By Olalekan Bilesanmi Vice President, Prof Yemi Osinbajo, Saturday declared that Nigerians and Africans should not allow their history to hold them hostage.
The Vice President was speaking at the 3RD ANNUAL Tony Elumelu Foundation, TEF, ENTREPRENEURSHIP FORUM, which was held between October 13-14, in Lagos, where he admonished young entrepreneurs to be become slaves of a disastrous history.
By the same token, founder of TEF, Mr. Tony Elumelu, said his foundation wants to incubate a new generation, so that these young women and men, can themselves become the catalysts for further entrepreneurial led growth. President of Dangote Group and Africa’s richest man, Alhaji Aliko Dangote, expressed fears that the challenges to growth needed to be decisively dealt with if Nigeria and Africa is to make progress.
Focussing on the theme’ The Tyranny of the history’, Osinbajo made it clear that the political history in Africa is dominated by wars, famine and failures of the states’. “Our economic history, he said, “is characterized by poverty, infant mortality and illiteracy among others. Our history can frighten us or cripple our hope.
“Our failures of the past are tyrannical weapons of history. History is not only a record of the past, it is past. It is gone. History of Africa does not determine its future unless we allow it. “The days you live in now are better than the past.
Many years ago, mobile phones didn’t exist, you have to queue for hours to make calls. Today, we can’t imagine life without our smart phones. We are getting nearer to beating hunger and famine than before in human history.
“Tests have shown that the current generation is smarter than the past. Dreams pursued with single mindedness are more powerful than facts. Hopes and imaginations are more potent than history because your history is not your destiny”.
According to Elumelu, “the time is now to invest in in our entrepreneurs. If Africa invests in our youths, the continent’s GDP could rise by $500 billion a year and per capita income for Africa will grow by 55% in the next four years.
He stated that entrepreneurship is a bottom-up solution to economic growth and development, focusing on empowering the individual, who in turn creates hope and opportunity in his or her own community. “Through the Tony Elumelu Foundation”, he disclosed,
“I have committed $100 million to identify, train and fund 10,000 African entrepreneurs over a 10 year period with the goal of realising $10 billion in revenue for the continent and creating a million jobs. “We want to incubate a new generation, so that these young women and men, can themselves become the catalysts for further entrepreneurial led growth.
The Zamfara State governor, Abdul’ Aziz Abubakar Yari, his Katsina State counterpart, Alhaji Aminu Bello Masari; and CEO, Honeywell Group, Oba Otudeko, all counselled the young entrepreneurs to be consistent in the pursuit of their desires and goals. The Forum hosted more than 1,300 participants from 54 African countries.
The most diverse and inclusive gathering of African entrepreneurs on the continent, the Forum continued its strong tradition of showcasing innovation across sectors, including Agriculture, Technology, Healthcare, Fashion and Energy/Power Generation.
Launched in 2015, the Forum was borne out of the Foundation’s $100 million commitment to identify, train, mentor and fund 10,000 African entrepreneurs, over a decade, through the TEF Entrepreneurship Programme.