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Women Take The Lead As Tony Elumelu’s Foundation Unveils 2021 Beneficiaries

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Women Take The Lead As Tony Elumelu’s Foundation Unveils 2021 Beneficiaries

By

John Michael Ojo

Africas largest platform for the development and empowerment of African entrepreneurs, Tony Elumelu Foundation, has unveiled its 2021 beneficiaries of 4949 entrepreneurs, cutting across different sectors among the 54 countries in Africa.

The event which took place on Friday had a total of 68.7% of women entrepreneurs as beneficiaries.

At the inauguration, the Director of Operation, Tony Elumelu Foundation, Titi Akinola stated that African entrepreneurs hold many possibilities to transform the continent and that the day was to celebrate the dynamism, resilience, and the abilities of these entrepreneurs.

She said: “Today we are supporting the eco-system, working to meet the immediate needs of African entrepreneurs whether be it access to space, access to training and resources, access to funding, access to dignity and agency all working together to make sure that the challenges of inaccessibility are solved.”

Describing the impact Covid-19 had on African entrepreneurs, Akinola stated that African entrepreneurs were the most vulnerable as so many small and medium scale enterprises were deeply affected with so many dreams dashed and plans halted.

Akinola who revealed that the foundation did not follow its business plan last years due to the pandemic stressed that the foundation was a source of encouragement and hope to hundreds of thousands of young entrepreneurs in the continent and that it did things a little bit different.

READ ALSO: Tony Elumelu Foundation Funds 5000 From 54 African Countries In 2021

“We leveraged heavily on technology, for the first time we made our training modules and other resources available to hundreds of thousands of entrepreneurs, providing them with ready made solutions at the comfort of their home. Our modules this year were designed to accommodate entrepreneurs with different learning abilities, ensuring that no one is left out of our intervention”, she said.

She thanked the partners of the foundation, noting that it would not have been possible to achieve this great feat if they were not supportive. She also used the occasion to plead that the partners should continue to support African entrepreneurs by liking, purchasing, investing or providing extra funding for the businesses of young African entrepreneurs.

Unveiling the 2021 TEF beneficiaries, the Chairman of Evon Health Care and Chief Executive Officer of Evon Medicals, Dr. Awele Elumelu who doubles as the co-founder, Tony Elumelu Foundation, commended the 2021 TEF applicants who she  said showed deligency, hardwork, innovation and resilience.

She stated that “The aim of TEF was to empower ten thousand African entrepreneurs in ten years with an average of a thousand beneficiary each year. I am pleased to announce to you that we have an exact figure, four thousand four hundred and forty-nine African entrepreneurs. I am also happy to note that this year’s class has the highest number of female beneficiaries constituting 68 percent. By now I am sure you know that if you empower a woman, you empower a whole community and create a brighter society for all.

“This class as previous years represents a diverse range of interests from agriculture to health care, education and fashion all working towards a common goal. These men and women are disruptors, innovators and are the future leaders of industries. I am confident that these men and women will be excellent ambassadors of the foundation and for entrepreneurship programme. I am excited to see and read about their future success,” she added.

On her part, a panelist and one of the 2021 beneficiaries, Lungile Divine Marhungane a South African from Limpopo Province disclosed that the has received a lot of support and mentorship from the foundation since she was selected for the programme. Marhungane noted that it was one thing to have a business plan in mind and another thing to implement that and that the foundation has helped her with  many other things.

Referring to her childhood experience and her inspiration, she said: “My business is water purification. I grew up in an environment  where water is not easily accessible and when it is accessible, it will not be clean and we all know that water needs to be clean in order to prevent otherwise. So, I use Marcadamia shells to purify water instead of chemicals.”

Also, Leroy Mwasaru, an alumni of the foundation and founder of Greenpact who runs a bio-gas energy industry in Kenya said he became a beneficiary of TEF at the age of eighteen. He described the support he has got from the foundation as what is obtainable in  a father and son relationship.

READ ALSO: Tony Elumelu Foundation Announces Three Senior Executive Appointments

Mwasaru stated that he was into waste management when he was selected and has now diversified into bio-gas with about thirty employees currently working with him.

He urged  intending entrepreneurs to start regardless of the little resource they have even if no one was watching. “If you start something, the universe will conspire to make the mission possible for you. You must be focused, because as a young person, there are so many things in the space and it is just important for you to know the right thing for you and the number of right decisions that you make,” he cautioned.

Founder of the Tony Elumelu Foundation, Mr. Tony O. Elumelu said:  “To you young African entrepreneurs – work hard, dream dreams, and be very disciplined. You must continue to think of impact. The entrepreneurship journey is not linear – there are ups and downs, but by staying focused and resilient, ultimately success will come your way. The future of our continent is in your hands. What you do as entrepreneurs will go a long way in lifting Africa out of poverty. I am happy that our female entrepreneurs are doing very well, with 68% representation this year.”

He added: “To our African leaders –  these young, intelligent, energetic hardworking, resilient Africans are ready to go. We need to keep creating the right enabling environment to enable our young ones to succeed. We must realise that their success is success for all of us on the continent. We must prioritise them because nations and continents that prioritise their people, succeed. To my fellow business leaders, let us realise that in the 21st century and beyond, it is about impact, legacy and about how we work together to power people out of poverty. It is such a great feeling to see 5000 young Africans also commence their own entrepreneurial journeys today.”

In his remarks, President Muhammadu Buhari described Tony Elumelu as a global icon, whose business and philanthropic interests have continued to create opportunities for growth and development not only in Nigeria, but Africa in general.

“I would like to specifically congratulate the Tony Elumelu Foundation on this extraordinary humanitarian act of funding 4,949 entrepreneurs!

“I am particularly pleased that this year alone, the Tony Elumelu Foundation will fund 1,522 Nigerian entrepreneurs from all the 36 States and Federal Capital Territory of the Federation. This unifying act by a private sector leader is commendable and worthy of emulation by others,” the President said.

READ ALSO; Shell sells 30% stake in OML 17 to Elumelu’s TNOG

He noted that entrepreneurship and youth empowerment were important components of the work of his administration, adding that, “we believe that they are the key to the future and recognize that by empowering our youth, we will build businesses that in turn sustain our economy.”

Also speaking at the event, Assistant Administrator, UNDP/Director, UNDP Regional Bureau for Africa, Ms. Ahunna Eziakonwa stated: “Our partnership with the Tony Elumelu Foundation on youth entrepreneurship is informed by our belief that Africa will only succeed when young Africans are given the opportunity to excel. This is what has inspired us to invest more than $20 million in emerging African entrepreneurs since we entered into our partnership with the Tony Elumelu Foundation. Our joint ambition is to empower 100,000 young African entrepreneurs over the next ten years across Africa, recognising that entrepreneurship is the only way dreams can be realised.”

In her closing remark, the Chief Executive Officer of Tony Elumelu Foundation, Ifeyinwa Ugochukwu stated that the foundation has trained more entrepreneurs this year than it has done since its inception. “Today, we have trained ten times more young African entrepreneurs than we have trained from 2015 to 2019 combined. Today in 2021, we will be paying out a record US$24,750,000 directly to the hands of African entrepreneurs from all 54 African countries. This is impact,” she added.

 

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CBN Retains MPR At 11.5 Per Cent

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CBN Retains MPR At 11.5 Per Cent

Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Governor Godwin Emefiele has disclosed that the Monetary Policy Rate remains 11.5 per cent.

Emefiele spoke with journalists after the first Monetary Policy Committee meeting for the year held in Abuja on Tuesday.

Other parameters left unchanged are the Cash Reserve Ratio and Liquidity Ratio at 27.5 per cent and 30 per cent respectively.

READ ALSO: Buhari Approves Suspension Of Fuel Subsidy Removal

Announcing the committee’s decision, Emefiele said : “After a careful balancing of the benefits and the downside risks of the policy options, the MPC decided to hold all parameters constant, believing that a whole stance will enable the continuous permeation of current policy measures in supporting the recorded growth recovery and further boost production and productivity which will ultimately rein in inflation in the short to medium term.

“The MPC thus decided by a unanimous vote, the MPC voted as follows, one, retain MPR at 11.5 per cent; retain the asymmetric corridor of +100/-700 basis points around the MPR; retain the CRR at 27.5 per cent; and retain the Liquidity Ratio at 30 per cent.”

 

 

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Dangote Refinery To Begin Operations Before End Of Third Quarter Of 2022

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Dangote Refinery To Begin Operations Before End Of Third Quarter Of 2022

The Dangote Refinery and Fertiliser projects is set to come on stream before the end of third quarter of this year.

This was disclosed by Alhaji Aliko Dangote, President of Dangote Group, when Dr. Akinwumi Adesina, President of the African Development Bank (AfDB) led a delegation of the bank to the project site in Lagos.

“The refinery will commence operation by the third quarter of 2022. On the mechanical completion, we are almost finished but we have started hydro testing, almost 70 per cent gone, hopefully before the end of Q3 operation will commence,” Dangote said.

READ ALSO: Dangote Tells Court American Ex-mistress Trying To Extort $5m

Group Executive Director, Strategy, Portfolio Development & Capital Projects, Dangote Industries Limited, Devakumar Edwin, said the refinery complex, which includes a refinery, petrochemical plant, a fertiliser plant and a subsea pipeline project, is the largest single-train refinery in the world.

Edwin stated that the 650,000 barrels-per-day refinery would stimulate economic development in Nigeria.

According to him, Dangote Petroleum Refinery can meet 100 per cent of the Nigerian requirement of all liquid products (Gasoline, Diesel, Kerosene and Aviation Jet), and also have surplus of each of these products for export.

He stated that this would create a market for $11 billion per annum of Nigerian crude and foreign exchange savings/earnings $9.9 billion.

“We have impacted on job creation with 3,580 Nigerian personnel on site, excluding employment by the various contractors and subcontractors at the site,” he noted.

Commending Dangote for the initiative, the AfDB President said, “One of the things I admire the most about Alhaji Dangote is that, he actually believes in Nigeria, and he invests his money in Nigeria. He believes in Africa and invests in Africa. Nobody could invest the type of billions of dollars that is here, unless the person not only has the vision but also the commitment and passion for his country. We are extremely proud of you and of your commitment to the continent.

“I am completely blown away with what I saw here today. I can’t believe what I saw. This project will reverse the huge sum the nation spends on foreign exchange. When you look at how much we import, it is about $57 billion worth of different products and we export only about $50.4 billion, so we have to balance that with about $7 billion and talking to them here, they showed us that they can have a domestic market of about $11 billion and that is an incredible market and that will save Nigeria about $9 billion, a year from importing petroleum products. So, this is huge for Nigeria and even for Africa as a continent.”

 

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AMCON Seizes Ibadan Electricity Company

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AMCON Seizes Ibadan Electricity Company

The Assets Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON) has taken over the Ibadan Electricity Distribution Company (IBEDC) Ltd.

This was disclosed on Friday by the Chief Operating Officer, John Ayodele, in an internal memo to members of staff.

“Further, to the judgment wherein the Federal High Court on the 8th of September 2021 granted preservative orders in favour of Asset Management Corporation, AMCON, (being the Receiver/Manager of Integrated Energy Distribution and Marketing Limited); the court has appointed Mr Kunle Ogunba Esq.SAN to act as Receiver/ Manager Nominee in the receivership action,” Mr Ayodele said.

Mr Ayodele also disclosed that the receiver appointed, Mr Ogunba, had already held a meeting with the management staff.

The action follows the judgement by the Federal High Court on September 8, 2021, which granted orders in favour of AMCON as Receiver/Manager of Integrated Energy Distribution and Marketing (IEDM) Limited, IBEDC’s core investor, over defaults in a Loan Service Agreement with Polaris Bank.

READ ALSO: Appeal Court Rejects Jimoh Ibrahim’s Bid To Repossess Assets Seized By AMCON Over N70bn Debt

The takeover also includes the assets of IEDM, including shares and interests in related companies and entities, in addition to the monies kept in banks.

In 2018, the NERC in an order on June 19, 2018, directed IBEDC to commence the process of dissolution of its Board within 21 days period, citing alleged delay in the repayment of some loans by IBEDC investors.

The loan was granted by IBEDC from funds released to all DisCos by the CBN under the Nigeria Electricity Market Stabilisation Funds (NEMSF) for the purpose of improving the networks and reducing aggregate technical, commercial and collection losses.

The IBEDC, led by Tunde Ayeni, responded that the electricity company had completely fulfilled its financial commitments.

In response, the directors of the electricity company sued NERC for its decision to suspend them from the Board of IBEDC.

In July 2020, the Federal High Court in Abuja set aside the order from NERC that removed the Tunde Ayeni-led Board of Directors of the IBEDC.

 

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