ICRC partners Tony Elumelu Foundation to create economic opportunities in conflict-prone regions

Tony Elumelu and Peter Maurer ICRC

Founder of the Tony Elumelu Foundation, Tony Elumelu,
and President of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), Peter
Maurer, have proffered entrepreneurship as the most sustainable solution to
accelerating Africa’s transformation.

They made this assertion at the forum in Lagos on Thursday organised by ICRC.

During a one-on-one conversation at the event, both speakers called for a new private-sector-led approach to human development in Africa.

Speaking at the forum, Mr Maurer commended the Tony
Elumelu Foundation’s private-sector-led approach as the gold standard of
humanitarian development in Africa focused on impacting lives at scale and
transforming the continent.

Maurer said: “On one side, it is important that
we assist and protect people when they are disrupted by violence and war. But
what brought me together with Tony is not the white shirt and the blue suit, it
is his deep conviction that with longer and protracted conflict we need to
bring people much earlier into independence.

“We need, more than ever, in the most fragile, violent
parts of society to show the pathway to independence and to a dignified life
and this goes with income-generating activities, productive activities, with
small businesses. This is why we partnered with the Tony Elumelu Foundation.”

On his part, during the discussion themed “Private Sector Partnerships with Humanitarian Organisations: Putting People First”, Elumelu commended Maurer’s leadership and the decision to partner with the Tony Elumelu Foundation to eradicate extremism and violence.

He said: “Through the partnership between TEF and ICRC, a lot is happening that shows the catalytic impact of your vision. Ours was the first-ever partnership that ICRC had explored using a different approach to humanitarian development, from the angle of empowering the private sector.

“Today, the Tony Elumelu Foundation has partnered with
AfDB on empowering 1000 beneficiaries, UNDP which started with 1000
entrepreneurs and has now been scaled up to empower 100,000 African
entrepreneurs starting with the Sahel region. The most important thing is that
we give economic hope and opportunity to our people and reduce the cases of
fragility that we see across the continent.”

In 2018, ICRC and Tony Elumelu Foundation partnered to
sponsor 200 entrepreneurs from the North East and Niger Delta regions of
Nigeria to catalyse and accelerate transformation while scaling impact in conflict-prone
areas. The intervention is built on the existing Tony Elumelu Foundation’s $100
million commitment to empower 10,000 young African entrepreneurs in 10 years
across the continent. Driven by the economic philosophy of Africapitalism, it
represents a bottom-up approach with the goal of creating millions of jobs and
increased revenue on the continent.

Present at the event were Princess Aderemi Adebowale, representing the governor of Lagos State, Babajide Sanwo-Olu; Babatunde Runwase, President, Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry; Juan Luis Coderque Galligo, Head, New Financing Models, ICRC; and Ifeyinwa Ugochukwu, CEO, Tony Elumelu Foundation; among others.

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