African entrepreneurs across the world have been called upon to take the destiny of the continent into their hands. The plea was made in Lagos, Nigeria, Thursday October 25, 2018, during the 4th annual Tony Elumelu Foundation (TEF) Entrepreneurship Forum.
Speaking to some 1,250 African entrepreneurs, including 38 Cameroonians, who are part of the fourth cohort of the TEF Entrepreneurship Programme, Uhuru Kenyatta, President of Kenya urged the young people to be patient and do productive work. “Turn challenges in opportunities,” Uhuru implored the entrepreneurs.
Describing the entrepreneurs as development-hungry young people who are “borderless”, the President of Kenya urged them not to be pessimistic nor cynical. He also called on sister governments on the continent to review their respective school curricula and tilt them towards job creation.
For his part, Nana Akufo-Addo, President of Ghana told the entrepreneurs to exploit all their potentials and put it at the service of the continent for its development. “We live in the richest continent in the world, yet we are the poorest,”
Nana Akufo-Addo bemoaned. Both Presidents were interacting with the entrepreneurs following TEF’s commitment – most recently with President Macron of France – of bringing politicians face to face with the new generation of young business women and men shaping Africa. TEF Founder, Tony O. Elumelu said “African’s transformation cannot occur without the support of political leaders.”
Statistics from TEF show that this year,151,692 entrepreneurs manifested their interest in the programme from 54 African countries and 59 non-African countries. Of the 1,000 entrepreneurs retained for the fourth edition of the programme, 353 are women; representing 35 per cent in relative terms. More of the entrepreneurs are into agriculture, ICT, education and training, manufacturing, commercial/retail and healthcare. Their businesses are at the conception, testing, market entry and growth stages.
This year, an additional 250 entrepreneurs were co-opted into the programme thanks to the support of the International Committee of the Red Cross, the United Nations Development Programme and Indorama. It should be noted that the TEF Entrepreneurship Programme is one of the most ambitious entrepreneurship programmes worldwide. A flagship programme of TEF, it is a ten-year long $100 million (about FCFA 57 billion) commitment to identify, train, mentor, and fund 10,000 entrepreneurs.