French President Emmanuel Macron, has highlight the importance of the private sector and urged the creation of a business ecosystem that leverages Africa's vibrant private sector, saying that Africa's future was and should be in Africa's hands.
President Macron was on Wednesday, July 4th speaking in Lagos Nigeria, during an interactive session with over two thousand (2,000) alumni of the Tony Elumelu Foundation, where he offered a bold and new vision of France's relationship with Africa,
The young president passionately advocated a new partnership, prioritizing the role of entrepreneurship in driving Africa's renaissance, highlighting the importance of the private sector and urging the creation of a business ecosystem that leverages Africa's vibrant private sector.
Mr Macron spoke at a vibrant, no-holds barred interactive session, in front of 2,000 alumni of the Tony Elumelu Foundation, who sought advice from him on how to grow their businesses, reach European markets, amidst rising nationalism and an emerging trade wars and the secrets of his political success.
"To young African entrepreneurs in Africa never listen to people who are telling you to wait. If you believe in your projects just go ahead and do it," he admonished young African entrepreneurs.
Moderating the interactive session, the Founder and Chairman of Heirs Holdings and United Bank for Africa, Tony O. Elumelu, CON opined by acknowledging the importance of the occasion for African entrepreneurship and said the French President recognises the critical importance of African entrepreneurs to sustainable economic development on the continent and he knows the African narrative is changing and will change.
He said they at TEF want France and the rest of the world to realise that Africa is a continent of opportunities.
However the interactive session was well organized as the French President and Tony Elumelu stood side-by-side, surrounded by emerging and established business men and women from across Africa, during an exciting and at times charged session.
Tony Elumelu sought questions from the audience, while President Macron answered on a range of issues from African migration, to African to French and European markets, the role of Economic Community for West African States (ECOWAS) and regional integration.
However, in conclusion of the interactive session, the Tony Elumelu Foundation signed an agreement with the Agence Française de Développement (AFD), the French development bank.
The agreement established a research partnership to examine the entrepreneurship ecosystem in West Africa, with a special focus on francophone countries, a risk-sharing guarantee framework and access to high-level mentors for TEF entrepreneurs.
It could be recalled that in 2010 one of Africa leading philanthropists Nigerian Tony O. Elumelu, established his Tony Elumelu Foundation (TEF) that is leading philanthropy in Africa championing entrepreneurship and entrepreneurs across the continent.
The Foundation's long-term investment in empowering African entrepreneurs is emblematic of Tony Elumelu's philosophy of Africapitalism, which positions Africa's private sector, and most importantly entrepreneurs, as the catalyst for the social and economic development of the continent.
The Foundation's flagship initiative, the TEF Entrepreneurship Programme, is a 10-year, $100 million commitment to identify, train mentor and fund 10,000 entrepreneurs, capable of changing the face of business across Africa.