Tony Elumelu calls for strengthened US-Africa Bilateral Relations

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The founder of Tony Elumelu Foundation and chairman of Heirs Holdings, Tony Elumelu, has stressed the need for a sustained, substantive relationship between Africa and the United States of America, saying, Africa needs partnerships that foster a collaborative approach to its transformation.

To Elumelu, the continent requires collaborations that would engender a joint approach to building infrastructure, investing in human capital, and generating economic opportunities that will bring mutual prosperity.

Whilst calling for a second engagement between business leaders in the US and Africa which includes the U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit and U.S.-Africa Business Forum which he said represents an opportunity to build the kind of partnership that is required.

“We need a catalyst for a sustained, substantive relationship between Africa and the U.S. There is so much to gain from our shared history, culture, and outlook. The second summit could be the beginning of a new chapter in U.S.-Africa relations, one in which we engage as equal partners, leverage the power of the private sector, and reimagine support in a form that promotes self-reliance and independence.

“The U.S. has an enormous amount of goodwill in Africa that needs to be channeled — and getting the public and private sector at the table is critical. While it may seem that high-level diplomatic summits can be just a backdrop for photo-ops, there is real value.

“First, a high-level, media-saturated event provides motivation for deals to get done. Meetings can spark new bilateral or multilateral government initiatives, or public-private partnerships.

“Second, high-level linkages are critical to shaping policy. The conversations that take place will provide an opportunity for U.S. officials to hear directly from African stakeholders. Let policymakers hear the needs of a diverse continent of people that want investment, not only aid assistance.

“I firmly believe the transformation of Africa must be driven by Africans, and that it must be driven by the younger generation, but we still need the support of our friends. We simply need to reimagine the nature of that support.

“I firmly believe the transformation of Africa must be driven by Africans, and that it must be driven by the younger generation, but we still need the support of our friends. We simply need to reimagine the nature of that support.

“Africa needs partnerships that foster a collaborative approach to building infrastructure, investing in human capital, and generating economic opportunities that will bring mutual prosperity. This summit represents an opportunity to build that kind of partnership.

“As an investor in over 20 African countries and founder of the largest entrepreneurship program on the continent, I would particularly like to see an event that prioritizes trade, investment, and business linkages, including the role of SMEs and young entrepreneurs. The power of the private sector to drive economic growth and social development in Africa is at the core of my economic philosophy of Africapitalism.”

 

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