African investor and philanthropist, Mr. Tony Elumelu, has challenged the Government of Japan to invest 5 per cent of its $50 billion commitment to Africa towards empowering African entrepreneurs.
Elumelu gave the advice in his keynote speech, delivered before global leaders, at the 7th Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD) in Yokohama, Japan.
“At TICAD 2016 in Kenya, Japan pledged $30 billion for Africa. This year you have generously increased this to $50 billion. If Japan invests about 5 per cent in Africa’s new generation of entrepreneurs, following my Foundation’s robust, proven model of getting capital directly to those best placed to catalyse growth and create real impact, we could touch 500,000 lives across the 54 African countries, broadening markets, facilitating job creation, improving income per capita, and laying the key foundation for political and economic stability”, said Elumelu.
Elumelu’s statement captured his vision of a relationship between Japan and Africa, which prioritises economic and shared prosperity. He outlined the three key pillars of a bold and transformative structure to include; investment in infrastructure, partnership with the African private sector, and investment in Africa’s youth. He urged Japan to learn from the example of the Tony Elumelu Foundation, which champions empowering African entrepreneurs, as the most sustainable means of accelerating the development of Africa.
‘‘The Tony Elumelu Foundation, in just five years has assisted over 7,500 African entrepreneurs across every African countries, with seed capital, capacity building, mentorship and networking opportunities through its $100 million Entrepreneurship Programme.”
Elumelu’s advice carried the weight of his track record of business success, founding Africa’s global bank, United Bank for Africa (UBA), which has grown its presence to 20 African countries, as well as in the United Kingdom, France, and the USA; and Heirs Holdings, Africa’s private investment company which actively invests in key sectors of Africa’s economy and controls millions of dollars in its investment portfolio.