My sister, great minister from South Africa and my brother, good to meet you all. Ladies and gentlemen and of course, my dear friend, Ms. Banks, great to meet you again. I think it was in April we were both interacting about this same message of social entrepreneurship for Africa, in collaboration with the United States.
I am honoured to be here this afternoon to share a few thoughts with all of us. I was saying to people earlier today that the time we have now is dwindling for us to do good in life. It’s not time for talk but more time for action.
I come from Africa – proudly born and bred in Africa and I have achieved some level of comfort on the continent, but I am not alone; there are so many others who have achieved this level of comfort on the continent. Africa has a lot of opportunities, but we also have our challenges. We have poverty on our continent, access to electricity is very poor on our continent, women are excluded from mainstream economic activities and youth unemployment is huge. In fact, I say that youth unemployment is a tragic waste of human talent and a betrayal of a generation, and we all must do something about it and this is the time to do something. That is why I like this topic, social entrepreneurship.
For someone who has been in business and grown to the level where we’ve put in place the Tony Elumelu Foundation, to help eradicate poverty, create employment for our young people and most importantly to help give economic growth and opportunity to our people. I don’t want us to be fixated on any particular kind of entrepreneurship. We should promote entrepreneurship on the continent. We need entrepreneurs to grow employment. We need entrepreneurship to give hope to our people. We need entrepreneurship to stop our people from crossing the Mediterranean in very harsh conditions. We need entrepreneurship to stop extremism on our continent. We need entrepreneurship to provide security and assure prosperity for everyone.
For this, its just about embracing it and doing what we need to do collectively as Africans and as friends of Africa to power our people through entrepreneurship and prosperity. As I said before, the time to act is now. We think we know what we need in Africa, what we do at the Tony Elumelu Foundation has demonstrated and proven to us that this time-tested path of empowering our young ones – young females and young males is clearly the way to developing our continent.
So, as we gather for #UNGA77 in the centre of world affluence and prosperity, I want all of us to join hands in making this 21st century, Africa’s year of youth empowerment, that is the future. We must realise and embrace the fact that our future totally belongs to this young Africans.
What we do at the Tony Elumelu Foundation is we want to team up with others, to do more. Let us democratise luck. I am where I am today because I am a product of luck not because I am the most intelligent in my set. It’s just being at the right place at the right time, being ready and when luck came, I took advantage of it. But I don’t want to be the only African that should benefit from this luck. Over 60% of our people are under the age of 30. We must create a hope and future for them, so that all of us can live a secured future and a secure life. So, my charge to all of us today is – let us collaborate, let us join hands, let us partner to make the future a better one for our young Africans.