President Bola Tinubu has issued a compelling charge to African nations, urging both political and business leaders across the continent to shift their focus inward and harness the abundant resources bestowed upon them in the providence instead of total reliance on international donor funds.
This call to action is predicated on the need to move away from a prevailing culture of heavy dependence on international donor funds.
The President, who was speaking at the Tony Elumelu Foundation (TEF) and United Nations Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) Generation Unlimited (GENU) Breakfast Roundtable meeting, a side event at the ongoing 78th United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) in New York, yesterday, said it was expedient to start looking inwards and stop the habit of beginning hand in cap.
Tinubu who was represented by the Minister for Trade and Industry, Doris Uzoka-Anite, said that local solutions to economic growth and unemployment and offering incentives to willing investors would be the focus of every African leader.
Doris Uzoka-Anite, decried the over reliance by Africans on foreign donors, “I don’t think we are doing enough as Africans for Africa. We need to do a lot more. Tony Elumelu has been the major person driving investments in supporting the youths and start-ups”.
“We need to challenge ourselves a bit more further. Africa has some of the richest people on the planet. We have a resource-rich continent with huge population of young people”.
“We need to take up the challenge upon ourselves as Africans to support one another. It is about time we stopped looking for international organisations for donor funding. We need to go out of that mentality”.
“We will rather have donor funds coming in to support what we have already on ground, and not them coming to give us a seed or showing us the way. We actually know how to do things. In Africa, we have a rich culture and if we go back to our tradition, there is a whole lot we can learn from each other.”
While wooing potential investors with promises of right infrastructure provision such as regulations, property rights, access to justice, protection from unfair competition, power, as well as roads to market and ports, he said: “We must organise the disorganised SME market, and enable greater organisation and formalisation.
“We must invest in SMEs. Governments and the private sector have important roles to play in this regard. Our investing must be coordinated, targeted, and generous. This is where the example of the Tony Elumelu Foundation is a worthy role model for all.
“We must create and expand pathways for our SMEs to export their products and services and integrate into global value chains.”
She commended Elumelu for the impact his foundation has had on young people and SMEs in the country and beyond since 2010.