BUJUMBURA April 17th (ABP) – While ties between Europe and Africa are occupying a prominent place in foreign and development policy programs and where the European Union (EU) is starting to implement its external investment plan for 2017, which aims to attract investment and create jobs in Africa, the Tony Elumelu Foundation (TEF) brought together in Brussels on Wednesday April 11, 2019, the main actors in the development financing sector during a case study session.
The meeting demonstrated that Africa also had solutions and enabled the Foundation to take a unique approach to catalyze large-scale entrepreneurship across the continent. Organized around the theme “Meeting on Africa’s Economic Transformation: A Case Study of the Tony Elumelu Foundation”, the event presented the results of the first five years of the Foundation’s Entrepreneurship Program.
This unique program, which allowed to train, mentor and finance 4,470 African entrepreneurs in the first four years, recently announced the selection of 3,050 new candidates to receive seed money at the end of their training and mentoring sessions, chosen among more than 200,000 applications received for the fifth edition, the 2019 cycle. Tony Elumelu’s $ 100 million investment in entrepreneurial philanthropy was cited as a prime example of how vital capital could effectively and efficiently target African businesses, which are most likely to create significant economic and development impact.
To that end, 48 Burundians were selected for the 5th edition of the TEF entrepreneurship program, which shows a clear improvement compared to the 5 Burundians selected the year before (2018). Miss Aline Niyibigira is one of 48 entrepreneurs whose projects convinced the jury. As a holder of Bachelor’s degree in the Faculty of Communication Sciences, she initiated the project called “Photo graphic center”. This is a business that involves the production of audiovisual media and design.
Through the Tony Elumelu Foundation’s entrepreneurship program, she sees an opportunity for the development of her business. “I am proud and honored to be among the successful candidates. I take this opportunity to congratulate the other 47 successful candidates. The TEF program will be an opportunity for me to take advantage of the 7 pillars of this foundation, which will enable me to start my business,” she told the check by ABP.
“Africa must create millions of jobs to meet the needs of its exponentially growing population. This will only be possible if it frees a generation of self-employed entrepreneurs. The Tony Elumelu Foundation makes a huge contribution to this. The European Union wants to play its role and contribute to this initiative,” said Mr. Koen Doens, Deputy Director General of DEVCO, EU, at the opening of the event. During a question-and-answer session with EU-Africa ties specialist Annie Mutamba, Tony O. Elumelu CON, highlighted the growing interest in the Tony Elumelu Foundation and its unique approach, while being delighted with a new type of intervention in Africa. “We believe in collaboration, mutual respect and a shared commitment to transforming Africa. Africa is ready, but we must do it in the right and sustainable way, which will enable our people to become self-reliant and independent, instead of perpetuating dependency. We must put forward field-practical solutions through entrepreneurship, which economically empowers people and tackles the problems relating to extremism, migration and insecurity,” he continued to say.
“Europe is more and more interested in engaging with Africa, including at grassroots level, through a targeted and structured approach and with the right processes. The Tony Elumelu Foundation offers this platform,” said Philippe De Backer, Belgian Minister of the Digital Agenda, Telecommunications and Post.
The Tony Elumelu Foundation, which announced in March the selection of 3,050 entrepreneurs for its 2019 cycle, continues to grow in scale, ambition and impact and is now actively using technology to support entrepreneurs through TEFConnect, a digital platform designed to connect entrepreneurs across Africa, which already has 500,000 users.