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Elumelu Challenges Japan – “Partner with us in Empowering African Entrepreneurs”

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Achim Steiner, UNDP Administrator Praises Tony Elumelu’s Private-Sector Led Approach to African Development; President of South Africa, H.E. Cyril Ramaphosa: “If you want really good returns, as Tony Elumelu said, come to Africa”; Elumelu Champions Job Creation in Africa at Breakfast Meeting with President of Rwanda and UNICEF Executive Director.

In an impassioned keynote speech, delivered before global leaders, at the 7th Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD) in Yokohama, Japan, African investor and philanthropist Tony Elumelu challenged the Government of Japan to invest 5% of its $50billion commitment to Africa, in empowering African entrepreneurs.

“At TICAD 2016 in Kenya, Japan pledged $30billion for Africa. This year you have generously increased this to $50 billion. If we invested just 5% 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, broadening markets, facilitating job creation, improving income per capita, and laying the key foundation for political and economic stability”, said Mr. Elumelu.

Mr. Elumelu’s statement captured his vision of a relationship between Japan and Africa, which prioritises economic and shared prosperity. He outlined the three key pillars of a bold and transformative structure: investment in infrastructure, partnership with the African private sector, and investment in Africa’s youth.

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He 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. The Tony Elumelu 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 $100 million Entrepreneurship Programme.

Elumelu’s advice carried the weight of his track record of business success, founding Africa’s global bank, United Bank for Africa (UBA), which has grown its presence to 20 African countries, as well as in the United Kingdom, France, and the USA; and Heirs Holdings, Africa’s private investment company which actively invests in key sectors of Africa’s economy and controls millions of dollars in its investment portfolio. Together, they employ over 30,000 people and transform the communities they operate in.

“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 queried.

Mr. Elumelu’s philosophy has become increasingly popular on the African continent, where he is acknowledged as the pioneer of a private-sector-led approach to accelerating development. He repeated the message at the Generation Unlimited breakfast meeting with H.E. Paul Kagame, President of Rwanda and UNICEF Executive Director, Henrietta Fore, with its focus on job creation in Africa, where he emphasised the role the African youth plays in this narrative.

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President of South Africa and Co-Chair, TICAD, H.E. Cyril Ramaphosa corroborated Mr. Elumelu’s stance. He said: “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 a hundred billion dollars – that is the new profile of Africa that is being presented to the world.”

Achim Steiner, UNDP Administrator praised Tony Elumelu’s Private-Sector led approach to development in Africa. He said: “I want to refer to my dear friend and colleague Tony Elumelu because he alluded to the vital role that business can also play in investing in the future of the youth. These are the kinds of partnerships that will drive business and development agenda to very different heights in the future”.

Speaking on the potential of the African continent, Prime Minister Shinzō Abe of Japan said: “In Africa, some countries have joined top nations in the ranking on the ease of doing business. The scale of the market continues to expand. We can envision a day when the entire continent of Africa becomes an enormous economic zone.”

Organised by the Japanese Government, TICAD is a three-yearly forum for advancing Africa’s development through people, technology, and innovation, bringing together government, business leaders, companies and other stakeholders. The event hosted Presidents and private sector leaders including Prime Minister Shinzō Abe of Japan; H.E. Mr. Muhammadu Buhari, President of Nigeria; H.E. Mr. Abdel-’ El-Sisi, President of Egypt and Chair of the African Union (AU); H.E. Mr. Cyril Ramaphosa, President of South Africa; and H.E. Mr. Paul Kagame, President of Rwanda and a host of other African Presidents.

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Naira strengthens against dollar

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Barely 24 hours, the Naira was forced to a downward trajectory by dollar scarcity, it bounced back, closing at N477 to a dollar at the parallel market in Lagos.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the Pound Sterling and the Euro traded at N608 and N550, respectively.

The Naira, however, weakened marginally at the investor’s window, losing one point to close at N386 to a dollar.

The volume of trade at the window shrunk by 1.83 million dollars when compared to Tuesday, to close at 18.44 million dollars

The Nigerian currency exchanged at N381 to a dollar at the official CBN window.

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Oyo govt. will continue to support SMEs, Olaniyan assures

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The Deputy Governor of Oyo state,  Engr. Raufu Olaniyan has reassured the state’s government commitment to supporting Small and Medium Scale Enterprises in the state,

The deputy governor gave the assurance at the Commissioning of a new shopping mall ATM located in the Oke Ado area of Ibadan.

Olaniyan noted that small scale businesses with adequate support have the potential to be a major employer of labour.

He reiterated the state’s government desire to support entrepreneurs who chose to do business in the state, stressing that the present administration has put necessary machinery in place to make doing business in Oyo state stress free.

Alhaja Adeogun Tunrayo Muslimat,  owner of ATM mall had earlier informed that her desire to set up business in the state aside profit was also borne out of her avidity to support the government in the area of job creation, and also boost the economy of her home state.

 

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AfDB urges central banks to cut interest rates

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The African Development Bank (AfDB) has urged central banks on the continent to act quickly by cutting interest rates to inject liquidity in view of impact of COVID-19 pandemic.

The AfDB , in its African Economic Outlook 2020 supplement amid coronavirus pandemic released on Tuesday gave the advice.

According to the bank, the targeted interventions should be implemented for affected firms and sectors and use macroprudential and unconventional monetary policy to support the economy.

It added that central banks could resort to their own forms of quantitative easing, targeted at funding the most affected sectors such as firms in the hospitality and entertainment industry.

The bank noted that other sectors to be assisted are airlines, hotel chains, logistics and sports by temporarily reprofiling or restructuring their debts.

AfDB emphasised that the apex banks could also support vulnerable groups by designing programmes targeted at micro enterprises and the unbanked in the informal sector, financed by government and potentially run by other agencies closer to the ground.

“The impact of COVID–19 on Africa’s labour markets will have disproportionate impacts on vulnerable groups, notably youth and women, who are engaged in the informal sector, or with only casual job opportunities in the formal sector.

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“Assist vulnerable groups, especially youth and women. The COVID–19 pandemic can have differentiated socioeconomic impacts,” the AfDB said.

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