At the Tony Elumelu Foundation (TEF) and United Nations Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) Generation Unlimited (GENU) Breakfast Roundtable meeting held during the 78th United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) in New York, President Bola Tinubu challenged Africans, including political and business leaders, to shift their focus inwards and reduce their reliance on international donor funds.
President Tinubu’s call came as part of the ongoing discussions at the UN General Assembly, where he emphasized the importance of seeking local solutions for economic growth and employment while encouraging incentives for investors.
The president noted that Africa needs to take more proactive steps to support its own development and that Africans should look to one another for solutions rather than relying on international organizations for donor funding.
“I don’t think we are doing enough as Africans for Africa. We need to do a lot more. Tony Elumelu has been the major person driving investments in supporting the youths and startups,” President Tinubu stated.
“We need to challenge ourselves a bit more further. Africa has some of the richest people on the planet. We have a resource-rich continent with a huge population of young people.
“We need to take up the challenge upon ourselves as Africans to support one another. It is about time we stopped looking for international organizations for donor funding. We need to get out of that mentality.
“We will rather have donor funds coming in to support what we have on ground already and not then coming to give us a seed or showing us the way.
He went on to highlight the wealth of Africa, both in terms of resources and its young population. President Tinubu expressed the need for African leaders and successful individuals on the continent to support one another and invest in local initiatives.
“We actually know how to do things. In Africa, we have a rich culture, and if we go back to our tradition, there is a whole lot we can learn from each other,” President Tinubu asserted.
The president’s call for self-reliance and investment in Africa’s future aligns with efforts to promote economic growth and sustainability across the continent. He commended Tony Elumelu for his dedication to supporting young people and startups in Africa.
“We must invest in SMEs. Governments and the private sector have important roles to play in this regard. Our investing must be coordinated, targeted, and generous. This is where the example of the Tony Elumelu Foundation is a worthy role model for all.
“We must create and expand pathways for our SMEs to export their products and services and integrate into global value chains.”
Furthermore, Tony Elumelu, the Chairman of the United Bank for Africa Plc, issued a call to action during a panel discussion at the Clinton Global Initiative 2023 meeting, which was also part of the UNGA side events. Elumelu urged individuals of African descent and global leaders to actively participate in shaping Africa’s development.
The TEF and UNICEF event also served as a platform for the launch of the Foundation’s Impact Report titled “The Tony Elumelu Foundation Entrepreneurship Programme: A Decade of Impact.”
In conclusion, President Tinubu’s call for an inward focus and self-reliance, as well as Tony Elumelu’s commitment to supporting entrepreneurship and development in Africa, highlight the growing efforts to drive economic growth and empowerment across the continent.