Chairman, Heirs Holdings and Founder, The Tony Elumelu Foundation, Tony O Elumelu, CON, engaged with MIT Sloan Fellows in Boston, US, to discuss business, investment and entrepreneurship from the perspective of an African private sector leader. The session was a series of events organised by the Fellows on November 30, 2017.
Speaking to the gathering of young leaders, Elumelu said that Africa’s development can only be fast-tracked with the right investment in the continent’s most enterprising asset – its youth. Elumelu also called on the government to provide an enabling environment for the private sector to succeed as this will lead to the creation of more jobs and Foreign Direct Investments into the continent.
“I strongly believe that the future of Africa lies in the African youth and the governments’ ability to create the right environment,” Elumelu said.
During the engagement, he highlighted key points Africa needs to facilitate its development and become self-reliant:
– Endowed Africans should invest in Africa, and not in other continents, as this will attract more investments that will help transform the continent
– We need to position the continent to attract private global capital.
– The way developmental organisations support Africa should begin to change from an alms-dependent engagement to one dependent on investing in key sectors and areas that have the potential to drive sustainable development in the continent.
Not excluding Africans living and working outside Africa, Elumelu called on Africans in the diaspora to support the development of their home continent. According to him, established Africans in the diaspora can mentor and financially support African entrepreneurs, and he proposed The Tony Elumelu Foundation’s flagship entrepreneurship Programme as a vehicle through which this can be achieved.
With a goal of endowing African businesses at the growth and idea stages with $10,000 over a 10-year period, as well as mentorship and access to other forms of business capital, the TEF Entrepreneurship Programme has so far successfully incubated 3,000 entrepreneurs. The 4th edition of the Programme has been officially declared open for 2018.
“Look beyond yourself and use your business to lift others,” Elumelu concluded at the event.