Experts tip entrepreneurship as tool
To boost the nation’s economy and stem the growing trend of youth unemployment in Nigeria and Africa at large, business experts have listed entrepreneurship and job creation as the only solution.
According to the experts, the drive to grow the entrepreneurial base of Nigeria and the African continent is not a job that should be left for governments and big corporations alone, as it can only be achieved through partnerships and collaborations.
The experts said with partnerships among governments, organisations, groups, and individuals, African youths would benefit from new opportunities by leveraging the modern philanthropy model.
Specifically, the Chief Executive Officer, Tony Elumelu Foundation (TEF), Ifeyinwa Ugochukwu, said the African continent has over 200 million youths who are either unemployed or inactive, saying this indicates that by 2025, an addition of 150 million youths would move into the continent’s workforce.
Speaking at a media parley held Thursday, in Lagos, to announce the partnership between the U.S. Consulate, Lagos, and TEF, Ugochukwu, said if everyone joined hands together, the right opportunities that are needed by Africans, specifically Nigerian youths, would be created.
She said the essence of the partnership, is to leverage the novel philanthropy model pioneered by TEF, which is a $100 million commitment to identify, train, mentor, and fund 10,000 African entrepreneurs over a period of 10 years, across the 54 African countries.
Her words: “With this, we intend to generate an additional $10 billion in revenue over the period, and create one million jobs. We are five years into the programme, and we have so far successfully produced 7,531 entrepreneurs across all 54 African countries, and about 50 per cent of them are in Nigeria.
“Our partnership is based on the African citizen’s concept, which is the economic philosophy that states that Africa’s development lies squarely in the hands of Africa’s private sector, and the heart of every private sector is the small and medium enterprises.”
In her remarks, U.S. Consul General, Claire Pierangelo, said the collaboration shows the mutual commitment, to promote entrepreneurship as the key driver of job growth, economic prosperity, and political stability in Nigeria,
She said through the partnership, the Consulate has selected 20 startups with priorities placed on sectors like energy, technology, transportation, agriculture, and health, and has made available a public diplomacy grant of $105,000, to support the training of 20 entrepreneurs from southern Nigeria under the 2019 TEF Entrepreneurship Programme.
Pierangelo said the programme will give the beneficiaries insight to innovative U.S. business models that will help them manage their businesses, market their products or services, seek capital, and develop partnerships.
She explained: “U.S. Mission is interested in supporting Nigerian entrepreneurs. This is because one of its primary goals is to support Nigeria’s economic development, and entrepreneurship is a key driver of economic growth and success.
“Through worldwide and regional programmes such as the Global Entrepreneurship Summit, Academy for Women Entrepreneurs, Africa Women Entrepreneurship Programme, locally-focused Conference for Emerging Entrepreneurs among others, the U.S. Government has demonstrated a sincere commitment to Nigeria’s economic development, through the power of entrepreneurship.
“Our partnership with TEF promotes our ongoing efforts to advance entrepreneurship in Nigeria and is yet another example of our long-standing commitment to supporting Nigeria as it strives to diversify its economy.”
Photo: Chief Executive Officer, Tony Elumelu Foundation (TEF), Ifeyinwa Ugochukwu
Written by Victor Uzoho, Guardian Newspapers