Prioritise economic agenda, Elumelu tells African leaders
The Chairman of United Bank for Africa, Heirs Holdings, and Founder of the Tony Elumelu Foundation, Tony O. Elumelu, has taken African leaders to task, saying “Consider your legacy, do the right thing! Embrace legacy, you are not here forever.”
The entrepreneur, who also represented the African private sector at the opening session of the 2017 World Economic Forum on Africa, which began in Durban, South Africa, last week, urged policymakers to prioritise jobs and power.
The theme for this year’s World Economic Forum on Africa (WEF Africa), “Achieving Inclusive Growth through Responsive and Responsible Leadership”, stems from the unanimous demand globally for leaders to be responsive to the demands of their people.
“You must improve the business terrain to deal decisively with issues of joblessness and poverty. The environment is stifling, entrepreneurs provide their own water, their own transport and their own electricity. How are they going to succeed?” he queried
He made the charge alongside other panelists- Executive Director, Oxfam, Winne Byanyima; former Leader of the Opposition, Parliament of South Africa, Lindiwe Mazibuko; and Global CEO/President, Boston Consulting Group (BCG), Rich Lesser, emphasizing that “small businesses, not big corporates, grow economies.”
The Executive Chairman of the World Economic Forum, Klaus Schwab, agreed that leaders must “act as the stewards of the generations coming behind them, think about their legacy and accept that they will not be in office for life.”
Elumelu, who also chairs the board of Transcorp Plc with investments in power, oil and gas and hospitality, stressed the looming threat of widespread joblessness, labelling it the “greatest challenge for the continent”.
Harping on entrepreneurship development as solution, he recounted his own experience in supporting entrepreneurs from 54 African countries as illustration of power of entrepreneurship to transform economies.