By Stephen Ubanna
For months, members of the Organising Committee of the United Bank For Africa, UBA, and Tony Elumelu Foundation, TEF, Market place forum, tagged Entrepreneurial Forum, have occupied themselves fashioning out the modalities for the world class event ,regarded as the largest gathering of entrepreneurs , policy makers and business leaders in the African Continent .
At long last the event kick-started on Friday , July 26, 2019 , with pomps and pageantry at Abuja. The Bank and Tony Elumelu, the founder of TEF and incidentally the Chairman of TEF, had successfully hosted the event which had attracted leading entrepreneurs , police makers and leading business men Africa. It was therefore not very surprising why there was intense rush by Entrepreneurs both within and outside Africa to book a space at the Hilton Hotel Premises to exhibit their products and make new business deals.
Being the fifth consecutive year that UBA, with the support of Elumelu, the founder of TEF, and the Chairman of the Bank, were said to organized such a world Class event, lots of resources and time may have been put to it that it attracted a large turn- out of visitors beating the 20,00 targeted by the Organising Committee.
Mary Ukachukwu, who shuttles within the Cote d’ Ivoire corridor which includes Nigeria for his business transactions and who was at the fair ground confirmed that there were lots of vendor/exhibitors with a wide range of products which visitors were made to choose from. Ms. Uka chukwu , who disclosed that it was her first time of participating at the fair confessed that it was truly a ‘’world Class event ‘’, going by the orderliness and tight security provided at the fair ground. She gave kudos to the UBA Chairman for taking the lead to open up the Nigeria market to the international Community, urging President Muhammadu Buhari to throw his weight behind the UBA Market place fair as it would go a long way in assisting the government its policy formulations.
The UBA Market place Organising Committee,,may have planned th event in such a way that adequate provisions for entertainment , fashion shows, fun, Comedy , relaxation centers for visitors made. Visitors were said to have had the opportunity of meeting with some of their favorite artists and celebrities like the Africa’s star boy wizkid. It was not surprising why the direction ofKennedy Uzoka, the Bank Managing Director, who sat closely with the African star boy in a fireside was a cynosure of guests.
The presence of Mofe Damijo, a top Nollywood Star and Cynthia Nasardine , Cote d’Ivoire top movie producer and director , at the UBA market place event may have attracted a lot of people to the fair ground when information filtered out they were at they were participants at the event.
Many investors may have seen it as opportunity to discus business deals with the film producers. The Value News learnt that going by the opportunity provided by UBA and TEF, in the areas of film making, entrepreneurs from the African Continent, can now benefit from the enterprise which over the years had been dominated by foreigners. The interactive sessions may have provided opportunity for knowledge sharing between investors and Nigeria’s most talented music and film producers.
An elated Uzoka, who was encouraged by the large out of guests at the Fir ground gave reasons why the BANK had been at forefront of entreneurship development across the Continent by undertaking many procts and at contributing to and supporting Africa’s growth and economic integration. He disclosed that the birth of the UBA market place and the entrepreneurial fair was a ‘’testament to its commitment to African’s Small and Medium Scale industries.’’
He is optimistic that the fair, the Bank would be able to touch the base with the small business owners and to continue to positive affect the lives of entrepreneurs doing business in their respective countries within the continent.
As at Thursday , it was confirmed that Yemi Osibanjo the country’Vice President, Aisha Buhari, the First Lady, Tedros Ghe-breyesus, Director General , World Health Organisation and Akinwumi Adesina, a former minister of Agriculture and Rural Development and now President African Development Bank including Elumelu, the Chairman of UBA, have given their words to speaker at the two-day event. True to their promise , they kept to their words. The panel sessions in which Elumelu, Adesina, the ADB , Ghe-bretesus and the first lady , were said to have presented lead papers may have provided opportunity for investors on’’ how to build a sustainable business’’.