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Elumelu@ GEN-U Sahel, Says TEF Funded 10, 898 Entrepreneurs across Africa

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Tony Elumelu, founder and chairman of Tony Elumelu Foundation (TEF), has said that  the foundation has funded 10, 898 entrepreneurs across Africa, who have gone on to create further 400, 000 direct and indirect jobs across the continent.

Elumelu@ GEN-U Sahel, Says TEF Funded 10, 898 Entrepreneurs across Africa

Tony Elumelu, founder and chairman of Tony Elumelu Foundation

Elumelu, also chairman of the United Bank for Africa (UBA) Group and HEIRS Holding, who made the disclosure when he joined other world leaders to launch an initiative tagged, ‘Generation Unlimited (GEN-U) Sahel: A Leap For Sahel Youth,’ aimed at connecting Sahel’s young people to opportunities, noted that giving economic power to young Africans remained the only solution to the continent’s developmental challenges.

Elumelu explained that 65 per cent of people living in the Sahel region are less than 25 years of age and remain adversely affected by the pandemic, among other challenges, which has forced more than two million people to flee their homes with millions losing their major sources of livelihoods as resources are scarce and opportunities are limited leading to more tensions and conflicts in the region.

He said, “Empowering and investing in our people, especially our young ones in the Sahel to give them economic hope and opportunities is the only solution. This is what we believe in at the Tony Elumelu Foundation (TEF) and we are happy that global partners also buy into this vision. As I have always said, poverty anywhere is a threat to all of us.”

Elumelu said TEF has provided over $5000 non-refundable seed capital per beneficiary, business training and mentoring for young entrepreneurs to scale their enterprises.

“We have funded 10, 898 entrepreneurs across Africa, these young Africans entrepreneurs have gone on to create further 400, 000 direct and indirect jobs across the continent,” he said.

“In 2019, we partnered with the United Nation Development Programme (UNDP) to identify , train, mentor and fund 2100 young entrepreneurs in the Sahel region and these includes Northern Nigeria, Burkina Faso, Mali, Niger, Chad, Cameroun and Mauritania.

“Again in 2020 in the heat of the pandemic we partnered with UNDP to train 1860 young Malians which face a triple threats of conflicts , insecurity and poverty as well as loss of means of livelihood from climate change, through our interventions we are well able to create small businesses and generate economic pool in the youth; channeling their creativity and skills to transform the Sahel region.”

In his own remarks at the launch which held virtually, Alexander De Croo, Prime Minister of Belgium, said the young people from the Sahel would bring improvement and change needed in the region if given the opportunity.

He explained that among the many challenges facing young people two were more important and pledged to work with Nigeria in the field of digital space.

“First strengthening education systems from basic education to vocational training to supporting young people finding employment and addressing the lack of governance and political representation from young people,” he said.

Referred to as “Gen-U,” the Generation Unlimited initiative is aimed at maximising opportunities in the Sahel, towards equipping 100 million young people with the skills needed to thrive by 2030.

The Sahel region includes Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Chad, The Gambia, Guinea Mauritania, Mali, Niger, Nigeria and Senegal.

The initiative, which involves a huge partnership between the government, multilateral organisations, civil societies and private sectors from all over the world, was launched on Monday.

Mrs Amina Mohammed,  UN official, who officially launched the initiative, said “the GenU Sahel is an especially important and urgent initiative as millions of people living in the Sahel face insecurity and serious challenges to sustainable development complicated by the devastating pandemic”.

She noted that “the Sahel is young with over 64 per cent of people under 25 and more than half are women and girls”.

“The United Nations stands with young people, the ongoing conversation between the United Nations and Young people of the Sahel launched under our integrated strategy for the Sahel are helping us to understand your priorities and hopes, so that we can integrate them into our support for the region.

“Young people’s few points and approaches are essential to making the Sahel peaceful, resilient and prosperous today and tomorrow. The security council resolution creating the UN integrated strategy for the development of the Sahel is focused on Women and Young people but it remains challenging to make tangible progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs),” she said.

Also speaking, Mr Moussa Faki said the African Union and UNICEF had made a commitment to intensify the initiative beyond this year, adding that the partnership is important in order to “federate synergy around the issues surrounding the young people”.

Jayathma Wickramanayake, UN secretary general’s Envoy on Youth emphasised on the need for inclusion for the success of the program, not only in the Sahel but around the world.

The launch also featured a panel session with young leaders and other speakers, which include Emanuela Claudia Del Re, EU Special Representative for the Sahel; Sanda Ojiambo, CEO & Executive Director, United Nations Global Compact; Cynthia Samuel-Olanjuwon, Assistant Director General & Regional Director Africa; and Argentina Matavel Piccin, Regional Director UNFPA West & Central.

Gen U was first launched at the 73rd United Nations General Assembly, in September 2018, as a global multi-sector partnership to meet the urgent need for expanded education, training and employment opportunities for young people, aged 10 to 24, on an unprecedented scale.

Generation Unlimited has generated interest from government and leaders from industry and other key sectors committed to cohere efforts around young people for large-scale impact.

The GenU Sahel will focus on the provision of relevant skills, opportunities for employment, entrepreneurship, and social impact for people in the Sahel region.


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AfDB Appoints Dr Babatunde Samson Omotosho as Director of Statistics Department

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African Development Bank has appointed Dr Babatunde Samson Omotosho, an economist and statistician, as Director of the Statistics Department, effective June 16, 2024.

Dr Babatunde Samson Omotosho

Dr Omotosho, a Nigerian national, has more than 21 years experience in developing data strategies to align with the strategic objectives of organisations. He also brings expertise in data compilation, data analytics, macroeconomic research, and policy analysis.

Omotosho previously served as Director of Research and Statistics at the West African Monetary Agency (WAMA) in Sierra Leone, where he was seconded from the Central Bank of Nigeria. At WAMA, he provided advice on monetary and economic integration within the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).

Prior to that he held various positions within the Statistics and Research Departments of the Central Bank of Nigeria.

As an Assistant Director in the Statistics Department, he led the data analytics team and managed the Central Bank’s strategic initiatives on big data and data analytics. He oversaw projects aimed at enhancing data analytics capabilities for policymaking, automating surveys and statistical systems, improving data sharing infrastructure and developing social media listening tools. His leadership fostered a culture of data analytics within the Central Bank, driving innovation and efficiency in operational and policy processes.

Dr Omotosho holds a PhD in Economics from the University of Glasgow, United Kingdom (2021); a master’s degree in Applied Statistics and Datamining from the University of St Andrews, United Kingdom (2011); a master’s degree in Economics from the University of Benin, Nigeria (2008); and a Bachelor’s degree in Economics from the University of Ilorin, Nigeria (2000).

He has contributed extensively to academic literature, with publications in reputable journals, including the Journal of Economic Dynamics & Control, Journal of International Money & Finance, Macroeconomic & Finance in Emerging Market Economies, and the Central Bank of Nigeria Journal of Applied Statistics. His research covers big data, econometrics, monetary and fiscal policy interactions, business cycle drivers, and the macroeconomic implications of resource shocks for small open, emerging economies.

Omotosho is a member of the Nigerian Statistical Association, the International Association for Official Statistics, and the Royal Statistical Society.

Commenting on his appointment, he said, “I am grateful to President Adesina for this appointment, and I am excited about the opportunity to contribute to the continued success and growth of the African Development Bank Group, an institution that plays such a pivotal role in the economic and social development of our beloved continent, Africa. I am fully committed to fulfilling the responsibilities of the position while collaborating effectively with the Bank’s senior leadership team, colleagues, and other strategic partners.”

Dr Akinwumi A. Adesina, President of the African Development Bank Group, commented: “I am pleased to appoint Dr Babatunde Samson Omotosho, a respected statistician, as Director of the Statistics Department. Dr Omotosho brings to this role an impressive track record in statistics, economics, and data analytics. He will support the Bank in building a robust data ecosystem to achieve our strategic objectives and sustain our long-term development goals.”


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ATII Awards Scholarship to Students

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A knowledge transfer and technology innovation hub, African Technology and Innovation Institutes (ATII) has awarded scholarships to ten pupils from Bridge International Academy, Lagos.

Through its Junior Scholars Program in partnership with Lumina Educational and Empowerment Foundation (Lumina), the scholarship will meet the educational needs of the benefitting pupils through their primary education, which is extendable to their university education.

The Junior Scholars Program is an offshoot of  ATII’s  Innovation, Leaders, Fellowship and Scholars Program that aims to empower and cater to the welfare of students aged 3-12 years from underprivileged and low-income communities by partnering with other organisations to provide scholarships for these rough diamonds.

In addition to the scholarship, ATII also provides STEM-based back-to-school kits and other Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) materials to spark their desire for education and to contribute to their communities in STEM-related fields.

In her congratulatory message, the Founder of ATII,  Prof. Rose-Margaret Ekeng-Itua represented by Mr Sunday Awolowo, ATII’s Programs Manager, praised the students for their “outstanding academic excellence” and their “resolve to continue to improve in their academic pursuits, especially in the STEM fields.”

“We hope that the scholarships will continue to encourage you to do great work to pursue STEM. We hope one day in the future you all will be inspired to be an Engineer, a technologist, a mathematician or scientist,” Prof. Ekeng-Itua said.

The ATII Junior Scholars Program is designed to encourage and support students who are interested in pursuing careers in these fields.

Mrs Ezinne Tochie-Asogwa, Manager of Academics at Bridge International Academy, expressed her appreciation to ATII for the generous gesture.

“On behalf of the management and staff of Bridge International Academy, we appreciate the kind gesture of ATII.

ATII is passionate about the next generation of leaders and individuals who will change the world, pursuing its mission to promote African and Indigenous Technologies, while supporting human capital development in alignment with the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

The ATII scholarships will provide financial assistance to the students as they continue their education in STEM fields. The program will also provide mentorship and support from ATII professionals.

 


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CBN, FintechNGR Chart the Way Forward to Enhance Nigeria’s Fintech Ecosystem

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In light of recent developments aimed at strengthening Nigeria’s fintech sector, Ade Bajomo, President of FintechNGR, led a team from the Association’s Governing Council in an engagement with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to chart the way forward.

Receiving the team at the CBN headquarters in Abuja, Philip Ikeazor, Deputy Governor, Financial System Stability, commended FintechNGR’s active advocacy efforts that have significantly improved the fintech ecosystem.

The Central Bank emphasized the need for the Association to work closely with stakeholders to operate within regulatory provisions, facilitate compliance, and establish robust risk management frameworks and governance structures.

Mr. Ikeazor stated, “The Central Bank understands the critical roles of fintechs in driving financial inclusion to the last mile. Our efforts are geared towards helping fintechs become more attractive to investors and achieve greater success.”

During the meeting, Ade Bajomo noted that while stakeholders strive to comply with regulatory requirements, they sometimes face challenges beyond their control.

“The common understanding within our ecosystem is that compliance makes the environment safer for all to innovate, scale, and collaborate. FintechNGR will ensure the co-creation of a support structure with the CBN to enhance compliance.”

Some of the initiatives the regulators plan to pursue with the ecosystem include making the 2024 Nigeria Fintech Week more impactful, enriching the activities of the Regulators Forum, organizing fintech learning series for various stakeholders, and exploring self-regulation status for FintechNGR to foster closer relationships with regulators.

FintechNGR remains committed to working with all regulators to better position the ecosystem to be more inclusive and impactful.

 


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