“We Must Power Africa Out of Poverty,” Tony Elumelu Says at the World Government Summit 2021

On Tuesday March 9, Founder of the Tony Elumelu Foundation, Tony O. Elumelu, joined CNN anchor, Eleni Giokos, in a fireside chat at the 2021 World Government Summit (WGS21), an annual event held in Dubai, United Arab Emirates bringing together leaders in government for a global dialogue about governmental process and policies.

At the event which was hosted by H.E. Sheikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Prime Minister of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), and themed “Africa’s Future Post 2021”, Mr Tonydiscussed the changes that have swept across Africa as it relates to the economy, geopolitics and governance post-pandemic, and what the future holds for the continent.

Here are some resonating quotes from the event:

  • We didn’t prepare for the pandemic, but it is all about nimbleness agility and swiftness to adaptation.
  • We need to have inbuilt nimbleness in what we do so that we can swiftly react to changes.
  • It is no longer about being locked down, it is about living with this pandemic.
  • Entrepreneurship, Support for small and medium scale enterprises in my viewpoint is one of the ways we can address poverty in a fundamental way.
  • In Africa, there is a limit to what can be done to transform the economy if we do not invest in electricity–if we do not improve access to electricity.
  • Without access to electricity, we cannot digitise our local economy and communities, and this is where most of our people dwell and live in, and also this is significant in terms of the informal sector that drives the African economy.
  • We must power Africa out of poverty.
  • The pandemic presents an opportunity for us to rethink, reset, and reprioritise in Africa.
  • Access to electricity in Africa is at the centre of the fight for poverty alleviation.
  • We need to think long term. We need to think of what will help us deal with the future pandemics that will inevitably occur.
  • Power cannot be fixed in isolation. So to us, the $1.1 billion investment we made in January, is to help further achieve our vision for a prosperous Africa, built on solid access to electricity for everyone.
  • Africa, at a time like this, needs massive investment in infrastructure, power, in particular, to help correct the poverty level we see.
  • For us, as business leaders in Africa, we show confidence in our continent by investing on the continent, attracting investors to the continent and help through this process to create jobs.
  • Wealth for one person in the family does not give security. What gives security is to see that we democratise prosperity around us as much as possible.
  • We need a new Marshall plan for Africa. This, for me, should be in the area of improving access to electricity. Once that is done to a large extent, every other thing falls in place.
  • What I encourage other investors to do is to think long-term in Africa. There’s nowhere else you get the kind of returns on investments as you get in Africa.
  • People see risks, we see opportunities. We go for opportunities and see how to mitigate the risks.
  • Most times businesses start off well, but poor management leads to early failure.
  • Through the Tony Elumelu Foundation, we try to role model and create to see how, through entrepreneurship and support for teeming young Africans, we can help to alleviate poverty. This is the kind of intervention, especially at a time like this, we need in Africa to give hope to young Africans.

The Tony Elumelu Foundation is currently accepting applications to the 2021 Tony Elumelu Foundation Entrepreneurship Programme. All young African men and women with brilliant business ideas or start-ups are invited to apply on tefconnect.com

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