Firstly, let me thank His Excellency, the President of Ghana, for being so wonderful in encouraging and supporting all of us on the continent, not just Ghanaians, and for also supporting UNDP, and for preaching and helping us tell the story of Africa beyond aid, which is at the heart of Africapitalism.
- But let me also use this opportunity to commend a very worthy African, that everyone of us should be very proud of, because she is actually not only helping to promote entrepreneurship and making our money in Africa work for all of Africa, she is also attracting and helping to bring global capital to support the development of our continent, and that is the Director of UNDP in charge of Africa, our chief hostess here.
- I thought it was important I spoke about this because prior to her assumption of office as Director for Africa, our Foundation, the Tony Elumelu Foundation – we believe in empowering and supporting young African entrepreneurs – [we] tried on our own to support a thousand Africans every year through the seed capital we provide, but we realised soon after that we were only scratching the surface. We have over 300,000 Africans applying for these 1000 spaces and we reached out to the world, and UNDP, under Ahunna’s leadership came forward, and today, they are supporting around 1000 a year, which is like matching what our foundation is doing, and in addition to that, in conjunction with the UNDP, we just launched a program that will help lift 100,000 young Africans out of poverty. So, again we want to say thank you Ahunna, and this speaks again to Africapitalism.
- Africapitalism is that nexus, that intersection of doing good and doing well. For a long time we have relied on government, and the mentality also of Africans thinking that the world owes us and they have to help us to develop. But we also must look inwards to see that from Africa, our private sector doing business in Africa also has a role to play in the development of the continent, by investing long term in key and strategic sectors that help to catalyse economic growth and development.
- If you look at investment in power, when you invest in power, it is a business investment, but at the same time it helps to improve access to electricity – that is Africapitalism. That is what we think will help us to develop our continent. If we invest in young Africans…we must invest in young Africans. We are helping them to grow, we are helping them to help all of us create jobs and create prosperity, which is good for our continent.
- So this whole philosophy of asking ourselves what we too must do for the development of Africa – that is called Africapitalism. In doing this we realised that the government must also play some role in creating the right environment, the enabling environment that will enable private enterprises to succeed. We want the government to realise that the success of the private sector is the success of everyone, that in the 21st century it is not just about the private sector making profit alone, it can make profit but also impact mankind.
- So, that interplay of development partners, public sector government and the private sector working together for the development of Africa, so that we can create jobs, so that we can create inclusive growth of the continent, so that we can attack poverty, so that we can stem the migration of our young people across the Mediterranean to Europe – that is Africapitalism.