By Nwangwu Uba
Last week was another International business exploit for officials of Tony Elumelu Foundation as it hosted leading Development, Investment and Financial Institutions in the European Union, EU, in Brussels, Capital of Belgium. Note that Belgium colonised Belgium Congo now Zaire, during the colonial era. It was a major International outing of the Foundation led by by Tony Elumelu , whoo incidentally is the Chairman of the United Bank For Africa, UBA.
Many believe that at a time the relations between the EU and Africa are not getting strong, , Elumelu had taken his vision to Brussels , Belgium, where he had gathered stakeholders in the leading Development , Investment and Finance Institutions to brainstorm on the development agenda for Africa. Recall that the European Union, EU, had set a development agenda for Africa which it had started delivering on its 2017 external Investment plan, targeted at attracting investment and job creation in Africa.
The Elumelu Foundation may have warmed itself into the heart of the stakeholders in the EU. to partner with the Foundation in channeling its investment and development funds for Africa through the Foundation because of its track record over the years
. Financial experts told The Value News that the ”convening of the high profile stakeholders meeting in Brussels may have convinced the European stakeholders that ”Africa also has solutions to its investment and development woes through the Foundation’s unique approach to to support entrepreneurship in scale across the Continent.
Given an insider information of the first five years of the Foundation ‘s implementation of its entrepreneurshi p programme, , Elumelu disclosed that ”it had trained, mentored and seeded 4,470 African entrepreneurs with 3,050, recently announced to receive seed funding and drawn over two million Applications to its 2019 cycle.
The Value News learnt that the EU key Investment and development players may have hailed the $100 million Investment in entrepreneural philanthropy as an example of ”how vital Capital should be targeted efficiently and effectively at African businesses to create the needed significant and developmental impact in the Continent.
Appreciative of the good record that had been set by the Elumelu Foundation, Koen Doens, Deputy Director General, DEVCO, EU, averred that ”Africa needs to create jobs by the millions to match the needs of its growing population. Doen , disclosed that the Elumelu Foundation has succeeded in filling the vacuum through the massive creation of jobs. He posits that the EU will take a cue from the Foundation efforts to ”lay its part and contribute to job creation in the African Continent.
The mere thought of showing interest in African development may have informed the reason why Elumelu told the Participants that the Foundation welcomes international Collaboration to further enhance the development of Africa. ”We very much believe in Collaboration . mutual respect and a shared Commitment to transform African Continent”., he ad said.
He assured them that the Continent is truly ready for development but suggested that the funds for such development should be channeled through the right sustainable partner, which would encourage the people to be self reliant and independent , instead of perpetuating dependency .
Recall that President Donald Trump of the United States had recently lashed at African leaders who collect developmental grants from the industrialised Nations only for them to stash it away in European and American Banks only to come back to seek for foreign loans from such banks.
This is why the EU Investment and Development Finance stakeholders who have cued into the vision of the Foundation must be serious if they actually want to make an appreciable impact in the Continent. ”We need to implement practical solutions on ground through entrepreneurship , which empower people economically and addresses issues of extremism , migration and insecurity”., Elumeluhad said.
Phillipe de Backer , Belgium minister for Digital Agenda, Telecommunications and Post, corroborated what Elumelu when he said that ,”there is an increasing desire in Europe to engage Africa , ,including the grassroots in a structure and targeted approach with the right processes”, noting that the Elumelu Foundation offers the platform for it.