Africa Must Leverage Technology for Economic Transformation, Says Elumelu

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Tony Elumelu

Obinna Chima

The Chairman of the United Bank for Africa Group (UBA), Mr. Tony Elumelu, has described technology as a leading accelerator for economic transformation and development globally.

Owing to this, he stressed the need for policymakers and political leaders in Africa to leverage technology to transform the continent and empower the massive youth population in the continent.

Elumelu, who is the founder of the Tony Elumelu Foundation (TEF), said this in a speech at the ‘Tech for Good Summit,’ organised by French President, Emmanuel Macron, that took place in Paris.

He pointed out that from efficient payment systems, to access to data that fosters connection and collaboration, technology remains a reality and offers a world of opportunity and promise.

“But Africa cannot be left behind. Africa needs this type of gathering – we are a continent with over 60 per cent of its people under the age of 30 – they need economic opportunities, they need hope. “They need Tech for Good and just as important, Tech for All,” he said.

Elumelu, who is also the Chairman of Heirs Holdings, said he represented Africa at the summit, to draw attention, “to our young ones who seek economic hope and opportunity via technology.”

He emphasised that technology remains a great employer of labour, drives inclusiveness and helps in alleviating poverty.

“But we must not forget that in Africa we are just starting out and we cannot afford to lag behind. We need the world to pay attention to Africa so that young Africans are not disenfranchised and left behind in this new technology era.

“We need the world to pay attention to the plight of young Africans so that issues of migration can be addressed in a more fundamental way – by tackling the root cause, which is a lack of economic hope. “We must address these issues holistically to fight poverty which as we all know is a threat to everyone everywhere,” he added.

Elumelu challenged world leaders who gathered in Paris for the summit, to train and invest in young Africans, and to make capital investments in the continent, that would ensure that tech is truly for all. Tech is for good but we must make sure it is for all, he maintained.

“These commitments will make the world a more equitable and inclusive place. I reiterated to them that even as they gathered in the next G7 and G20 summits, they should prioritise tech for all on the African continent,” he said.

He told the participants that the Tony Elumelu Foundation remains committed to Tech for All.

“Our digital hub for African entrepreneurs, TEFConnect, demonstrates the possibilities that can be unlocked on our continent when we leverage technology in business, investment and social good.

“Our platform is a demonstration of what can be achieved when the digital revolution is democratised – personal empowerment, business growth, equitable bilateral relationships and a more gender balanced and inclusive society.

“Finally, on behalf of UBA Group — I have also joined other select global leaders to co-sign a diversity pact aimed at increasing participation of women in leadership and technology by 2022.

“The pact will leverage technology to bridge the gender divide in today’s fast-evolving workspace, drive a more inclusive work environment and accelerate innovations that will further simplify our lives and make us more efficient,” he said.