Lagos, Friday, January 18 – Today, the Tony Elumelu Foundation hosted the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) Administrator, Dr. Rajiv Shah, at events designed to highlight new opportunities for partnerships that can accelerate growth and development in Nigeria.
The trip signals the US government’s interest in transforming the foreign aid landscape by engaging private sector partners to achieve key development goals.
The visit commenced with a town hall style panel discussion, during which Dr. Shah and Heirs Holdings Chairman, Tony O. Elumelu, C.O.N., interacted with young Nigerian students, entrepreneurs and businesses leaders, answering candid questions on the topic of public-private partnerships and USAID plans for Nigeria’s development.
Mr. Elumelu’s advisory role to USAID’s Private Capital Group for Africa (PCGA) Partners Forum, which leverages US public resources to direct private capital to critical development areas, was also publicly announced for the first time on African soil. Mr. Elumelu is the first African to be appointed to the PCGA.
Thereafter, Dr. Shah and Mr. Elumelu participated in roundtable discussions with several private sector leaders and energy sector representatives to discuss specific ways that USAID can partner with the Nigerian private sector. Participants in the discussion included Aliko Dangote, Jim Ovia, Arunma Oteh, Phillips Oduoza and Bismarck Rewane.
Dr. Shah said, “We are grateful to Mr Elumelu for his leadership with the Private Capital Group for Africa. We started PCGA because we realize that development partners must change the way we work to engage the dynamic entrepreneurship emerging from the developing world.
“We had the opportunity to meet wonderful Nigerian students and entrepreneurs here, which gives me great optimism. We hope they will be able to take advantage of our program to help them take off.”
Mr. Elumelu said, “This visit marks an important moment for Nigeria. It is time for the dialogue around development to change from charity to job creation.
“The US government has demonstrated that it realizes the need to actively engage private sector leaders at all levels, because, with the right support and leadership, these are the people that will create lasting change in our communities.”