The President of Ghana, Nana Akufo Addo and his Kenyan counterpart, Uhuru Kenyata, have called on African political and business leaders to join hands and contribute towards supporting young African entrepreneurs for the development of the continent.
The two leaders made the call yesterday in Lagos at the 2018 Tony Elumelu Foundation Entrepreneurship Forum (TEEP).
A total of 1,060 trainees of the foundation from 54 African countries were graduated at the forum that attracted over 5,000 people including business and political leaders.
Kenyata who spoke from Kenya through a live stream platform, said African leaders need to work together for the transformation and development of the continent, stressing that they need to support the Foundation in his vision and effort to help young African entrepreneurs grow.
He stated that it was time leaders made proper and careful policymaking towards investing on young men and women trying to change the narrative of the continent.
He said: “I’m especially happy to be part of this gathering because of its commitment to the development of our continent. I want to commend Elumelu for the good works he is doing towards helping our entrepreneurs to succeed and develop Africa.
“It’s therefore time for proper, careful policymaking for investment in our young people. These young people are the new class of entrepreneurs our African countries need to prosper. Across our countries, young, innovative African leaders are fighting for positive change and they are using technology to enhance education and to solve problems.
“So both the public and private sector need to come together and join hands. We need to do everything we can to build the skills and train the entrepreneurs to start their own businesses,” Kenyata
He advised the 2018 Tony Elumelu entrepreneurs to work harder to achieve their goals and aspirations. “Do not work with pessimism and cynicism. Remember that progress is possible and remember that our problem can be solved. I advise you to be the best that you can be; I urge you to be the best heroes.”
However, Ghanaian President, Addo, in an interactive session with Elumelu, advised his fellow leaders to create an efficient and strong institutions and right frameworks to enable entrepreneurship thrive.
According to him, with such right environment, Africa will even be finding it difficult to control the kind of growth that would be recorded.
“I believe that a strong market economy will provide the best framework for development of the countries in the continent. Such environment will enable these young entrepreneurs to succeed and help in developing the continent. They are the future of Africa,” He said.
“When you have your institutions functioning efficiently, when you are running your economy well, and running your economy well means having exchange rate stability, making your inflation rate low, and your deficit is controlled. Running the country well will provide the framework for the macro economies in our countries to work well. And it powers ingenuity, powers the sense of enterprise, innovation and so on.”
Addo, however, commended Elumelu for making such laudable commitment towards helping to tackle the continent’s problem from the root.
Meanwhile, Elumelu on his part urged the private and public sector in Africa to partner to enable other entrepreneurs who are not being captured by the programme due to limited resources to have the opportunity to succeed.
“The good news is that these young men and women are very energetic, they are restless, they want to succeed but they need our hands, they need the support of the private and public sector,” he said.
Meanwhile, the foundation launched its digital platform, TEFConnect, which it said will connect entrepreneurs to three keys things they need to succeed which are money, market and business tools.
Other dignitaries present at the occasion included the running mate to the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) Presidential candidate, Peter Obi; governors of Kebbi and Bauchi States, Abubakar Atiku Bagudu and Mohammed Abubakar respectively; deputy governor of Taraba State, Haruna Manu; Member representing Ikorodu Federal Constituency, Hon. Babajide Benson;and former Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Chief Nike Akande, amongst others.