Japan and Africa prioritise economic and shared prosperity

Image3In a keynote speech, delivered before global leaders, at the 7th Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD) in Yokohama, Japan, African investor and philanthropist Tony O Elumelu challenged the Government of Japan to invest five per cent of its US$50bn commitment to Africa in empowering African entrepreneurs

“At TICAD 2016 in Kenya, Japan pledged US$30bn for Africa. This year you have generously increased this to US$50bn. If we invested just five per cent in Africa’s new generation of entrepreneurs, following my Foundation’s robust, proven model of getting capital directly to those best placed to catalyse growth and create real impact, we could touch 500,000 lives, across the 54 African countries, broadening markets, facilitating job creation, improving income per capita and laying the major foundation for political and economic stability,” said Elumelu.

Elumelu’s statement captured his vision of a relationship between Japan and Africa, which prioritises economic and shared prosperity. He outlined the three pillars of a bold and transformative structure: investment in infrastructure, partnership with the African private sector, and investment in Africa’s youth.

He urged Japan to learn from the example of the Tony Elumelu Foundation, which champions empowering African entrepreneurs, as the most sustainable means of accelerating the development of Africa. The Tony Elumelu Foundation has assisted more than 7,500 African entrepreneurs across every African country, with seed capital, capacity building, mentorship and networking opportunities.

President of South Africa and co-chair at TICAD Cyril Ramaphosa corroborated Elumelu’s stance. He said, “Africa presents risk-adjusted returns and is a market in which investments are flowing at a hundred billion dollars - that is the new profile of Africa that is being presented to the world.”

Achim Steiner, UNDP administrator praised Tony Elumelu's private-sector led approach to development in Africa.

Speaking on the potential of the African continent, Prime Minister of Japan Shinzō noted, “In Africa, some countries have joined top nations in the ranking on the ease of doing business. The scale of the market continues to expand. We can envision a day when the entire continent of Africa becomes an enormous economic zone.”

Organised by the Japanese Government, TICAD is a three-yearly forum for advancing Africa’s development through people, technology and innovation, bringing together government, business leaders, companies and other stakeholders.

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