French president has announced a total of N500 billion (1 billon euros) investment fund for private sector players in Africa, to enable them scale up their business enterprises.
President Macron shared this as the special guest at an interactive business forum powered by the Tony Elumelu Foundation in Lagos.
Said Macron: “We will participate with you to strengthen and to frame the financial ecosystem of West Africa.
“We decided to invest one billion euros, which means N500 billion in the African private sector through the French Development Agency to start the Digital Africa Initiative.”
The president noted that the initiative will gather African and Europeans titles and business players to build the platform, to develop, leverage and accelerate the private sector.
Mr Emmanuel Macron believes Africa needs to redefine its narrative, build an entrepreneurship that drives innovation and leverage on a vibrant private sector, to achieve progress as a continent.
It was an opportunity for the French leader to engage about 2,000 young African entrepreneurs empowered by the TEF, on ideas and strategies that can broaden economic development and progress in Africa.
Macron, speaking to the young entrepreneurs, notable Nigerian business leaders, bankers, financial experts, politicians, technocrats and administrators, believed there were three issues that are critical for Africa to address, to experience advancement.
He harped on the need for Africa to develop its narrative that will change its perception globally. This, for him, was a key responsibility of the youthful population who have to mobilize efforts in building a vibrant continent.
“Nobody should decide your future; you must arise and take responsibility for your continent. If Africa does not succeed, Europe and America will not,” he said.
He urged young African entrepreneurs never to listen to people telling them to wait. “If you believe in your projects: just do it right now. If you want to do it, if you want to change this world, if you want to change your country, if you believe in your innovation, in your project, just make it visible, create, dare and do it right now. That’s the answer for this continent,” he stressed.
In his opening remarks, President of the Tony Elumelu Foundation, Mr Tony O. Elumelu, CON lauded the French president for his visit to Nigeria and the opportunity to meet with African entrepreneurs.
Mr Elumelu, a billionaire business leader and philanthropist, said the essence of the interactive session was to provide an opportunity to understand the importance of the youthful African population, shape a new narrative for Africa and showcase it as a continent of immense opportunities.
He noted that the French government has established the “Digital Africa Initiative” to support and encourage the growth of innovation in Africa, which is vital to boosting enterprise development.
Digital Africa, according to Mr Elumelu will provide assistance to the budding digital ecosystem in the continent, tapping into the developments in the fourth industrial revolution.
He also witnessed the signing of financing agreement and two commitment letters between Agence Francais de Development (AFD), the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria, Access Bank and United Bank for Africa for a total of the equivalent of 74 million Euros co-financed by AFD and the European Union.
The signing, according to the organisers, is geared towards energy efficiency and renewable energy investments in Nigeria through SUNREF programme.
The SUNREF Nigeria programme was launched by Mr Remy Rioux, Director General of AFD, Herbert Wigwe, Managing Director of Access Bank, Victor Osadolor, Deputy Managing Director, UBA, and Frank Ubemba Jacobs, President MAN.
Source: Daily Trust