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Tony Elumelu, chairman, Heirs Holdings, says female businesses create more businesses for the society.

The founder of The Tony Elumelu Foundation made this statement while speaking on a panel at the Future Investment Initiative Conference in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, on Tuesday.

The conference, which was organised by Public Investment Fund, was aimed at discussing ways of achieving economic diversification in dynamic economies.

“Female businesses create more benefits for the society,” he said, explaining that entrepreneurship and gender equality are two critical areas that need urgent attention in emerging continents like Africa.

Other members of the panel were Mary Erdoes, CEO, JPMorgan Asset Management, USA; Oh Joon Kwon, chairman, POSCO, South Korea; Frédéric Oudéa, CEO, Société Générale, France; Harvey Schwartz, president & co-COO, Goldman Sachs, USA; and Sultan Ahmed Bin Sulayem, chairman & CEO, DP World, UAE.

“Africapitalism is the intersection between prosperity and social wealth – doing good while making profit. It is a realisation that the private sector has a role to play in the social and economic diversification.

“We need to prioritise the young ones and prioritise SMEs if we are to achieve the much spoke about economic diversification.

“Entrepreneurship is a bottom-up approach to economic diversification. It is about trying to encourage our youths to be more enterprising, ultimately realising that they will drive the diversification process.”

Also speaking on the topic, Sultan Ahmed Bin Sulayem identified entrepreneurship as a key driver of today’s economy. “When we encourage entrepreneurship we encourage ideas,” he said.

The Tony Elumelu Foundation Entrepreneurship Programme has endowed 10,000 African entrepreneurs with $100million over a 10-year period with the goal of achieving 10 million jobs within the period.

Already, the programme has celebrated its 3rd cohort of fellows bringing the total number of beneficiaries to 3,000 since its inception in 2015, creating an impact will significantly transform the African continent.

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