone everywhere,” he said. “If our leaders understand the reason and rationale for our youths to succeed, they will do everything they can to support them.”

Mr. Elumelu also reiterated the role of technology as a key enabler in accelerating development, citing TEFConnect, the digital networking platform for African entrepreneurs launched by the Tony Elumelu Foundation in 2018. With over 500,000 registered users, the hub provides a platform for entrepreneurs to network and forge business partnerships regardless of their location.

Giving the keynote speech, Vice President of Nigeria, H.E. (Prof.) Yemi Osinbajo commented on the impact of the Tony Elumelu Foundation: “By birthing this particular intervention, Tony Elumelu has compelled us to

focus on what really matters, our youth and their dreams. The message to Africa’s emerging business giants is a clear one: How and what can you contribute, like Tony Elumelu, to empowering the next generation, helping them to realize their own dreams?”

The forum ended with a tour of the UBA Marketplace, where entrepreneurs across the continent exhibited their products, as a pitching competition saw the winner walk away with a USD 5,000 grant from the United Bank for Africa (UBA).

l-r: Secretary for Youth Affairs in the Office of the Deputy President of the Republic of Kenya, Mr Anthony Kibagendi, and Founder, The Tony Elumelu Foundation, Mr. Tony Elumelu CON

L-r: Prime Minister of Uganda, H.E. (Dr.) Ruhakana Rugunda; President of Democratic Republic of Congo, H.E. Felix Tshisekedi; President of Senegal, H.E. Macky Sall; The Founder, The Tony Elumelu Foundation, Mr. Tony Elumelu; Vice President of Nigeria, H.E. (Prof) Yemi Osibanjo; Wife of the Founder, The Tony Elumelu Foundation, Dr Awele Elumelu; President of Rwanda, H.E. Paul Kagame; Moderator and Host Mr. Fareed Zakaria, CNN Presenter, during the Founder’s Presidential Dialogue held at the Tony Elumelu Foundation Entrepreneurship Forum 2019, the largest gathering of African entrepreneurs, held in Abuja on Saturday.

l-r: Director General, Arab Bank for Economic Development in Africa, Dr Sidi Tah; Deputy Director General, International Cooperation and Development, European Commission, Mr. Koen Doens; Vice President of the International Committee of the Red Cross, Mr Gilles Carbonnier, President, Africa Export Import Bank, Professor Benedict Oramah; President, African Development Bank, Dr Akinwunmi Adesina; Founder, The Tony Elumelu Foundation, Mr. Tony Elumelu; Director General, World Health Organisation, Dr Tedros Ghebreyesus; and Moderator and Host Mr. Fareed Zakaria, CNN Presenter, during the Founder’s Private Sector Dialogue held during the Tony Elumelu Foundation Entrepreneurship Forum, the largest gathering of African entrepreneur in Abuja on Saturday

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