Tony Elumelu, Chairman, Heirs Holdings and UBA Plc and Founder of the Tony Elumelu Foundation, has stressed the opportunities Africa offers and urged stronger business relationships between France and Africa; calling for a deepening of commercial relationships based on mutual respect and interest.
He made this call at the recent MEDEF Summer University Forum in Paris, the annual meeting of French business and political leaders, the Forum which is one of France’s leading gatherings, bringing together over 7,500 business and opinion leaders, including Heads of State, government officials, political and business leaders, academics and over 450 French and international journalists.
As a leading advocate for the African private sector and champion of African entrepreneurship, Elumelu, said, “France and Africa must continue to partner in a manner that brings about positive change.”
He urged France to look beyond its traditional relationships with Francophone countries, important as they are, and to embrace Anglophone and Lusophone Africa.
He called on small and large businesses in France and in Africa to seek ways of collaborating in order to deepen economic ties. “France has very strong links with Francophone Africa, and we would like to see you engage more commercially with the Anglophone countries; creating a new form of economic and commercial partnership between France and the whole of Africa,” he said.
Elumelu has long been an advocate of Africa on the rise and seized the opportunity to encourage businesses to invest on the continent, which has so much to offer in returns. He highlighted the role of Africans themselves investing on the continent while making a call to the French public and private sector to do the same, stating that there is nowhere else that can give as much return on investment as in Africa.
He advised governments to support the private sector, in order to create more value in the society.
“What is good for the private sector is also good for society. The private sector is best placed to assist government achieve its mandate. If the private sector succeeds, it creates more jobs, enhances security, and improves living standards”, he said.