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Elumelu Foundation: Entrepreneurs will lift Africa

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tony Elumelu Foundation

The Nigeria-based foundation pledges $100 million to train and mentor 1,000 entrepreneurs a year for 10 years with a goal of creating one million jobs.

One thousand young African entrepreneurs will receive intensive training, mentoring and networking opportunities as participants in the 2016 Tony Elumelu Entrepreneurship Program (TEEP).

The program, launched in 2015 by the Nigerian entrepreneur and philanthropist Tony Elumelu, is designed to identify 10,000 entrepreneurs over a 10-year period and empower them to launch ventures that will create one million jobs and add $10 billion to the African economy.

The Tony Elumelu Foundation has made a $100 million commitment to the program.

More than 45,000 entrepreneurs from 54 countries applied for the 2016 program, more than double the number of applicants in the first year. The successful 1,000 candidates represent a variety of fields including agriculture, information and computer technology and fashion.

Elumelu Fondation participants

Elumelu Fondation participants

All regions represented

All five regions of the continent are represented. The largest numbers of entrepreneurs came from Nigeria, Kenya, Ghana, Uganda and Cameroon.

(Here is a list of the entrepreneurs from each country and their areas of interest.)

Elumelu predicted the 2016 group of entrepreneurs “will become a generation of empowered business owners who will show that indigenous business growth will drive Africa’s economic and social transformation.”

He said his foundation has invested $8 million in the 2015 group, including $5 million that went directly the entrepreneurs as seed capital. “The results have far exceeded our expectations,” he added. With funding and networking, the program has “helped extraordinary people take control of their destinies.”

In addition to receiving training and networking for nine months, the entrepreneurs will participate later this year in the Elumelu Entrepreneurship Forum.

Elumelu is #31 on list of Africa’s richest

Elumelu is a Nigerian entrepreneur and investor who is listed as #31 on Forbes’ list of Africa’s 50 richest people. He owns the controlling interest in Transcorp, a Nigerian conglomerate with businesses in hospitality, agriculture, oil production and power generation. Forbes puts his net worth at $700 million.

Elumelu became prominent in African business circles nearly 20 years ago, when he persuaded investors to take over a small, failing commercial bank in Lagos and turned it around and made it profitable within a few years. It later merged with United Bank for Africa, which has subsidiaries in 20 countries as well as the United States and the United Kingdom.

According to his profile on Forbes, he also has a stake in the mobile telecom MTN Nigeria and owns extensive real estate across the country.

Entrepreneurs will drive growth

As many African nations work to diversify their economies and move from resource-based revenue to manufacturing and services, entrepreneurship is considered an important way to drive economic growth.

While the continent is already seeing returns, experts say entrepreneurship holds untapped potential to drive economic development to the next level.

A 2014 study ranked Uganda as the most entrepreneurial country in the world and listed Cameroon, Angola, Botswana and Burkina Faso among the top fifteen.

The study, by Global Entrepreneurship Monitor, counted the percentage of the adult population that owned a business and paid wages for at least three months. In Uganda, the percentage was 28 percent. (Suriname in South America was the least entrepreneurial in the world with less than one percent.)

African Development Bank pushes employment

Akinwumi Adesina, president of the African Development Bank, recently reaffirmed the lender’s commitment to entrepreneurship as it seeks to promote a sense of urgency about youth employment on the continent.

In Africa 10-12 million young people enter the workforce each year but only three million jobs are created annually. Even when there are jobs, young people often lack the skills employers required.

“We need a sense of urgency for tackling unemployment,” Adesina said, noting that the bank has created a strategy that could create 25 million jobs for young people on the continent. These programs focus on agriculture, manufacturing, and information and computer technology. The bank will also index youth employment and track the labor market over time.

“The skill sets and the jobs of the future are digital. The world is changing fast,” Adesina said.

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Growth in African wealth brings more philanthropy

Comments (0) Africa, Featured, Leaders

Mo Ibhrahim Foundation

As the number of millionaires and billionaires on the continent grow, many give back to programs promoting health, education and entrepreneurship.

As the wealth of the continent increases, African philanthropy is on the rise.

For example, Aliko Dangote of Nigeria, the richest person in Africa recently joined with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to pledge $100 million to fight malnutrition in Nigeria.

Dangote has supported programs in education, youth empowerment and health as well as a program that offers micro grants to rural women and young people to help them start businesses.

Now he will help in the battle against malnutrition in his home country, where one in five children are malnourished and one in three suffers from stunted growth – the highest number in Africa.

With a fortune of $17 billion built in cement and sugar manufacturing, Dangote is considered the richest person in Africa.

Philanthropy increasing across Africa

Dangote is not alone in using some of his considerable wealth to help others.

A recent report by UBS and Trust Africa said philanthropy on the continent is on the increase, building on longstanding African traditions of giving back to family and community.

“Over the past ten to fifteen years, there has been phenomenal growth in philanthropic institutions across Africa,” according to the study, “Africa’s Wealthy Give Back” (pdf). “We have begun to see the emergence of more strategic philanthropy,” along with more formal infrastructure for giving, the report said.

The USB-Trust Africa study cited projections by McKinsey Global Institute that gross domestic product in sub-Saharan Africa will grow to $2.6 trillion by 2020. With that will come corresponding increases in the number of wealthy individuals.

Dangote with Bill Clinton

Dangote with Bill Clinton

Growing wealth fuels giving

It said there were nearly 150,000 wealthy people in African in 2013, and the number had increased 3.7 percent over the previous year. At the same time, the total wealth of this group increased by 7.3% to $1.3 trillion.

There are about 25 major foundations on the continent.

Patrice Motsepe, a South African mining tycoon, in 2010 was the first African to sign the Giving Pledge that was started by Bill Gates and Warren Buffet. In 2013, Motsepe donated half his fortune to his own foundation to help those in need. His net worth is estimated at $1.4 billion.

Sudanese billionaire Mohamed Ibrahim’s foundation produces an index of African governance and Ibrahim is known for fighting government corruption on the continent. His Mo Ibrahim foundation also offers scholarship aid to young African leaders. A pioneer of telecoms in Africa with Celtel International, his fortune is estimated at $1.1 billion.

Tony Elumelu, a Nigerian banker, whose foundation is funding 10,000 African startups at a cost of $100 million. The program provides entrepreneurs with $10,000 each, half for training and half to start the business. Elumelu’s goal is to create one million jobs and add up to $10 billion to Africa’s gross domestic product. Elumelu’s net worth is estimated at $700 million

Jim Ovia, the founder of Zenith Bank, one of the largest banks in Nigeria, and of the telecom Visafone, which has three million subscribers, supports technology startups. His wealth is estimated at $550 million.

With a fortune estimated at $450 million, Cyril Ramaphosa, vice president of South Africa, supports South African entrepreneurs through his Shanduka Foundation. His Adopt-a-School Foundation has already built 454 schools.

Philanthropy builds on African tradition

Halima Mahomed, a philanthropy advisor to Trust Africa, said the wealthy Africans are following deeply ingrained traditions of African culture. “Rich or poor, everyone gives in Africa” and the newly wealthy are following that trend, Mahomed said.

Gregorie Muhr, a philanthropy analyst at UBS, said the approach is changing, as the new philanthropists take a more business-like approach to their giving, having seen that millions of dollars previously donated in Africa have not always reached the intended objectives.

The advent of billionaire philanthropists is not unique to Africa. “The trend is global’’ in developing markets where a new class of super rich emerges, according to Jenny Hodgson, executive director of the Global Fund for Community Foundations.

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