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The Time is Now to Invest in Africa and African SMEs, Tony Elumelu Tells Global Investors in Paris

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Wednesday, October 30, 2019, Paris, France. Tony O. Elumelu, Founder of the Tony Elumelu Foundation (TEF) and Chairman, United Bank for Africa (UBA) and Heirs Holdings opened the “Ambition Africa” conference organised by the France Invest Africa Club in Paris, France.

As Elumelu delivered the opening address, he urged French investors to look to Africa for long term investment opportunities.

The French Minister of Economy and Finance, Bruno Le Maire, as he introduced Tony Elumelu to the audience stated that France could position itself and direct investment towards Africa to end the cycle of poverty and to accelerate development globally. He commended Elumelu’s stance on strengthening the SMEs in Africa to catalyse development. “We share the same ambition in Supporting African SMEs and entrepreneurs as this is essential for the economic development of Africa,” he said, referring to Elumelu’s passion to create wealth on the African continent.

Reiterating the stance to partner with Africa on long-term investments, Mr. Le Maire said “We will ensure that investments in Africa are sustainable, exemplary and environmentally friendly. We want to go fast, go quickly in the race against poverty and renunciation, throughout the continent”.

Tony Elumelu on his part stated “We need to do much better and be much smarter in channelling funds to emerging markets. These markets present huge opportunities – as well as risks for investors, but investors need to fulfill a critical need to catalyse and improve the economy. We salute companies like Total, Bouygues, Accor, Orange, and Bolloré as well as others who have accepted this challenge, but there is room for many more” he said.

Elumelu stressed the importance of private equity inflow into Africa, with a focus on investing in small and medium scale businesses, the lifeblood of the African economy. He stated that Africa has the youngest workforce in the world, with over 60% of its population below the age of 25. This he said was a potential demographic doom that could be turned around to become the continent’s greatest asset if the youths have jobs and economic opportunities.

According to him: “Africans do not need aid. Rather, our young people need investments’.

“Private equity is a force for positive development in Africa. We have a large youth population, who are eager and innovative. They are looking at solutions to problems in their communities but are hampered by the access to capital and investment, mentoring and training. When done right, this kind of investment can bring not just capital but can also strengthen job creation, corporate governance and help improve sustainable business practices”.

Also Read: Interview With Deborah Ogwuche, Founder Of Food Channel Africa

He cited the impact and growth rate of the beneficiaries of the Tony Elumelu Foundation as evidence of the potential of SMEs in Africa today. His Foundation has endowed $100 million dollars of his family wealth, to fund over 10000 African entrepreneurs in ten years.

Mr. Elumelu commended The French President, Emmanuel Macron’s initiatives for strengthening the relationship between France and Africa and concluded by inviting investors to consider investing in Africa for the long term.

“The key phrase here is long term investment – no one should come to Africa for short term gain. The time is now to invest in Africa. Private equity has to be part of it. We need it for all,” he concluded.

“The key phrase here is long term investment – no one should come to Africa for short term gain. The time is now to invest in Africa. Private equity has to be part of it. We need it for all,” he concluded.

Tony Elumelu Foundation

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African Entrepreneurs in Jack Ma Foundation Africa Netpreneur Prize Initiative Win $1 Million

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$1 Million Awarded to African Entrepreneurs in Grand Finale of the Jack Ma Foundation Africa Netpreneur Prize Initiative (Source: Africa Netpreneur Prize Initiative (ANPI)

The aim of the prize is to support and inspire the next generation of African entrepreneurs who are building a more sustainable and inclusive economy for the future.

ACCRA, Ghana, November 17, 2019- Last night the Jack Ma Foundation hosted its first annual Africa Netpreneur Prize Initiative (ANPI) grand finale awarding $1 million in prize money to 10 entrepreneurs from across Africa.

The ANPI is a flagship initiative of the Jack Ma Foundation, created by Jack Ma after his first trip to Africa in 2017. The aim of the prize is to support and inspire the next generation of African entrepreneurs who are building a more sustainable and inclusive economy for the future. In its inaugural year, nearly 10,000 entrepreneurs from 50 countries across the continent applied. The Jack Ma Foundation has committed to running the competition for 10 years.

The finale event, called “Africa’s Business Heroes,” was held in Accra, Ghana, where the top 10 finalists pitched their businesses directly to four prestigious judges including Jack Ma, Founder of Alibaba Group and the Jack Ma Foundation; Strive Masiyiwa, Founder and Executive Chairman of Econet Group; Ibukun Awosika, Chairman of First Bank of Nigeria and Founder/CEO of The Chair Centre Group; and Joe Tsai, Executive Vice Chairman of Alibaba.

The specifics of the prize pool division is listed below. Each finalist is receiving a share of $1 million.

The top three finalists were:


“It was an incredible honor to be named Africa’s Business Hero. I was truly inspired by my fellow winners at today’s Netpreneur Summit. The Africa Netpreneur Prize will give me the resources to grow LifeBank and expand our presence in Nigeria and throughout the rest of Africa. I look forward to continuing my journey to solve problems and make a significant impact on the future of Africa,” said Temie Giwa-Tubosun, Founder and CEO of LifeBank.

The remaining finalists, who each received $65,000, are listed below:


“The finalists who competed in ‘Africa’s Business Heroes’ should be an inspiration for Africa and for the world. Each of these entrepreneurs looked at big challenges facing their communities, and saw them as opportunities,” said Jack Ma, Founder of the Alibaba Group and Jack Ma Foundation. “It is my strong belief that entrepreneur heroes, like these finalists, will change the world – creating companies that drive inclusive growth and opportunity for the continent. Everyone is a winner tonight.”

“This competition demonstrates the overwhelming entrepreneurial talent that exists across Africa. I’m very excited about the future of industry and entrepreneurship for this continent,” said Strive Masiyiwa, Founder and Executive Chairman of Econet Group. “The top 10 truly show the limitless potential of African business.”

“What really struck me about the finalists was that they each addressed specific African problems with a specific African solution in a fresh way, leveraging technology that wasn’t available previously,” said Ibukun Awosika, Chairman of First Bank of Nigeria and Founder/CEO of The Chair Centre Group. “If this is an indication of the future of entrepreneurship on the continent, then Africa’s future looks bright.”

Also Read: Meet Mariatheresa S. Kadushi, Founder of M-afya, A Mobile App Providing Health Information In Native Languages In Africa

“Africa’s Business Heroes” will be televised in a two-hour special throughout Africa. The journeys of the finalists as well as their pitches and business insights from the judges will all be included in this exciting television event.

You can watch “Africa’s Business Heroes” on the following dates and channels:

  • December 13, 2019 – ROK 3 on DSTV
  • December 14, 2019 – NOVELA and Sports Focus on StarTimes


Check your local listings for specific channel and airing times.

The initiative will host a pitch competition where 10 finalists from across the continent will compete for $1 million in total prize money every year through 2028. All entrepreneurs across Africa, are encouraged to apply. Entries for next year’s prize will open in the first half of 2020.

Follow @africanetpreneurprize (https://bit.ly/2pqInf) on Facebook, @AFNetpreneurs (https://www.Netpreneur.Africa/)   on Twitter for application details.  For photos and videos from the finale event, please visit Alizila (https://bit.ly/2qWkxgf)

Africa Netpreneur Prize Initiative (ANPI)

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Egypt, PRL sign train engines contracts worth $466.3M

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CAIRO – 16 November 2019: The Egyptian Railway Authority (ERA) signed with PRL (Progress Rail Automotives) a number of contracts worth $466.3 million after a meeting with President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi that took place last week.

The American company will supply 50 train engines over 22 months, carry out long-term maintenance for 41 engines by June 30, and upgrade 50 others within 30 months since the conclusion of the deal. The company will also provide maintenance services and spare parts for those 141 train engines for 15 years. The value of contracts will be secured through soft loans, except for $27 million that will be paid by ERA’s treasury.

In July, ERA endorsed the technical specifications of two passenger railcars to be supplied by Transmashholding in September. Those are part of a contract to supply 1,300 railcars. One of the railcars will be tested in Hungary, so it will be granted the safety certification by the European Railway Agency. The other will be tested in Egypt. Afterwards, the first batch of railcars in the contract will be delivered in accordance with the timeline set by both parties.

The contract states that 650 railcars will be supplied from Hungary, 500 will be delivered by Russia, and 150 will be manufactured by Egypt under the supervision of Transmashholding. An Egyptian locomotive factory will be established as part of a plan to localize the locomotive industry in Egypt and transfer the know-how to workers, technicians, and engineers in the sector. The factory will produce the 150 railcars and also provide maintenance services.

The representatives of ERA and Transmashholding agreed to hold further visits and meetings to study the possibility of cooperation in rail infrastructure, mobile rail, workshops, new lines, and maintenance of existing railcars.

In the same month, an official source told Egypt Today that ERA needs 12 rail test machines to detect and repair defects in railroads revealing that contracts to purchase eight of those are being finalized.

Also Read: Meet Mariatheresa S. Kadushi, Founder of M-afya, A Mobile App Providing Health Information In Native Languages In Africa

ERA will receive four rail test machines worth €8.5 million by the end of 2020 supplied by an Austrian company with which a contract was signed a few months ago. The machines will enable the authority to better diagnose defects in the railroads which would increase the safety, and inhibit derailment accidents.

Egypt Today

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Venture Capital for Africa Launches First Dedicated Online Training Program for Africa’s Business Angels

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Mentor-Driven Capital has a critical role to play in supporting Africa’s entrepreneurs

CAPE TOWN, South Africa, November 15, 2019- 10 free training modules boost ability of participants to become high-powered mentors and savvy business angels; Mentor-Driven Capital has a critical role to play in supporting Africa’s entrepreneurs.

Over the past two years, VC4A has successfully implemented Mentor-Driven Capital programs in Nairobi, Lagos, Abuja, Cairo and Hargeisa, bringing together aspiring business angels and connecting them with promising startups. Based on learnings presented and gathered, as well as video interviews done with experienced mentors and mentees, VC4A has now launched an online course on ‘Mentor-Driven Capital’.

Many startup ecosystem studies across Africa have shown that there are limited local (angel) funding sources as well as a lack of well-developed mentorship networks in most African cities. This is why VC4A, with its local partners, has designed a program that addresses both topics at the same time.

Any startup requires cash to operate, but it is the application of capital in smart ways that secures greater impacts and returns on investments. Mentor-Driven Capital has a critical role to play in supporting the continent’s entrepreneurs. It is also where a good local business angel can make the difference between venture failure, survival and success.

First dedicated online training program designed for Africa’s business angels

According to VC4A CEO, Ben White: “Since VC4A’s offline programs can only reach a limited number of participants, we’ve decided to create an online course that captures much of the content of the recent mentor-focused work. Anyone who is interested can now take advantage of the first dedicated training program designed for African business professionals keen to guide Africa’s up-and-coming entrepreneurs to success.”

Also Read: Meet Mariatheresa S. Kadushi, Founder of M-afya, A Mobile App Providing Health Information In Native Languages In Africa

The goal of this course is to boost the ability of participants to become high-powered mentors that support entrepreneurs while also learning to think and act like savvy business angels. Participants receive expert guidance, training, and hands-on support. The things aspiring mentors need to bring to the table are their valuable time, knowledge and networks.

Course structure

The course is divided into ten modules. Each module is introduced by a presenter and accompanied by short clips where experts share their opinions about the same topic. The modules are:

– Introduction to Mentor-Driven Capital

– Becoming a business mentor

– Structuring the mentor relationship

– Investing your time

– Investing your network

– The angel investor mindset

– Developing an investment strategy

– Investing your money

– Common startup challenges

– Tips for success

GET STARTED TODAY! Visit: http://bit.ly/2Qq0xx1

Venture Capital for Africa (VC4A)

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