By Edwin Muhumuza
“The Future of Africa is at Stake – We All Must Show A Genuine and Uncompromising Commitment to Building A Better Africa” – Tony Elumelu
UBA’s Group Chairman-Tony Elumelu while speaking to delegates at the recently concluded Africa Summit along with other African Heads of State and influential personalities from the private sector, remarked that “The leaders we need in Africa today, are leaders who genuinely care about humanity. We need leaders who are driven by an ambition to leave society better than they met it. We need leaders who understand and care about creating a positive legacy. We need leaders who are genuinely committed and care about the future of Africa,”
This as he gave the keynote address, entitled “The Leadership Needed to Catalyse Africa’s Transformation” at the inaugural Africa Now Conference held in Kampala, hosted by the President of Uganda, HE Yoweri Kaguta Museveni.
Tony Elumelu, is the Founder of the Tony Elumelu Foundation and Chairman, Heirs Holdings and the United Bank for Africa while The Tony Elumelu foundation has funded over 300 entrepreneurs in Ugandan since inception.
He challenged African leaders to prioritise the future of the African continent to an audience of public and private sector leaders where he was introduced as Africa’s leading proponent of entrepreneurship,
In his speech Elumelu offered a robust and direct message to African leaders from the public and private sectors emphasised the need for public-private sector collaboration to drive sustainable development, encapsulated in his economic philosophy, Africapitalism.
“Leadership should not be about directing blame, leadership is not about absolving responsibility. Leadership is the catalyst for positive change.
‘’We need to take collective responsibility for our own future – as I have often said, no one is going to do it but ourselves – whether we are in the public or private sectors. This is the philosophy of Africapitalism, which is a call on the private sector to play its role, the leading role in securing our continent’s destiny – and achieving it by creating both social and economic wealth.”
In his speech, President Museveni outlined key enablers required to empower the African people and transform the continent. ‘At independence, although a lot of time was lost with military governments engaged in primitive fascism, nevertheless, many African governments have correctly identified two crucial stimuli that can catalyse social transformation. These are education and health for all (human resource development) and private sector-led growth’
Commending President Museveni on the achievements of his country, Elumelu noted that “We have a role to play and we need to play this role by investing and managing, so we can create employment, create prosperity in a manner that will help to address many of the problems we have in the society today.
Speaking on the concept of shared prosperity, Elumelu stated that the Tony Elumelu Foundation’s Entrepreneurship Programme was a robust mechanism to empower Africa’s entrepreneurs, with the goal of delivering efficiently and effectively wealth creation directly into local communities. Reiterating the importance of entrepreneurship in unleashing the continent’s true potential, Elumelu concluded by making a call to partners, charging private sector leaders to focus on inclusive wealth.“As private sector leaders, we realise that, if the wealth we have is not inclusive, if the prosperity we have is just for family and self, it will not help us create the society we need” he concluded.