By Elizabeth Chukwuma
When President Muhammadu Buhari, left for the Tokyo International Conference on African Development , TCAD 7, with the government delegation including some private sector investors, not many expected Tony Elumelu, Chairman , United Bank for African, plc and founder of Tony Elumelu Foundation, to be there.
Unknown to them, the organisers of the TICAD7, had sent a personal invitation to him, insisting that he must be there because of his achievement in promoting investments in the African Continent. Elumelu, according to sources, did not hesistate in giving his words to attend to participate fully in the programme.
True to to his words, the BA, Chairman was said to have made all the travell arrangements for the Conference. The Bank sources said he would be accompanied by other officials from the Bank including Ifeanyinwa Ugochukwu, Chief Executive Officer, CEO, of the Foundation. It was learnt Dupe Olusola, Group Head, Marketing, who has a mark , in UBA, and Muyiwa Akinyemi , Group Head, Corporate Banking were also on the Elumelu team to Japan.
The’’ Conference’’ which was formed in 1993 have been convened alternately between Japan and Africa since TICAD6. Described as the largest Conference on African development, it was said to have attracted several Heads of States and Governments in Africa including b business moguls from the from the Continent.
Note that it is a Conference organised every three years , for advancing African Development through pepole , technology and innovation’’. Given the importance attached to the Conference because of its focus on African Transformation, improvements in business , environment and institutions through private sector investments and innovation, Elumelu, a Nigerian celebrated Investor, is expected to give a keynote at the official Business Forum that would be hosted by the Japan External Trade Organisation, JETRO.
The Conference , which provides a platform for key decision makers from Japan and Africa , both in business and politics , in order to be able to identify opportunities for investments and exchange knowledge was said to have made the appreciable impact on the African Continent. Already, Japan has pledged a $30 billion investment for the future of African .
Also, the Japanese government and the country’s private sector have agreed to spend additional $10 billion on infrastructural development in the Continent and $500 million for vocational training of 50,000 Africans. That much was contained in the keynote Address of Shinzo Abe, the Japanese Prime Minister.
This is where Elumelu, would have to show his is expertise in financial management by advising JETRO, on how to spend the fund to achieve the desire purpose in Africa. Note that UBA, which has been under the close watch of Elumelu , and the Foundation, have been at the forefront of innovation in the African continent over the last five years.
Described as the voice of the new generation of African Entrepreneurs , capable of transforming the Continent , Elumelu, who is expected to speak alongside with other global leaders and business moguls at the Conference which kikstarts on Wednesday, August 28,2019, and end on Friday, August 30, 2019. Among African leaders that had been grouped penciled down to speak alongside with Elumelu, at the plenary session include Cyril Ramaphosa, South Africa, and Chairman of African Union, UU. Abdel- Fattah Sisi, Egypt, Muhammadu Buhari, Nigeria and Paul Kagame, Rwanda.
It was learnt that that the Organisers of the TICAD7 had prepared the mind of the Nigerian born investor that he would deliver the keynote address at the plenary Public – Private sector business Dialogue , described as the core session, which is expected to bring together Japanese and African business leaders on a round table because of his wealth of experience.
Many believe that he would use the opportunity provided by the TCAD7 to espouse his Philosophy on African Capitalism which posits ‘’entrepreneurship as the key to unlocking economic transformation in Africa’’ . Business watchers believe he has used the opportunities provided by such international Conferences in the past to drum support for empowerment of young entrepreneurs and why the government must provide the enabling environment for the investors and their business to thrive. The situation may not be different in the ongoing TCAD7.
There are indications that the Nigerian investor, will join Kagame, the President of Rwanda to Co-Chair the Leadership Group of Generation unlimited and Henrieta Fore, UNICEF, Executive Director to Co-Chair UNICEF and AU, Breakfast meeting which would focuse on ‘’ catalyzing investment in African youths and developing a specific vision for job creation in Africa’’.
Those who knew Elemulu, says he never allows any opportunity to pass by him without making good use of it. He is expected to use the Breakfast meeting with the African leaders to extract a Commitment from them, for implementation of a ‘’business plan for digital productivity in Africa that would look more like the ELumelu Foundation ‘s TEF Connect, the largest digital network for African Entrepreneurs.
Thoe who are Conversant with the Elumelu Foundation Programme in the last five years revealed that 7,521 African Entrepreneurs had benefited from his personal commitment of 100 million seed funding , mentorship and training.Investigation shows that six of the beneficiaries of the funds had been sponsored at various times the to attend UNCTAD Conference organised by the UNDP.
It is not surprising why JETRO officials are looking to Elumelu to know he was able to build a behemoth out of UBA and turn his Foundation into a household name in Africa among young Entrepreneurs.
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