Business Hilights
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Tony Elumelu, Macron jumpstart N500bn Digital Africa Initiative to grow SMEs

One of the most development oriented angle to the recent walking visit of the French President, Emmanuel Macron to Nigeria and Lagos in particular, has emerged.

Otherwise, during the interactive session with the Tony Elumelu Foundation (TEF) alumni and other African entrepreneurs, he announced French government’s endorsement of an initiative tagged; Digital Africa Initiative (DAI), to develop entrepreneurship and innovation in Africa, with the European superpower offering €1 billion (N500 billion) to jumpstart it.

Explaining further on the sidelines of the session with Business Hilights, Agence Francais de Developpement (AFD) Managing Director, Remy Riou, averred that DAI is aimed at creating a pool of entrepreneurial knowledge and business information sharing, as well as attracting French, African and European businesses to the new narrative of the continent’s emerging entrepreneurs.

Making further clarifications on the grants, Macron said the best way to succeed is to have strong private sector entrepreneurs, because it is the only way to ensure inclusive growth and raise a middle class that will support productive activities.

Signing the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between TEF and France which will guarantee up to 700 per cent of new loans to the Foundation’s alumni, as a way of supporting Africa’s new entrepreneurial narrative, Macron noted that Africa and Nigeria in particular need support to lead others in modern SMEs and knowledge economy space.

Earlier, TEF founder and chairman of UBA Plc., Mr. Tony Elumelu said the Foundation has already raised 4,000 entrepreneurs out of the 10,000 it plans to groom in the next 10 years with $100 million support.

Business Hilights recalls that TEF, in the last few years of existence has groomed a number of African youth entrepreneurs into emerging champions of digital businesses.

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