By Stephen Ubanna
For the past nine years, The Tony Elumelu Foundation, founded by Elumelu, who is incidentally the Chairman of the United Bank For Africa, UBA, plc, has taken the challenge of promoting African Entrepreneurs. With a Commitment of $100 million, equivalent of N36 billion , going by the current exchange rate of N360.00 to a dollar.
The Foundation was said to have produced 9, 631 African Entrepreneurs. There are indications that the 10,000 African Entrepreneurs targeted by the Foundation spread in in ten years of 1,000 each would be outstripped with the selection of new set of applicants to benefit from its seed Capital this 2020, being the last year of selecting African Entrepreneurs by the Foundation.
Given that Elumelu, who is an Enterprising business mogul associated with both a Foundation, ,involved in promoting African Entrepreneurs in order to reduce the level of unemployment in the 54 countries that make up the African Continent and a banking business, that had grown into a conlmerate , he has was said to have moved a step further to sustain the tempo of the development by facilitating the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding , MoU, between UBA, a pan African Bank, and the United States Agency for International Development, USAID.
Note that USAID is the world’s premier international development agency and a catalytic actor primarily responsible for administering foreign aid and development assistance . Many believe that it was a wise move By the UBA Authorities to have entered into a working relationship with an established development agency which according sources has a yearly budget of about $30 billion for foreign assistance. The agency m may have been looking credible sources to channel funds into African development instead of giving it out as aid to African countries that will be corruptly utilised without serving its purpose. It was therefore not surprising that when UBA, which had been involved in African development came into the scene to Collaborate with it to jump-start the development of African, it did not hesitate in jumping at the deal.
The MoU, according to sources, may have provided the agency, through the Prosper Africa initiative to increase the two-way trade and investment between the United States and African countries. Business analysts are optimistic that the partnership of the bank and the development organisation will go a long way to ensure that trading and investment relationships between the two countries are equipped with the necessary technical and financial tools.
The bank sources informed The Value News that the US International Development agency will provide the technical assistance and advisory services to prospective businesses through its Trade and Investment Hubs. The Development agency, the source said will connect the UBA with African Diaspora business groups working in different states of the North American country.
The good news was that the MoU will give the pan African bank , which is the only Sub-Saharan Financial Institution that had been licensed to operate in the United States , the opportunity to ‘’access its reach and extend financing to the American Companies looking to do business with American and African nations.
Donald Trump , the US President , may have thrown his weight behind the USAID and UBA, working relationship in order to enhance the country’s trade and business relationship with African nations as a way of launching the country back to the African Continent. The African Continent had been taken over by the Asian country of China which was telling on the American economy. The key remarks made by Representatives of the US government , US and African private sector, speaks volume. The recent Tunisia Prosper Africa Conference organised by the US. Embassy in Tunis, the North African country’s Capital may have facilitated the signing of the agreement.
Insiders believe that the Collaboration between the Nigerian bank and the United States International development agency, will strengthen the American economy , grow African economies and create jobs on both sides of the Atlantic. Many American Companies which had lost the African market are alreading warming up to take their pride of place in the African economy, no thanks to UBA.