Africa’s drive to tackle the crisis of youth unemployment and discourage the continent’s teeming youths from being ready tools in the hands of war mongers and troubleshooters received a boost yesterday as top Nigerian entrepreneur and philanthropist, Tony Elumelu, announced plans to create an initial 1,000,000 jobs over the next ten years in all 54 countries in the continent.
Addressing a world press conference yesterday in Lagos, Elumelu said the $100 million Pan-African entrepreneurship initiative is “aimed at laying the groundwork for thousands of businesses to grow and flourish across the continent,” while “creating new partnerships and trade routes both within Africa and internationally.”
According to him, “the program represents a decade-long commitment to support 10,000 African entrepreneurs and startups,” stressing that it is open to entrepreneurs from all 54 African countries. “Over the next 10 years, our goal is to create 10,000 African-owned businesses, generating 1,000,000 jobs and contributing $10 billion to revenues across Africa,” he added.
There are no bounds regarding the categories of entrepreneurs to sponsor. Rather, the program will seek out and support the growth of African entrepreneurs in any sector or field. “We are building an ecosystem to identify and cross-pollinate grassroots innovation across Africa, sparking intra-African trade and accelerating success,” he explained.
Elumelu is confident that the program will also promote the role of African entrepreneurs within the global chain and put African innovators front and center on the global stage.
Beneficiaries of the program who will be drawn from across the continent will be given $10,000 dollars each to start a business, in addition to skill acquisition training provided by the Tony Elumelu Foundation.
The online application portal for the 2015 round of entrees will open on 1 January and close on 1 March. Prospective entrepreneurs (applicants) are advised to access: www.tonyelumelufoudation.org”