Founder of Tony Elumelu Foundation (TEF) and Chairman of one of Africa’s leading commercial banks, United Bank for Africa Plc (UBA), Mr. Tony Elumelu, has explained how government can attract and retain foreign capital to boost the economy.
Speaking to CNBC on the sidelines of the on-going World Economic Forum in Davos, yesterday, Elumelu stated that in order to develop and eliminate poverty in the continent of Africa, there is need for a business friendly environment that would retain global capital inflows. He stressed that partnering with global leaders in Davos will widen entrepreneurship opportunities for Nigeria and other African countries.
“I believe that the development of our continent requires massive private global capital into Africa to fire and power investments in the area of infrastructure to create employment and eradicate poverty. I came to Davos to interact with global leaders who have control capital and that to me is important for the development of our continent.
"I believe strongly that entrepreneurship is key for eradicating poverty in Africa and more importantly, getting our youths busy, empowering our youths so that again they will all team up to create employment that we need on the continent.
As you know, capital goes to where it is most welcome, or where the investment destination is more hospitable, so for us as Africans, the issue is not about attracting private global capital, they are ready and willing to come to Africa, but we need to work with our political leaders to ensure that we create the enabling environment that will attract and retain the capital we need in Africa.
"I speak as someone who invests in other Africa countries, iin fact we have investments in 23 African countries and I know that there is a lot of investment opportunities, what we need to do more of in Africa is to ensure that the enabling environment is good. Because if this is done, SMEs will do well, Big businesses will also do well and as our foreign associates and partners see that business is flourishing in Africa, they will come to invest in Africa.
"There is nowhere else you get the kind of ROI that you get in Africa and that is good for Africa, but we need to make sure that the global capital attracted is retained in our continent. We need to encourage entrepreneurship and our young ones, we need to encourage SMEs, and we all are in agreement that that is the way to go to develop Nigeria, and if Nigeria develops, Africa develops.
" I believe that is can only progressively get better, so I as an investor in Nigeria am extremely optimistic about the future and that is what I have been preaching to global partners here to come invest in Africa and Nigeria, the returns are good and the environment and outlook is going to get even better.”