Tony Elumelu Foundation Hosts Interactive Session With Macron And 2000 Young African Entrepreneurs

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Tony Elumelu Foundation

French President Emmanuel Macron offered a bold and new vision of France’s relationship with Africa, speaking at an exclusive session hosted by the Tony Elumelu Foundation in Lagos.

Tony Elumelu Foundation

He passionately advocated a new partnership, prioritizing the role of entrepreneurship in driving Africa’s renaissance, highlighting the importance of the private sector and most importantly saying Africa’s future was and should be in Africa’s hands. Macron spoke at a vibrant, no-holds barred interactive session, in front of 2,000 alumni of the Tony Elumelu Foundation, who sought advice from the youthful President on how to grow their businesses, reach European markets amidst rising nationalism and emerging trade wars and the secrets of his political success.

Tony Elumelu Foundation

Macron’s experience as an outsider, who transformed French politics and spoke directly to and not at the audience, electrified the room. “To young African entrepreneurs: never listen to people who are telling you to wait,” Macron said. “If you believe in your projects: just do it. Our role is to help the new generation to seize opportunities and rise to the challenge. This is what underpins a new, balanced relationship.”

Tony Elumelu Foundation

TEF Founder and Chairman of Heirs Holdings and United Bank for Africa (UBA), Tony O. Elumelu, CON moderated the event and opened by acknowledging the importance of the occasion for African entrepreneurship: “The French President recognises the critical importance of African entrepreneurs to sustainable economic development on the continent – he knows the African narrative is changing and will change. His voice is refreshing and welcome” he said. “We want France and the rest of the world to realise that Africa is a continent of opportunities.”

Tony Elumelu Foundation

The two leaders stood side-by-side, surrounded by emerging and established business women and men from across Africa, during an exciting and at times charged session. Concluding the event, TEF signed an agreement with the Agence Française de Développement (AFD), the French development bank. The agreement established a research partnership to examine the entrepreneurship ecosystem in West Africa, with a special focus on francophone countries, a risk-sharing guarantee framework and access to high-level mentors for TEF entrepreneurs.

Tony Elumelu Foundation

You can watch a video of the session here

Here are some of the best quotes from the session

  • “We want France and the rest of the world to know that there is a lot more to Africa. We are a continent of opportunities” – Tony O. Elumelu
  • “Your nationality does not define your ability to succeed. Success begins in your mind” – President Emmanuel Macron
  • “Entrepreneurship, Entrepreneurs and those they inspire are the life blood of Africa’s transformation.” – Tony O. Elumelu
  • “Nobody should decide for Africa. Africa must decide for herself. It is time to take responsibility about the legacy we leave behind.” – President Emmanuel Macron
  • “Never stop at your first failure. And always learn from failures.” – President Emmanuel Macron

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