The Chairman of United Bank for Africa Plc has urged the government of Japan to invest five per cent of its $50bn commitment to Africa in empowering African entrepreneurs.
Elumelu spoke at the 7th Tokyo International Conference on African Development in Yokohama, Japan, according to a statement recently.
He said, “At TICAD 2016 in Kenya, Japan pledged $30bn for Africa. This year, you have generously increased this to $50bn. If we invested just five per cent in Africa’s new generation of entrepreneurs, following my foundation’s robust, proven model of getting capital directly to those best placed to catalyse growth and create real impact, we could touch 500,000 lives across the 54 African countries.”
He said it would help to broaden markets, facilitate job creation, improve income per capita, and lay the key foundation for political and economic stability.
According to the statement, the three key pillars of a bold and transformative structure are investment in infrastructure, partnership with the African private sector, and investment in Africa’s youth.
Elumelu urged Japan to learn from the example of the Tony Elumelu Foundation, which champions empowering African entrepreneurs as the most sustainable means of accelerating the development of Africa.
According to the statement, the foundation, in just five years, has assisted over 7,500 African entrepreneurs across every African country with seed capital, capacity building, mentorship and networking opportunities through its $100m entrepreneurship programme.
“Africa is one of the world’s viable destinations for investment. Our huge population of nearly 1.3 billion people creates one of the most attractive markets anywhere in the world. The world is paying close attention to Africa. But is Japan at the centre of this conversation or is it on the sidelines?” he said.
The President of South Africa and Co-Chair, TICAD, Mr Cyril Ramaphosa, was quoted as saying, “If you want really good returns, as Mr Tony Elumelu said, come to Africa. Africa presents risk-adjusted returns and is a market in which investments are flowing at $100bn – that is the new profile of Africa that is being presented to the world.”