Nigerian entrepreneurs key to Africa’s prosperity – U.S. Consul General
The U.S. government, through a public diplomacy grant of $105,000, is promoting entrepreneurship initiatives in Nigeria in partnership with the Tony Elumelu Foundation.
United States Consul General in Lagos, Nigeria, Claire Pierangelo, said on Tuesday that Nigeria’s entrepreneurs remain vital to the continued growth of West African economies and the prosperity of the continent. She stated this during a one-day capacity-building seminar for the first cohort of the Tony Elumelu Foundation (TEF) alumni sponsored by the U.S. government.
In October 2019, the U.S. government announced its partnership with TEF to promote entrepreneurship initiatives in Nigeria, through a public diplomacy grant of $105,000 (approximately N37.8 million). The seminar on Tuesday was organised for the first group of entrepreneurs under the partnership.
“If Nigeria is successful, it’s extremely young population will represent a tremendous source of productive labour and an extremely attractive market for a variety of products and services,” said Pierangelo. “Its success will be Africa’s success and the world will also benefit from the creativity and resourcefulness of its people.”
The Consul General observed that population trends show that Nigeria could become the world’s third most populous country by 2050. This means that events in the country could have wide-ranging global repercussions going forward. According to her, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) run by Nigerian entrepreneurs account for about 85 per cent of all jobs in the country.
“That is why the government of the United States cares so deeply about supporting entrepreneurship in Nigeria,” the Consul General told the entrepreneurs. “We are therefore committed to working with you and our local partners, including the Tony Elumelu Foundation, to help you maximize opportunities to use your drive and skills to create a better Nigeria for all of us.”
The seminar also featured a presentation on “Globalization and Nigeria” by John Doggett, Senior Lecturer at the McCombs School of Business, University of Texas at Austin. There was also a panel discussion on the “Key to Success,” featuring Olori Anita Ololade Odozi, fashion entrepreneur; Adebola Williams, Co-Founder of Red Media Africa; AfricanFarmer Mogaji, CEO of FarmCredit; and Omowale Ogunrinde, CEO of Field of Skills and Dreams.
The Chief Executive Officer of TEF, Ifeanyinwa Ugochukwu, expressed the organization’s appreciation for the partnership with the U.S. Consulate General and highlighted the importance of strategic alliances for the country’s sustained economic development.
“It is clear that development aid does not solve economic problems, handouts never work in the long-term and in no developed country does government shoulder economic burdens alone. On the other hand, partnerships such as this support the job-creating, solution-driven mentality, which Nigeria needs to lift itself up.”
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