As part of efforts to establish a research partnership which would examine the entrepreneurship ecosystem in West Africa, Tony Elumelu Foundation (TEF) has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the French development bank, Agence Française de Développement (AFD).
The agreement was signed following an interactive session between TEF entrepreneurs and the French president, Emmanuel Macron in Lagos recently. The MoU which has a special focus on Francophone countries would guarantee a risk-sharing framework and access to high-level mentors for TEF entrepreneurs.
During the interactive session held with the over 2000 young entrepreneurs, the French president advised on how African entrepreneurs can grow their businesses, reach European markets, amidst rising nationalism and emerging trade wars. “To young African entrepreneurs: never listen to people who are telling you to wait. If you believe in your projects: just do it. Our role is to help the new generation to seize opportunities and rise to the challenge. This is what underpins a new, balanced relationship”, he said.
Macron who advocated a new partnership, urged African entrepreneurs to create a business ecosystem which leverages Africa’s vibrant private sector. According to him, Africa’s future was and should be in Africa’s hands. In his remarks, TEF Founder and chairman of Heirs Holdings and United Bank for Africa, Tony O. Elumelu acknowledged the importance of the occasion for African entrepreneurship.
According to him, the French president recognises the critical importance of African entrepreneurs to sustainable economic development on the continent – he knows the African narrative is changing and will change. His voice is refreshing and welcome. “We want France and the rest of the world to realise that Africa is a continent of opportunities.”