Tony Elumelu, chairman of United Bank for Africa Plc wants leaders of the African continent to encourage more young people to become entrepreneurs.
This, he said, is the most secure route to sustainable development, stressing the “imperative for African leaders to implement growth policies that would see the youths as catalyst to development.
Speaking during International Investment Conference dubbed “Tunisia 202,” organised by the Tunisian government, Elumelu said this is one way to avoid the socio-economic crisis as experienced in the North African and other countries on the continent in recent years.
The phylanthropist called for a shared approach to African development, which he said remains “the only route to achieving sustainable economic development, political stability and economic prosperity on the African continent.”
In the last five years the Tunisian economy has struggled following a democratic uprising which ushered in weak growth and economic uncertainty. The conference sought to attract direct investment by assembling global financial leaders and institutions.
To stimulate economic growth in Tunisia and Africa as a whole, he said that his economic philosophy of Africapitalism provides a blueprint, saying that African unity should be about shared challenges and experiences, shared ideas and goals, and bonds of blood and trade.
“I believe that shared prosperity can only be achieved when the government and private sector work in shared purpose to advance the economic and social development of nations and the continent.” he said.
Elumelu promised to support Tunisia’s economic transformation by investing in young aspiring entrepreneurs through his Tony Elumelu Foundation — the leading philanthropy in Africa championing entrepreneurship and entrepreneurs across the continent as the catalyst for sustainable growth in Africa.
He also pledged to help catapult Tunisian entrepreneurs into the next generation of top African business leaders, through the $100 Tony Elumelu Foundation Entrepreneurship Programme.
The event was attended by over 2,000 delegates from 15 delegations representing the United Nations and several countries, including Germany, Canada, France, Qatar and Algeria.
Besides Youssef Chahed, Prime Minister of Tunisia, others at the event were his Algerian counterpart, Abdelmalek Sellal, President and Vice-President of European Investment Bank, Werner Hoyer and Andrew McDowell respectively, Chairman of the Arab Fund For Economic and Social Development, Abdul Latif Yousif al-Hamd.
Declaring the event open, President Beji Caid Essebsi of Tunisia said the two-day conference was designed to generate up to $30 billion for 145 projects over the next four years.
The event is part of the vision to ensure the North African nation can stem flow of foreign direct investment out of the country’s ailing economy.