Tony Elumelu Foundation has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with French Bilateral Development Bank (AFD) to promote youth entrepreneurship in Africa.
Damilola Ayodeji, the Press Officer, French Embassy in Nigeria, said on Monday in Abuja, that the MoU was signed at the end of the 2017 TEF Entrepreneurship Forum recently held in Lagos.
The understanding, he added, was signed by founder of The Tony Elumelu Foundation, Tony Elumelu and Country Director of AFD Nigeria, Olivier Delefosse.
The press officer noted that the event took place in the presence of the Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo and French Ambassador to Nigeria, Denys Gauer.
Elumelu explained during the event that the MoU was a risk-sharing guarantee framework granted by AFD to commercial banks in Africa for loans to young entrepreneurs empowered by the TEF Entrepreneurship Programme.
The foundation boss said “the future of Africa lies in the potential of the private sector to drive sustainable development that will be fuelled by Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs).
“I have always said that if SMEs succeed, the African economy will do well but they need a certain level of financial backing to succeed.
“This partnership with AFD is a step in the right direction, as it will provide thousands of African entrepreneurs with the necessary backing to access bank loans needed to scale up their businesses.’’
In his address, Delefosse said “the role of international donors like AFD is to partner with African foundations and commercial banks to facilitate funding of start-ups and SMEs.
“In addition to providing access to professional networks, business training, mentoring and seed capital, this partnership will top up the TEF Entrepreneurship Programme with additional key tool.
“This Key tool is access to local banking resources, thanks to the guarantee back-up provided by AFD.
“I am proud to support this programme and in doing so, I will contribute to the success of a promising generation of young African entrepreneurs,” Delefosse said.
TEF and AFD agreed to jointly multiply the impact of their operations to promote youth entrepreneurship in Africa as veritable vehicle to create jobs for economic growth and prosperity.
The partnership also offers joint research studies and publications in the area of youth entrepreneurship in Africa, with focus on digital and agricultural sectors to uncover insights that will influence policy formation and the business environment in Africa.
AFD will also promote the TEF mentorship programme to its managers to stimulate volunteers for mentoring young entrepreneurs empowered by the TEF Entrepreneurship Programme.
The AFD is part of France’s official public development aid scheme on a mission given to it by the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Development, the French Ministry of Finance and Public Accounts, and the French Ministry of French Overseas Territories.