“I am a strong believer in the African private sector” – President Macron says to Tony Elumelu Foundation Entrepreneurs
President Emmanuel Macron affirmed his belief in the potential of the private sector in Africa to transform the continent and drive sustainable growth.
He made these statements while addressing 2,000 Tony Elumelu Foundation
entrepreneurs in an interactive session in Eko Hotel, Lagos, hosted by Tony O. Elumelu, Chairman of Heirs Holdings and Founder of the Tony Elumelu Foundation, which was held on July 4, 2018.
Tony Elumelu, who introduced President Macron to the guests and attendees, extolled the French President as a new kind of leader who epitomises the discipline of the private sector and the experience of the public sector. He seized the opportunity to call on the government to empower the young entrepreneurial minds on the continent stating that:
“We have here Africa’s entrepreneurial talents. But we need our government to support them. We need the private sector to democratise luck,” he said.
The introduction was followed by the engaging session, granting the entrepreneurs the opportunity to ask the President questions pertaining to policy making, business environment and the possibility of a France-Africa partnership. Macron reiterated his stand that Africa’s challenges can be solved with investments in entrepreneurship and innovation.
“Entrepreneurship and innovation are the answers Africa needs. Young people should be obsessed by innovation,” he said.
Questions were directed at President Macron about trade opportunities for young African entrepreneurs. He highlighted regional integration in Africa as a quick win to achieving growth. Elumelu has been a strong advocate of an Africa with open borders as a means of increasing investment and trade opportunities. His economic philosophy, Africapitalism
, is a call to action to the private sector to take on the responsibility of doing good in the communities of their operation while making profit; it also advocates shared responsibility and a handshake between the public and private sectors to achieve sustainable growth on the continent. At the event, Elumelu made a call to the rest of the world to look into Africa for investments.
“We want France and the rest of the world to know that there is a lot more to Africa. We are a continent of opportunities,” Elumelu said.
Elumelu and President Macron stood side-by-side, surrounded by emerging and established business women and men from across Africa, during an exciting and at times charged session. Concluding the event, TEF signed an agreement with the Agence Française de Développement (AFD), the French development bank. The agreement established a research partnership to examine the entrepreneurship ecosystem in West Africa, with a special focus on francophone countries, a risk-sharing guarantee framework and access to high-level mentors for TEF entrepreneurs.
The event was well attended by top leaders in the public and private sectors including Jim Ovia, Chairman and Founder, Zenith Bank Plc; Hebert Wigwe, CEO, Access Bank Plc; Oscar Onyema, CEO, Nigerian Stock Exchange; Atedo Peterside, Chairman and Founder, Stanbic IBTC Bank Plc; Dr Nike Akande, President of the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry and honorary life Vice-President of the Nigerian Association of Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture; Donald Duke, former Governor of Rivers State; Segun Awolowo, CEO, Nigerian Export Promotion Council; Ben Murray Bruce, Nigerian Senator and Businessman; Femi Kuti, Nigerian musician; delegates from the French private and public sectors; Heirs Holdings and investee companies’ Executive Management and Board members, among many others.
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