Africa: Elumelu - Africa's Devt Agenda Must Prioritise Job Creation, Others

20 November 2019

The founder, Tony Elumelu Foundation (TEF) and Chairman, United Bank for Africa Group (UBA), Mr. Tony Elumelu, has proposed job creation for the youth, inclusive growth, and gender diversity as priority areas for Africa's development agenda as well as to achieve peace and stability on the continent.

According to a statement, Elumelu, who is also the founder of Heirs Holdings, made the remark while speaking on a high-level panel with the President of Senegal, Macky Sall and the President of Mauritania, Mohamed Ould Ghazouani. Other speakers on the panel included Florence Parly, Defence Minister of France; and Pierre Buyoya former President of Burundi and representative of the African Union.

Elumelu, stressed the urgency in tackling poverty, which he described as the root cause of extremism in Africa.

"We know, and we say, that poverty anywhere is a threat to mankind everywhere. What manifests itself in what we call security breakdown or terrorism, or extremism is actually deeply rooted in poverty, in joblessness "So with due respect, we can have 101 seminars like this but unless and until we begin to address these issues of poverty, joblessness amongst our young ones, they will continue to allow themselves to be brainwashed by people who see no future, and they will continue to engage in extremism," he said.

He emphasised that while it was no doubt important to discuss weaponry, and other means to deal with insurgency, a lasting peace could only be attained in the long run by investing in our young people across Africa.

In his contribution, Sall acquiesced to the need for the public sector to collaborate with the private sector to tackle poverty on the continent.

He said: "Addressing the threats cannot be done on a standalone basis due to the fact that the challenges know no borders."

He called for more collaborative approach to alleviate violence and extremism to boost investments in Africa.

Continuing, Elumelu cited the impact of the Tony Elumelu Foundation's $100 million Entrepreneurship Programme as one of the practical ways the private sector in Africa can intervene to bring about peace and stability on the continent.

Speaking further, he referenced the partnership between the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the Tony Elumelu Foundation (TEF) to empower 100,000 young Africans in 10 years with a focus on the Sahel region for its first year.

Also mentioning TEF partnerships with other international development agencies such as GIZ and ICRC, Elumelu reiterated that, "only activities and interventions like this will help to bring economic hope to people in this part of the world and they will become less involved in extremism. We support these young ones and we are beginning to see how their successes are translated into better and more secure communities."

He pointed out that businesses cannot flourish where there is extremism and people are afraid for their lives.

"It will be even harder to attract the global private capital needed for large infrastructure projects and long-term investments which can help to fix our economy," he said.

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