This week, fifteen delegations representing the United Nations and several countries, including Germany, Canada, France, Qatar and Algeria took part in the Tunisian government’s International Investment Conference dubbed “Tunisia 2020.”
In the last 5 years the Tunisian economy has struggled following a democratic uprising which ushered in weak growth and economic uncertainty. The conference sought to attract direct investment by assembling global financial leaders and institutions.
During the event, United Bank for Africa (UBA) Chairman and billionaire philanthropist Tony O. Elumelu, CON called for a shared approach to African development, calling it, “the only route to achieving sustainable economic development, political stability and economic prosperity on the African continent.”
He encouraged youth engagement and pointed to entrepreneurship as the most secure route to sustainable development, saying, “it is imperative for African Leaders to implement growth policies that would see the youths as catalyst to development, thus avoiding the socio-economic crisis as experienced in Tunisia and other countries in Africa in past years.”
Mr. Elumelu promised to support Tunisia’s economic transformation by investing in young aspiring entrepreneurs through his Tony Elumelu Foundation — the leading philanthropy in Africa championing entrepreneurship and entrepreneurs across the continent as the catalyst for sustainable growth in Africa. He pledged to help catapult Tunisian entrepreneurs into the next generation of top African business leaders, through the $100 Tony Elumelu Foundation Entrepreneurship Programme.
Other conference attendees included: Prime Minister of Tunisia, Youssef Chahed; Prime Minister of Algeria, Abdelmalek Sellal; President and Vice-President of European Investment Bank, Werner Hoyer and Andrew McDowell; Chairman of the Arab Fund For Economic and Social Development, Abdul Latif Yousif al-Hamd.
In his opening speech, President of Tunisia, Mr. Beji Caid Essebsi said that the two-day conference, which was attended by more than 2,000 delegates, was designed to generate up to $30 billion for 145 projects over the next four years. All toward a vision of ensuring the North African nation can stem flow of foreign direct investment out of the country’s ailing economy.
On his part, Mr. Elumelu insisted that to stimulate economic growth in Tunisia and Africa as a whole, his economic philosophy of Africapitalism provides a blueprint, saying that African unity should be about shared challenges and experiences, shared ideas and goals, and bonds of blood and trade.
“I believe that shared prosperity can only be achieved when the government and private sector work in shared purpose to advance the economic and social development of nations and the continent.” he said.