Chairman Of Uba Group Tony Elumelu and industrialist Chris Kirubi were honoured with Lifetime Achievement Award at the 5th edition of the annual Economic Forum of the Ivorian National Council of Employers, CGECI Academy which was held in Abidjan, the Ivorian Capital.
During the formal presentation to honour the awardees on their leadership and key role they play as African business champions, the Prime Minister of Cote d’Ivoire Daniel Kablan Duncan, congratulated both African business leaders and further stressed that his country had a lot of potential to support the development of entrepreneurship and growth of the private sector.
He enjoined young Ivorian entrepreneurs to come forward with their ideas and share them with business champions like Elumelu and Kirubi who have the money to help. “Mr Elumelu, You are the Pride of Africa”, Prime Minister Duncan said.
During his address at the ceremony attended by over three thousand delegates from across Africa including the Deputy Prime Minister of Mauritius, Sir Anerod Juganauth, amongst other business leaders and government officials, Elumelu advocated for the collaboration of the private and public sectors to create value in the global competitive business landscape. He stressed that Africa must encourage champions for economic development.
“Development is not an option”, he stated.
“No one can develop the African continent but us. We must always remember that no one can rescue us. When the private sector operators divorce themselves from the development agenda of the countries in which they operate, everyone suffers.”
“The SMEs are the backbone of any economy anywhere in the world and when governments ignore the private sector, the consequences are stark” continued Elumelu.
On his part, Kirubi motivated the young entrepreneurs present saying: “Africa is a comeback kid. The future of Africa is in the hands of the young people, of business influencers who can move the continent towards development”.
He said “we have to open the markets in each others countries. We cannot be swimming in small swimming pools and call ourselves champions”.
Mr. Elumelu tasked entrepreneurs to seek opportunities to accelerate their business success (including through The Tony Elumelu Foundation Entrepreneurship Programme, TEEP). “We are champions of African development because we are Africapitalists. Through Africapitalism, I seek to evangelize what works for successful business investments and inspire other entrepreneurs like yourselves”.
TEEP Elumelu’s 10-year, $100 million commitment, to identify and empower 10,000 African entrepreneurs, create one million jobs and add $10 billion in revenues to Africa’s economy.
Since its initiation in 2012 by the Ivorian National council of Employers, the annual economic forum, CGECI Academy, has provided a platform to raise awareness among African entrepreneurs about existing sources of capital and investors available to help grow and develop their businesses. The forum seeks to change the paradigm of access to finance in Côte d’Ivoire, creating a platform for sharing experiences and expertise. Furthermore, it aims to present the Ivorian private sector to regional and international partners and highlight the achievements and the opportunities within it. Other activities during the event include the announcement of the yearly business plan competition and a segment dedicated to sharing the experiences and testimonials of entrepreneurs
See another photo from the event below!
L-R: Chairman of the National Council of Employers, General Confederation of Enterprises of Côte d’Ivoire (CGECI), Jean Kacou Diagou; Minister of industry & Mines Côte d’Ivoire, Jean Claude Brou; Tony O. Elumelu; and Chairman of Centum Group, Christopher John Kirubi
Leave your views in comments box below.