Tony Elumelu, the chairman, United Bank for Africa (UBA) Plc, and founder, Tony Elumelu Foundation (TEF), has called on international organizations to come together to provide support for the African continent.
He made this call while delivering a speech at the 2018 Economic Forum currently going on at Davos, Switzerland.
According to him, the continent requires global organisations and multinational institutions to support the much-needed growth adding that in the long run, such growth will definitely affect the world positively.
He disclosed that the major challenge facing African economies is the lack of infrastructures.
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He, therefore, asked that organisations join hands together to provide solutions to this key challenge negatively impacting African economies, especially as regards to electricity supply and other infrastructural challenges the continent is grappling with.
Speaking on the challenge of electricity supply, he said, “Under the Obama administration, the Power Plan programme was initiated, which helped in a number of ways. However, now, we have a number of investors, like the Transcorp Power Plc, that is working hard to improve power in the continent in the 21stcentury. The truth is we have a new crop of investors who know and realise that it is important to have access to power to grow the continent, and our governments have keyed into this.”
“To this end, we would also continue to need support from World Bank, AFDB, and other organisations to support with the huge capital that is needed to boost that sector. We could also do with the support of America because if we improve access to electricity in Africa, it would help the world in a variety of ways.”
Elumelu also called on the need for the involvement of the private sector in developing the African continent. He cited the achievements of the Tony Elumelu Foundation as an example adding that the efforts are beginning to yield rewards. “We are beginning to see signs of the great things that these people are doing and they are making us proud. We have helped them realise their dreams and they are doing well,” he said.
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He also made use of the opportunity to commend organisations such as the International Red Cross Society that has supported the TEF’s vision of empowering 10,000 African youths, which according to him, has created more opportunities for more Africans to benefit from the foundation’s entrepreneurship programmes.
He said: “We have seen that our interventions of 1,000 beneficiaries every year cannot be enough, in the first year, for instance, we had about 20,000 applications, we selected only 1,000; by the second year, it rose to 40,000 where another 1,000 was selected; last year, which was the third, we had 98,000 and we again selected 1000. It has become imperative to create more opportunities and to engage with our friends and partners and those who love Africa and who believe in this form of development that is truly sustainable.”
“So we reached out and I am happy that Red Cross came through and they have committed $1m, so now, we would not just be talking about 1,000 entrepreneurs, but now, it would be 1,200 entrepreneurs. Thanks to Red Cross for the additional 200.”
He explained that the additional $1m fund the organization is bringing to the table is for the Niger-Delta region, covering the Ogoni part, and the North-Eastern region where there is the Boko Haram insurgency. “This kind of intervention is what we need to develop Africa.”
“We want to help to support the African youth, to support and prioritise them at a forum like this for global leaders. To let them know that Africa needs a new form of support, not necessarily hand-outs but support that can empower. We need people to team up with us to support these youth,” he said.