At the 5th edition of the annual forum, CGECI Academy 2016, the Ivorian National Council of Employers, General Confederation of Enterprises of Côte d'Ivoire (CGECI) presented African businessman and investor, Tony Elumelu, with its 2016 CGECI Lifetime Achievement Award on April 21, 2016 in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire. The formal presentation was to honour Mr. Elumelu on his leadership and key role as an African business champion. The event was attended by over three thousand delegates across Africa including top government officials, business leaders, established and aspiring entrepreneurs.
Addressing guests present at the event, Chairman of African investments company, Heirs Holdings, UBA Plc and Transcorp Plc, Mr. Tony Elumelu delivered a keynote speech where he advocated for the collaboration of the private and public sectors to create value in the global competitive business landscape. He said, “SMEs are the backbone of any economy anywhere in the world. And when governments ignore the private sector and fail to attend to their obligations to create and sustain enabling environments for businesses to thrive and flourish, the consequences are stark - low GDP growth, mass unemployment, ethnic strife and possibly, even food and health crises and in some cases, violent conflict”.
Mr. Elumelu also addressed entrepreneurs, urging them to seek opportunities to accelerate their business success — including through The Tony Elumelu Foundation Entrepreneurship Programme (TEEP). “We are champions of African development because we are Africapitalists. Through Africapitalism, I seek to evangelize what works for successful business investments and inspire other entrepreneurs like yourselves; to also make the promotion of national and regional development a strategic priority for your businesses”, he said.
TEEP is his 10-year, $100 million commitment, to identify and empower 10,000 African entrepreneurs, create one million jobs and add $10 billion in revenues to Africa’s economy. So far, seventeen (17) entrepreneurs from Côte d'Ivoire have received grants and training from the programme.
Since its initiation in 2012 by the Ivorian National council of Employers, the annual economic forum, CGECI Academy, has provided a platform to raise awareness among African entrepreneurs about existing sources of capital and investors available to help grow and develop their businesses. The forum seeks to change the paradigm of access to finance in Côte d’Ivoire, creating a platform for sharing experiences and expertise. Furthermore, it aims to present the Ivorian private sector to regional and international partners and highlight the achievements and the opportunities within it. Other activities during the event include the announcement of the yearly business plan competition and a segment dedicated to sharing the experiences and testimonials of entrepreneurs.
The ceremony was attended by the Prime Minister of Côte d’Ivoire, Daniel Kablan Duncan, and the Prime Minister of Mauritius, Sir Anerood Jugnauth, among other business leaders and senior government officials.