The Chairman, United Bank for Africa who is also the founder of the leading philanthropic Institution in Africa, Tony Elumelu Foundation, Dr. Tony Elumelu, has taken his campaign of empowering African youths to Kano State with a pledge to change the lives of 1000 business-minded young entrepreneurs in northern Nigeria.
During his speech on Saturday at Bayero University Kano (BUK), while receiving Doctor of Business Administration, Honoris Causa from the University, he made it clear that the new empowerment opportunity is strictly reserved for young business-minded northerners.
He stated further that the training scheme, which will be coordinated by TEF, will run for 12 weeks after which successful beneficiaries will receive $5,000 each to build their business empires.
Elumelu said that Nigeria has no business with poverty if only concerned authorities deployed the needful policy strategy to explore deposited talents abound in the country, saying TEF’s commitment to work with stakeholders in building millions of entrepreneur in Africa remains strong.
He highlighted the challenges of SMEs and startups to include multiple taxation and called on the Federal Government to abolish the trend so that small businesses can grow and stand the test of time.
The Philanthropist noted that, “The Tony Elumelu Foundation has in the last five years supported 7,250 young entrepreneurs in Nigeria and Northern Nigeria has deposit of 1,000 of this number.
“These new 1,000 entrepreneurs that will be selected in August is exclusive for youths from northern extraction.
“The initiative is to produce direct job opportunity and Business Empire among young talented youths in the North.
“While the private sector is supporting the youths, the Federal government should provide enabling environment.
“Our education must work. Health sector should be improved upon. National prosperity cannot be achieved without wide spread empowerment.”
“Today, you graduated 10, 000 people, the point is, are that are they going to get jobs?
He added: “Are they going to be able to use their brain or use find ideas for developing themselves and their communities?
“The point is we know the level of unemployment have today in Nigeria. The President has recently said that he wants lead 100 million Nigerians out poverty.
“This is very commendable and I want every one of us to applaud him for that act, we have to commend him and support him.
“All of us, the Federal Government, the state government, the Local Government, the private sector, wealthy Nigerians, friends of Nigerians must work together to make this happen.
“The Federal Government must create the enabling environment that will enable this succeed. We cannot lift 100 million people out of poverty if we don’t have access to electricity.
“We cannot lift people out of poverty if the transportation system is not good; we can only achieve this when we have access to electricity and other social amenities.
“Another thing that is important is making sure that we grow our economy in a manner that is inclusive.
“Our young ones need to be involved in what is happening in the country. Our women need to be also economically empowered and involved,” Elumelu said.
Responding, Pro-chancellor of the university, Prof. Ibrahim Gambari thanked him and urged the private sector to compliment government investment on education.