Africapitalism for Africa's Economic Revolution   

If you had $100million at hand, what would you do with it? The answers to this question are as diverse as the globe’s 7billion population. But for some Africans, like Tony Elumelu, the founder of the Tony Elumelu Foundation, it means investing that sum to create 10,000 start-ups, one million jobs that will generate $10billion in revenue growth across the continent over a span of 10 years. 

The Tony Elumelu Foundation, for the second year has hosted the TEF Entrepreneurship Forum in Lagos, Nigeria where over 1000 entrepreneurs convened based on the Africapitalism concept. They empower the next generation of entrepreneurs who go through an intense mentoring experience that transforms their approach to doing business so that, they in turn transform their communities through the creation of jobs, the improvement of their socio-economic standing and income generation in sustainable ways. This shows that Africa needs an economic revolution in the Private Sector and Africapitalism is the new kid on the block. 

This concept of Africapitalism is quickly catching fire across the business community in Africa. Essentially, Africapitalism is an all inclusive ‘economic philosophy that is based on the belief that a vibrant African-led private sector is key to unlocking Africa’s economic and social potential.’  A survey of 304 agriculture entrepreneurs from the 2015 class, showed that over 15,000 jobs were created in several communities across Africa.  

Africa needs an economic revolution in the Private Sector and Africapitalism is the new kid on the block.

According to Parminder Vir OBE, CEO of the Tony Elumelu Foundation (TEF), their approach is to create an entrepreneurship format that lasts—one that is longterm, sustainable and replicable, that is Private Sector led and one that entails training, mentorship and support through seed capital. As a result, the TEF has built a PanAfrican brand in only two years since their inception and have placed the foundation and the entrepreneurship programme on the global level. 

“There is no shortage of capital in Africa, but there is a shortage of presentable business plans, that need to be executed to a paying customer and client base. This is what Angel investors are looking for,” said Parminder Vir OBE.

It goes without saying that out of the 400million entrepreneurs across the world, Africans are among the most enterprising group. The Top 10 fastest growing countries are in Africa, but their currencies are doing so badly mainly because businesses are mostly based on commodity dependent growth. Countries like Uganda, Angola, Bostwana and Bukina Faso lead in entrepreneurship ventures among so many others, yet, where is all this money at when it comes to investment, revenue growth? 

The idea of giving away that huge chuck of money by an African for the sole benefit of other Africans is not a popular concept, not yet, but soon. Let’s put this into perspective—there have been endless stories and pleas for help to ‘kick poverty’ off the continent, but that has taken centuries to beat. The reasons are realistically endless and range from foreign aid dependency, colonisation, poor and difficult terrains to manoeuvre, poverty in the family, poverty in the village, poverty in the country, disease, wars, floods, corruption, blood minerals, et cetera. 

Africapitalism is quite practical- possibly the beginning of a business movement that will transform Africa’s economic standing

Yet there are also other reasons that are blatant excuses to shift the responsibility away from the task of changing the African narrative. In the business sense, it is extremely hard work to cultivate the discipline of pitching a proper business plan that is sustainable, that solves a societal problem and makes money at the same time. Additionally, access to real data from the continent’s entrepreneurs is what pools in partnerships for investments on a continent where analysis of the entrepreneurial landscape is limited.

So let’s imagine that there were 100 Tony Elumelu’s investing $100million in investment across the continent. This alone would create a major leapfrog to a future with unimaginable transformation on the African continent. This might sound so theoretical and not make much business sense for the random entrepreneur but coming from a business mind, Africapitalism is quite practical- possibly the beginning of a business movement that will transform Africa’s economic standing.

In her presentation on Africapitalism, Somachi Chris- Asoluka, said that by 2050 there will be a $29trillion economy rise in Africa. This shows that while fast relief from development aid and support of partners is great, it is not sustainable in the long run. The time for African entrepreneurs to leapfrog into the future is at hand, and Africapitalism is the next bus to catch.

Those who have benefited from the Tony Elumelu way, look out for the handbook on business values by Tony O. Elumelu CON. set to be released mid 2017. 

Photo Credits: Economind


More from aKoma