By Obinna Chima
The Chairman of Heirs Holdings and Founder of the Tony Elumelu Foundation, Mr. Tony Elumelu, has called on African leaders and development institutions to help address the deepening job and employment crisis bedevilling the continent by lending support and paying more attention towards the agricultural sector, creating access to electricity and developing entrepreneurship.
Elumelu who said this while speaking on the theme: â€œHow do we create 10 million jobs by 2020?â€ at the Youth Connekt Africa Summit in Rwanda recently, opined that access to electricity and increased focus in the agricultural sector would enhance entrepreneurship and tackle the challenge of unemployment through the creation of more jobs in the continent.
Elumelu, an advocate of entrepreneurship and Africapitalism, also upheld the notion that the private sector has the responsibility to play the lead role in contributing to job creation in Africa, and cited the example of the Tony Elumelu Foundation (TEF) and its various investments in these key areas, adding that this is visible from the $100million commitment towards supporting African entrepreneurs over the years.
A statement yesterday quoted him to have said: â€œToday we have businesses in 20 African countries and employ 30,000 people directly and 50,000 people indirectly. Agriculture, access to electricity and entrepreneurship have the potential to create more jobs in Africa.â€
The TEF boss stated that Africa could be self-reliant and self-dependent if the right infrastructure and government support are put in place to boost these sectors. In this regard, he commended the effort of President Paul Kagame for his brilliant initiatives in the areas of entrepreneurship and attracting key investments to the African continent.
The President of the African Development Bank (AfDB), Akinwumi Adesina, who supported Elumeluâ€™s stance, acknowledged that agriculture could create jobs for the teeming African population if youths approached the sector, not just as a way of life, but as a business.
He seized the opportunity to commend Elumelu for his work in entrepreneurship and pledged to support the work of the TEF in the creation of jobs.Â â€œI applaud Tony Elumeluâ€™s work in entrepreneurship, because entrepreneurship is key. We will help to scale up what Tony Elumelu is doing. If others are doing same, we will succeed in Africaâ€.
The Rwandan Development Board also hosted Elumelu at a roundtable breakfast meeting with the Founder and Executive Chairman of Alibaba Group, Jack MaÂ to discuss investment opportunities in Afrcia.
The Youth Connekt Summit hosted by the President of Rwanda, H.E. Paul Kagame, gathered 2,500 invited guests from the private and public sectors.