#MondayMotivation in Accra City came via Tony O. Elumelu, Nigerian economist, entrepreneur, philanthropist, Chairman of Heirs Holdings, the United Bank for Africa, Transcorp and founder of The Tony Elumelu Foundation.
As Mr. Elumelu stood on stage with William Sanyo-Founder of Impact Hub Accra, I couldn’t help but think -this is what African development looks like – For Us By Us. When a billionaire banker pays it forward in investing in African entrepreneurs and gets to stand next to one of his success stories, who has used the seed money given to build a leading social entrepreneurship and innovation center in the heart of Accra. Each one lift one – one nation at a time – Africa is not only the future but Africa is now! This is not to be exclusionary, but rather to be self-determined and self-sufficient in global competitiveness, while solving our own needs and problems as Africans utilizing our own resources.
While we praise and find motivation from Entrepreneurs and self-made billionaires like Bill Gates and Warren Buffet; Africans should know, praise and find motivation in our own homegrown self-made billionaire philanthropist- Tony Elumelu. It was great to be in the presence of this most impressive, humble and affable man.
We give so much credit to philanthropic organizations like the Gates Foundation in its so called developmental efforts in Africa, while overlooking the real sustainability of the work and investment in entrepreneurs in Africa with not only seed money, but also shared resources and mentorship programs being provided by The Tony Elumelu Foundation. These are the types of billionaires and industry leaders that we need to grow Africa’s future – the ones who put their money where their mouth is, pay it forward, and understand that to whom much is given-much is expected. The Tony Elumelu Foundation helps entrepreneurs beyond just providing capital, so we are not setting up businesses to fail, but rather to grow and be sustainable, while growing and investing in more home grown businesses in order to truly rid ourselves of the dependency on charity and foreign aid.
The new Africa in its new modus operandi is focused on development that utilizes homegrown natural resources and people capital in a development plan that is truly sustainable!
Africa is slated to have a population of a billion + with the majority being youth. The best way of intra-Africa trade is first and foremost through our ever growing travel and tourism sector. We focus on tourism coming into Africa from abroad, while neglecting the demand at home with many desiring to get to know one another in our unique cultures, cuisine and lifestyles through easy, inexpensive and accessible travel throughout the continent in a new focus on developing Africa through Pan-Africanism with Intra-African Travel, Tourism and Trade at its forefront! It is not progress when after 60 years of of independence, I can travel from New York/USA to South Africa or Nigeria for cheaper than I can from Ghana. We have had the AU, ECOWAS and other governing and organizational bodies talking for years about improving intra-Africa trade and travel as the way forward for Africa’s development, yet with travel and tourism to Africa from abroad at an all time high, Intra-Africa travel and tourism remains stagnant and financially out of reach for the majority of the citizens of the continent. We need bold investors to lead the charge in creating affordable and accessible jet liners and chartered flight services serving the African continent, while entrepreneurs like myself provide the customer base through technology!