Japan urged to channel funds towards entrepreneurs

Wednesday September 4 2019



Tony O Elumelu, the UBA chairman

Tony O Elumelu, the UBA chairman  

By MARTIN LUTHER OKETCH

Development partners have been challenged to commit at least 5 per cent of committed funds into empowering entrepreneurship.

Speaking during the seventh Tokyo International Conference on African Development, in Yokohama, Japan Mr Tony O Elumelu, the UBA chairman, investor and philanthropist, said Japan, which had committed $20b in Kenya in 2018 and another $30b during last week’s conference, should see to it that at least 5 per cent of the $50b goes into boosting entrepreneurship to catalyse growth and create impact development.

“We could touch 500,000 lives, across the 54 African countries, broadening markets, facilitating job creation, improving income per capita, and laying the key foundation for political and economic stability,” he said in a statement, noting that if Africa and donors get priorities right there will be shared prosperity.

Africa, especially Uganda, still experiences a high entrepreneurship mortality rate with many start-ups unable to celebrate their third anniversary.

This has been a hindrance to the urgent need to close the largely growing employment gap which currently averages above 40 across Africa.

Mr Elumelu, one of Africa’s social transformers in the last two decades, said donors need to hinge funding on bold and transformative structure such as investment in infrastructure, partnership with private sector, and investment in youth.

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The above, especially youth unemployment, which currently averages at 60 per cent, have been the main trouble areas, which, Mr Elumelu said must be the main recipients of donor funding, especially from Japan. Africa, Mr Elumelu said, has a great potential given its large population which currently stands at 1.3b people.

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