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Our people are tired of being poor —Elumelu


Founder of Tony Elumelu Foundation (TEF) and Chairman, Heirs Holdings and United Bank for Africa (UBA), Mr Tony Elumelu, again called for a friendly business environment in Africa to enable sustainable shared prosperity on the continent, saying “our people are tired of being poor.”

Elumelu said “Entrepreneurship does not thrive if enabling environment is not there. Our political leaders should bring and create an enabling environment that will bring out the entrepreneurship spirit in us to succeed.”

Elumelu was addressing the media during a small introductory ceremony organised by the United Bank for Africa (UBA) for about a hundred journalists across Africa who are covering the TEF Entrepreneurship Forum 2017, on Friday evening.

“What they (African governments) owe the continent is the right, conducive environment to succeed. If we bring all the capital in the world and there is no enabling environment, the capital will waste,” Elumelu said.

In speaking about his hopes for the continent, Elumelu said: “We look forward to a continent where poverty will be a thing of the past,” saying that he looks forward to a “growth that transforms lives.”

This is not the first time the economist has tasked African leaders on sustainable business environment, which he said is imperative to growth Africans can “feel” and relate to.

In July 2017, Elumelu told counseled that if Africa’s largest economy was to successfully position itself to promote domestic business and attract investments, its public sector “must improve its process of doing business.”

He went on to say that: “The private sector can only thrive with the support and enabling environment created by government and its agencies. We need the public sector to be willing partners in establishing the right, investment-worthy business environment we need in Nigeria.”

It will be recalled that African leaders at the 2016 TEF Forum, pledged their commitment towards improving the ease of doing business index on the continent, which Elumelu said was critical to enterprise development.

At the last year event, Special Adviser to the Rwandan President Clare Akamanzi told the African entrepreneurs that her government was serious and focused on providing the right policies to to help create friendly business environment for the entrepreneurs in her contry.

In the same vein, Nigeria’s Minister for Information, Culture & Tourism, Lai Mohammed also intimated that President Muhammadu Buhari was committed to reforming the processes for “Doing Business in Nigeria”, while the President of Sierra Leone, Ernest Bai Koroma disclosed that Sierra Leone would give priority to creating an enabling business environment in the country  through legislations and policies.