The Tony Elumelu Foundation in Lagos, Nigeria, has announced an agreement with the French development bank, Agence Française de Développement (AFD), in support of efforts to advance entrepreneurship in West Africa.
Signed by French President Emmanuel Macron and Tony O. Elumelu, chair of Heirs Holdings and United Bank of Africa, during an event for the foundation's entrepreneurship program, the €1 billion agreement establishes a research partnership that will examine the entrepreneurship ecosystem in West Africa, with a special focus on francophone countries; a risk-sharing guarantee framework for new loans to TEF entrepreneurs; and access to high-level mentors for young entrepreneurs.
Launched in 2015, the TEF Entrepreneurship Programme is a ten-year, $100 million initiative that is working to identify, train, mentor, and fund ten thousand entrepreneurs by 2024, with the goal of creating a million jobs across the continent. Announced during a session with two thousand alumni of the Digital Africa Initiative, the program is aimed at creating a pool of entrepreneurial talent, sharing information, and securing the participation of French, African, and European businesses in the continent's emerging entrepreneurial narrative.
"To young African entrepreneurs: never listen to people who are telling you to wait," said Macron. "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."
(Photo credit: Tony Elumelu Foundation)