Abuja; 14, February 2022:
The Founder of the Tony Elumelu Foundation and Chairman of Heirs Holdings, Tony O. Elumelu, received Executive Vice-President, European Commission, Margrethe Vestager, at a bilateral meeting between TEF and EU towards deepening the existing collaborative partnership between both parties. The partnership between the Tony Elumelu Foundation and the EU has empowered 2500 young women entrepreneurs across Africa, helping to generate impact in their communities, creating jobs and revenue, and contributing to eradicating poverty.
As the EU prioritises women, youth and digital skills in Africa over the next decade, the Tony Elumelu Foundation (TEF) continues to embody these priorities, while forging an even deeper partnership with the EU that impacts hundreds of thousands more youth-owned small businesses across all 54 countries in Africa.
Mr. Tony O. Elumelu, while thanking the European Commission for its landmark partnership with the Foundation to empower young Africans, emphasised the need for an expanded collaboration to reach even more youth: “When I see our young people die trying to cross the Mediterranean, my heart bleeds and I say to myself, what can we do to stop this? And the demonstration of what we can do to stop this, both you, EU and the OACPS did through the support for young African entrepreneurs on the 2021 TEF Entrepreneurship Programme. Through your help and support, we were able to scale up support for women entrepreneurs in Africa. I look forward to an even deeper partnership.”
In response, the Executive Vice-President, European Union (EU), Margrethe Vestager expressed her support for the work of the Foundation in empowering young African entrepreneurs from all 54 African countries. “It is promising that there are organisations not just giving hope,” she said, “but giving hands-on, specific skills enabling these young entrepreneurs to do business and of course also helping to develop financing instruments for later in their business life. This is your own model at the Foundation. There is a grant but also business education, mentoring, advocacy for ease of doing business, for the tax man to be predictable. I am very much aligned.”
Mr. Elumelu continued the meeting, providing additional guidance to the EU in furtherance of its mission to support African youth and women in particular: “As they say, the journey of one mile, starts with a step. There are certain building blocks that must be in place for African entrepreneurs to succeed. One is access to electricity, and two is creating enabling policies that will allow and support these young entrepreneurs. In addition to the support you give, policy advocacy will go a long way.”
Last week on the 12th of February, the Tony Elumelu Foundation also received representatives of the European Commission led by Samuela Isopi, EU Ambassador to Nigeria and West Africa, at an interactive roundtable session themed “Focus on the digital and incubation ecosystem – challenges, success stories and opportunities.” The Foundation and the EU convened representatives from leading tech organisations, investors, and Tony Elumelu Foundation alumni, to discuss and understand the digital landscape for businesses in Africa while also ideating on processes to improve the current status quo.
On February 17 2022, the Foundation will again partner with the European Commission to host a high-level panel event ‘Women Economic Empowerment in Africa through Public-Private Partnerships’ which will take place as part of the 7th EU-Africa Business Forum (EABF). The event will be opened by Helena Dalli (EU Commissioner for Equality) and Georges Rebello Chikoti (Secretary General, OACPS), moderated by Ifeyinwa Ugochukwu (CEO of TEF) with panelists including Dr. Sabine Müller (Director General Africa Department, GIZ), Nitin Gajria (Managing Director Sub-Saharan Africa, Google) and Antón Léis Garcia (Director Spanish Agency for International Development Cooperation AECID) with closing remarks by Sandra Kramer (Director Africa Department, EU Directorate-General for International Partnerships).