UNDP and Tony Elumelu Foundation sign agreement aimed at promoting entrepreneurship in Africa

Oct 14, 2017

UNDP Regional Service Centre for Africa Director, Lamin Manneh and Founder of Tony Elumelu Foundation, Tony Elumelu sign the MoU while UNDP Resident Representative for Nigeria, Edward Kallon looks on (Photo, UNDPNigeria/Lucky Musonda)

Lagos, 14 October 2017 – “We have to give more attention and support to emerging African entrepreneurs, if the continent’s poverty, inequality and unemployment challenges have to be addressed,” said both the Director of UNDP Africa Regional Programme and the founder of The Tony Elumelu Foundation (TEF). The two organisations signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), to express their interest to work together to further promote entrepreneurship in Africa.

The MoU was signed by the Founder of Foundation, Tony O. Elumelu, CON, and the Director, UNDP Regional Service Centre for Africa, Lamin Manneh, on October 14, 2017, at the largest gathering of African entrepreneurship ecosystem―The Tony Elumelu Foundation Entrepreneurship Forum― held in Lagos, Nigeria.

UNDP and TEF intends to work together to equip start-ups and existing small enterprises (SMEs) with necessarily entrepreneurship skills to enable them grow their businesses. The two institutions believe that this support will help unleash the entrepreneurs’ full potential to create wealth and jobs, and contribute to efforts aimed at reducing poverty and inequality across the continent, thereby help countries achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Equal attention will be paid to developing systems that will enable us to continuously monitor the performance entrepreneurs and their contribution to Africa’s growth and prosperity.

Speaking on the partnership, the Founder of The Tony Elumelu Foundation said, “Since the TEF Entrepreneurship Programme was launched, we have received over 150,000 applications, but every year we are constrained to supporting only 1,000 annually. While it is true that we have transformed the lives of 3000 African men and women, we constantly think about the thousands of dashed hopes and dreams that have been cut short. These entrepreneurs that we have been unable to select deserve a chance too and this partnership with UNDP will help us to scale our impact”.

“Investing in Africa’s emerging entrepreneurs will not only help address inequality, but also stimulate innovative thinking among the youth and help in developing local solutions to local development challenges on the continent – it will spur industrialization and structural transformation in Africa and bring about shared prosperity across the continent.” Said Lamin, who added that the partnership with TEF will enhance networking among entrepreneurs through UNDP’s Youth Connekt initiative.

With special focus on young and women entrepreneurs, TEF and UNDP will also undertake initiatives that will enable start-ups and small businesses to access affordable credit and other financial services they require to growth and diversify their businesses. UNDP and TEF will work together and contribute to efforts aimed at strengthening the enabling environment for private sector development especially emerging entrepreneurs.

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Lucky Musonda

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