African leaders and development institutions have been urged to help address the deepening job and employment crisis bedeviling the continent. This can be achieved by lending support and paying more attention to the agricultural sector, creating access to electricity and developing entrepreneurship.
Mr. Tony Elumelu, who doubles as the founder and Chairman of Heirs Holdings, made the statement while speaking on the theme: “How do we create 10 million jobs by 2020?” at the Youth Connekt Africa Summit in Rwanda.
Elumelu, who is described as a passionate advocate of entrepreneurship and Africapitalism, was of the opinion that access to electricity and increased focus in the agricultural sector would enhance entrepreneurship and tackle the challenge of unemployment through the creation of more jobs.
He also stated that if this is to be achieved, the private sector would have to play a lead role in contributing to job creation in Africa and noted that his company was keen on providing jobs which were evident through the $100m committed to supporting African entrepreneurs over the years by his company.
Elumelu noted the fact that agriculture, access to electricity and entrepreneurship have the potential to make Africa self-reliant and self-dependent if the right infrastructure and government support were put in place.
According to Elumelu, “Today we have businesses in 20 African countries and employ 30,000 people directly and 50,000 people indirectly. Agriculture, access to electricity and entrepreneurship have the potential to create more jobs in Africa.”
He then went on to praise the efforts of President Paul Kagame of Rwanda in raising entrepreneurship and attracting investors into the country’s economy.
His stance was supported by the President, Africa Development Bank, Dr Akinwumi Adesina, who acknowledged that agriculture could indeed create jobs for the booming African population.
He said: “I applaud Tony Elumelu’s work in entrepreneurship because entrepreneurship is key. We will help to scale up what Tony Elumelu is doing. If others are doing the same, we will succeed in Africa.”
The summit, which had over 2,500 guests in attendance, was hosted by President Kagame. The panel was moderated by Adeyemi Babington Ashaye, the Head, Global Shapers Community, World Economic Forum. Other panellists included Akinwumi Adesina; Vera Songwe, Executive Secretary, Economic Commission for Africa; and Diane Karusisi, CEO, Bank of Kigali.