Elumelu Wants African Leaders To Address Poverty, Joblessness Among Youth
Tony Elumelu, Chairman of the United Bank for Africa (UBA) has drawn a linkage between poverty and joblessness among the youth to the growing insecurity in the continent and urged African leaders to urgently tackle the menace to improve the state of peace and prosperity in the continent.
Elumelu, who is also the founder of Heirs Holdings and Tony Elumelu Foundation (TEF), which gives support to young African entrepreneurs said poverty anywhere is a threat to mankind.
He noted that what manifests itself in what we call security breakdown or terrorism or extremism “is actually deeply rooted in poverty, in joblessness.”
“So with due respect, we can have 101 seminars like this but unless and until we begin to address these issues of poverty, joblessness amongst our young ones, they will continue to allow themselves to be brainwashed by people who see no future, and they will continue to engage in extremism,” he said.
The chairman of UBA advocated job creation for the youth, inclusive growth, and gender diversity as priority areas for Africa’s development agenda as well as to achieve peace and stability on the continent.
Elumelu spoke as a member of a high-level panel with the President of Senegal, Macky Sall and the President of Mauritania, Mohamed Ould Ghazouani.
He urged African leaders to start investing in the large population of young people across the continent, saying that long term solutions to checkmating insurgency and ensure lasting peace.
In his contribution, Sall acquiesced to the need for the public sector to collaborate with the private sector to tackle poverty on the continent.
Elumelu cited the impact of the Tony Elumelu Foundation’s $100 million Entrepreneurship Programme as one of the practical ways the private sector in Africa can intervene to bring about peace and stability on the continent.
He also pointed attention to the partnership between the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the Tony Elumelu Foundation (TEF) to empower 100,000 young Africans in 10 years with a focus on the Sahel region for its first year.
“Only activities and interventions like this will help to bring economic hope to people in this part of the world and they will become less involved in extremism. We support these young ones and we are beginning to see how their successes are translated into better and more secure communities.”
He noted that businesses cannot flourish where there is extremism and people are afraid for their lives.
“It will be even harder to attract the global private capital needed for large infrastructure projects and long-term investments which can help to fix our economy,” he said.