Archive #Viewpoint: Bonjour from France by Tony O.Elumelu (CON)

#Viewpoint: Bonjour from France by Tony O.Elumelu (CON)

-

- Advertisment -

I am writing from Paris, at the grand opening session of MEDEF Summer University 2016, where I’ve just led a lively discussion around the France-Africa relationship alongside Gary Coombe, President/CEO of P&G Europe, and Pierre Gattaz, President of MEDEF.

My contributions to the panel emphasized the need for stronger commercial and business partnerships between France and all of Africa – not just the Francophone region but expanded to Anglophone Africa. The 21st century approach to development prioritizes trade and investment, and France as a longstanding friend of Africa, should be at the forefront of this movement.

Africa’s demographic dividend, its youth bulge, rising middle class, growing GDP/capita, stabilizing macroeconomic environment and increasingly pro-business governments, are important factors that signal a market ripe with investment opportunities and attractive returns.

As an active investor, I make bold to say that there is no other place that offers return on investment higher than in Africa. As Chairman of United Bank for Africa, a bank with a long history of 70 years on the continent, we have aggressively expanded our operations to 1000 branches across 19 African countries, to take advantage of these opportunities. UBA serves 14 million Africans, facilitates trade and payments across the continent, and also supports SMEs – including women and youth – to actualize their economic aspirations.

Similarly, the Tony Elumelu Entrepreneurship Programme, was created to invest in Africa’s most valuable resource – its talented youth. Africa’s entrepreneurs are honest, hardworking and enterprising. The Foundation has committed $100m to empower 10,000 start-ups over a period of ten years.

Through this commitment, we are building economic hope for young Africans as we empower them to achieve their goals. We support entrepreneurs not because we have a lot of money, but because we believe in creating impact and leaving behind a legacy. I invited French small and large businesses to join us to fund, and mentor this new generation of African entrepreneurs by forging partnerships with them. It is true that France has been a long-term ally of Africa, but it is time to deepen this friendship.

Earlier in the year, the French President led a delegation of 50 French business leaders to Nigeria. Shortly after that, I was invited by the French Senate to speak at the Senate House about business investment opportunities in Nigeria. While these events are commendable, today I charged the French government to actively support MEDEF and similar institutions that broaden the scope of trade and economic relations between Africa and France, and identify ways for the French business community to support African entrepreneurs.

In my closing remarks, I advised government officials and policymakers, as well as small business owners all over the world:

Advice for government: Government needs to realize that what is good for private sector is good for society. Private sector is well placed to assist government achieve its mandate. If private sector succeeds, it helps government to create more jobs, enhance security, and improve living standards. A hopeful, employed, and fully engaged citizenry reduces the threat of insecurity, just as general standard of living improves with fuller employment. Unfortunately, it’s taking government a long time to understand this.

The Sustainable Development Goals now recognize the role of the private sector in accomplishing its developmental objectives. Policymakers must strive to create an enabling environment that allows entrepreneurs to succeed. Their success is government’s success.

Advice for entrepreneurs: Dream dreams; dream big, and work seriously to make your dreams happen. You need a combination of discipline, hard work and sacrifice. The journey of entrepreneurship is a long term one whose path is not linear. You will encounter difficulties but you must remain focused; your consistency will help you in the long run to succeed.

At Heirs Holdings, our core values “HEIRS” testify to this advice: Hard work, Emotional Intelligence, Integrity, Resilience and Synergy. In business, especially as entrepreneurs, you must be extremely resilient to succeed.

The world economy is going through difficult times, but continue to think big, do not be constrained by today’s challenges. When you encounter short term difficulties, stay on.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Latest news

JONAPWD-LAGOS Commends Sanwo-Olu For Restoring Disability Empowerment Fund

Kenneth Afor |  The Joint National Association of Persons Living With Dissabilities (JONAPWD ) in Lagos state has commanded Babajide...

Groups Call On Judicial Panels Of Inquiry To Dispense Justice On Victims, Survivors Of Police Brutality

Kenneth Afor | The Network on Police Reform in Nigeria (NOPRIN) and Centre for Law Enforcement Education (CLEEN Foundation) has...

COVID-19 Second Wave: FG Urged To Ban Flights From Britain, Others

By Ijeoma Ukazu | With some countries currently experiencing the spread of the new COVID-19 variant, the Health Writers’ Association...

“I am not distracted by calls for 2023 presidential race” — Yahaya Bello

Kogi state Governor Yahaya Bello has said calls for him to contest in the forthcoming 2023 presidential election is...

AfDB Provides $25m To Boost Low-Carbon Energy Generation

The African Development Bank’s Board of Directors on Monday, December 14, 2020 approved $15 million from the Sustainable Energy...

Civil Defence Receives COVID-19 Testing Equipment

The Commandant General, Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps, Abdulahi Gana Mohammadu on Friday in his office received Covid...

Must read

JONAPWD-LAGOS Commends Sanwo-Olu For Restoring Disability Empowerment Fund

Kenneth Afor |  The Joint National Association of Persons Living...
- Advertisement -

You might also likeRELATED
Recommended to you

%d bloggers like this: