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Elumelu harps need to harness Africa’s youth population for its development



The founder of Tony Elumelu Foundation, Tony Elumelu has called on governments and the private sector in Africa to harness opportunities presented by its youthful population for its development.

According to him, with a population of about 1.4 billion people and an average age of 20 years, Africa presents a huge market and formidable labour force.

Elumelu also emphasized on the need for African countries to make massive investments in electricity to harness its full potential.

He stated this during a discussion at the Future Investment Initiative 7th Edition: The New Compass, which was held in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, where he espoused his ‘Africapitalism’ principles.

He said: “We need massive investments in electricity on the continent. An investment in electricity is not just for profitability, we need sustainability but more importantly, it helps to fix the challenges that we have that hold us from taking off as a continent.”

According to him, the continent’s youthful population was a unique selling point.

“What we see today are demographic dividends. We are huge in terms of number and more importantly, the demography is quite favourable- young people. That is a huge market for the world. That is huge labour for the world but we need to catalyse it and shape it in a way that is positive.

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“Africa is a continent of about 1.4 billion people and the average age is about 20 years old, so you can imagine the type of continent we have. Yet, joblessness remains an issue, lack of access to economic opportunities, lack of access to healthcare. I realised that the private sector would have a role to play in the development of the continent and not just one person, and not just the government alone. We should not have any entitlement mentality that someone would develop Africa for us.

“Africapitalism is a call on the private sector to invest long term in the critical sectors of the African economy that have the potential for transforming and catalysing economic empowerment on the continent in a way we all go far and go together with no one left behind”, he said.

Elumelu further stated the private sector is key in deploying capital and creating economic opportunities and prosperity for young Africans.

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