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UNDP Partners With The Tony Elumelu Foundation To Empower 100,000 Young Entrepreneurs In Africa

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The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the global development network of the United Nations, has partnered with the Tony Elumelu Foundation (TEF) — Africa’s leading philanthropy committed to empowering entrepreneurs — to train, mentor and financially support 100,000 young entrepreneurs in Africa over 10 years towards the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the African Union’s Agenda 2063.

The TEF-UNDP Sahel Youth Entrepreneurship Programme, which is expected to mobilize support for businesses, aims to generate millions of new jobs and contribute at least $10 billion in new annual revenues across Africa.

This was announced today at the 12th Extraordinary Session of the Assembly of the African Union (AU), where TEF Founder, Tony Elumelu and UNDP Regional Director for Africa, Ahunna Eziakonwa joined African Presidents at the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) Business Forum, where the agreement was signed. The President of Niger, H.E Mahamadou Issoufou joined UNDP and TEF to launch the programme.

The partnership will target young Africans in under-served communities, starting with the Sahel, given the region’s opportunity as the youngest population in the world with 194 million people under 25 years of age (64.5% of the total population). The TEF-UNDP Sahel Youth Entrepreneurship Programme will be implemented through TEF’s flagship Entrepreneurship Programme, which has already benefited 7,520 local entrepreneurs across 54 African countries in just five years of existence. Similarly, the programme builds on UNDP’s YouthConnekt initiative. The aim is to increase job creation through dynamic entrepreneurship and create sustainable economic growth that anchors the development of communities and states.

Speaking on the partnership, Ms. Ahunna Eziakonwa, Assistant Secretary-General and UNDP Regional Director for Africa stated that: “We see Sahel as a land of many opportunities and investing in the youth is a pre-condition to stabilizing the region. The youth should be at the heart of any development agenda. We need to invest in their potential, talent, energy and enthusiasm and create the opportunity for them to fully realize their dreams. That is why UNDP is co-creating development solutions by investing in entrepreneurship models to promote inclusive growth. Partnership with the Sahelian youth entrepreneur is a catalyst for transformation and sustainable development. We call on other private sector entities to join the Tony Elumelu Foundation to support young entrepreneurs”.

On her part, CEO of the Tony Elumelu Foundation, Ifeyinwa Ugochukwu said: “Our partnership with UNDP is welcome and timely – it will directly assist entrepreneurial success in a number of fragile areas and is a testament to the validated approach to philanthropy we have pioneered. Africa needs partners that do not only believe in the potential of its private sector to champion economic development, but backs this with commitment. With this agreement, UNDP has proven to be a true partner to Africa’s entrepreneurs and has demonstrated its commitment to work with us to scale up the impact of this initiative and eliminate poverty on the continent”.

The TEF-UNDP programme is fully aligned with the 1 Million by 2021 Initiative of the Chairperson of the African Union Commission, His Excellency Moussa Faki Mahamat. Launched in April at the AU Headquarters in Addis Ababa, the 1 Million by 2021 Initiative aims to concretely reach 1 million African youth from across the continent with opportunities and interventions in the key areas of Education, Entrepreneurship, Employment and Engagement (4Es) to accelerate Africa’s socio-economic development.

The Chairperson of the AUC speaking at the launch of the 1 Million by 2021 initiative said: “The1 Million by 2021 initiative is an African call to action that aims to ensure that no young persons aged 15-35 is left behind. The initiative adopts a Pan-African outlook and facilitates strategic partnerships to open up new opportunities for young people on the continent…The AU has the expertise, convening power and continental reach at our disposal but that

alone cannot guarantee success. We need commitment from our public and private sector partners to achieve success. In the face of our overwhelming task, a collective effort is necessary to stand and succeed. In Africa, we say, ‘Broomsticks bound together are difficult to break. This is the approach that I implore us to take”.

Through the TEF-UNDP partnership, the selected applicants will each receive a maximum of $5,000 non-refundable seed capital, access to mentors, a 12-week business training and networking opportunities. They will join the previously announced 3,051 beneficiaries of the 2019 cohort of the TEF Entrepreneurship Programme.

The applications will be run on TEFConnect, the largest digital networking platform for African entrepreneurs and forms will be available in any of the branches of the United Bank for Africa (UBA). Following the end of the application window, an initial longlist of 5,500 applicants will be selected to undergo the 12-week business training. After the training, the final shortlist of 2,000 applicants will be announced to join the previous 2019 TEF cohort.

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Mouka Provides Comfort To Nigerians During Crisis, Donates 700 Mattresses [PHOTOS]

Gbemileke Ajayi

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Mouka, Nigeria’s leading manufacturer of mattresses and bedding products, has brought relief to victims of the Abule Ado gas pipeline fire explosion in Lagos with the donation of 200 mattresses.

In the same vein, 500 mattresses were donated to Lagos State towards equipping its isolation centres used for the treatment of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

The socially responsible organisation has risen to the occasion by providing comfort to victims as the well-being of Nigerians is at the core of its mission.
Commenting on the donation of 700 mattresses, the Chief Executive Officer of Mouka, Raymond Murphy, said “The well-being of the Nigerian people is the reason why we are in business. Mouka exists to provide comfort to Nigerians and we stay true to our mission even at this period of national crisis”.

The donation to Abule Ado victims was made through the Lagos State Government to affected families who are in dire need of assistance due to havoc wrecked by the pipeline explosion.

The 500 mattresses for the isolation centres were presented to the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Local Government and Community Affairs, Dr. Taiwo Olufemi Salaam, who represented the Commissioner of the Ministry, Dr. Wale Ahmed, at the State Secretariat Complex, Alausa.

Present to receive the 200 mattresses for Abule Ado victims, was the Director-General, Lagos State Emergency Management Authority (LASEMA), Dr. Damilola Oke-Osanyitolu; at LASEMA office. Both donations were made on Monday, March 30, 2020.

Murphy affirmed that as a responsible organisation, the management of Mouka deemed it necessary to assist the government in bringing succour to victims of the Abule Ado pipeline explosion that led to the loss of lives and property, as well as Nigerians infected with the COVID-19 virus, who are currently being treated at the various isolation centres in Lagos.

“Mouka sees itself as a partner of the government during this crisis. We need to play our part in providing the necessary support required by victims of the gas pipeline explosion. We commend the effort of the Lagos State Government in rehabilitating the victims of the fire. We pray for the departed souls, may they rest in peace. We also pray for those who were injured, may God perfect their healing, and for those who have lost their property, may God replace in many folds”.

The company’s CEO mentioned that the donation of mattresses to isolation centres for COVID-19 was aimed at enhancing government’s effort in providing appropriate treatment for infected persons and also at curtailing the pandemic which has been at the front burner of world leaders.

While receiving the products, Salaam, who was elated at the enormous support, said the intervention was timely, as assistance from private organisations is needed at this crucial time to boost the state’s healthcare facilities.

Also, Oke-Osanyitolu commended Mouka’s effort towards reducing the anguish of victims of Abule Ado fire disaster which has rendered many homeless and in severe health conditions, stating that the donation would be distributed effectively.

Mouka has also joined the Federal and State Governments in appealing to citizens in the country to adhere to measures at combating the spread of COVID-19.

As far back as early February 2020, Mouka had begun raising awareness for Corona Virus prevention on its social media platforms. The company advises citizens to wash their hands regularly, stay at home, and keep to social distancing guidelines when in public, among others.

Mouka manufactures quality brands such as Wellbeing orthopaedic mattresses, Dreamtime water-resistant mattress and Mondeo Spring mattress.

Other products on its stables include Mouka Mozzi, an innovative brand of insect repellent products and wide range of pillows for a comfortable sleep.

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Tony Elumelu Foundation Disburses First Tranche of $5m Partnership Commitment from African Development Bank

Gbemileke Ajayi

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Tony O. Elumelu, CON, has congratulated the African Development Bank (AfDB), and AfDB President Akinwumi Adesina, on their commitment to African entrepreneurship, with the disbursement of $2.5million seed capital to the AfDB-sponsored beneficiaries of the 2019 TEF Entrepreneurship Programme. $2.5m was released today, with the remainder expected to be disbursed to the entrepreneurs in Q12020.

The AfDB commitment follows the recent $8.5 million disbursements from the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) to 2,648 entrepreneurs in the Sahel region and Africa more broadly and further accelerates the economic empowerment generated by the Tony Elumelu Foundation. In 2019, the Foundation significantly increased the scale and reach of it impact, with the number of beneficiarieof its flagship Entrepreneurship Programme rising from its annual commitment of 1,000 to 5,150, in collaboration with global and African partners.

 With its commitment to strengthen small and medium-sized enterprises and develop young entrepreneurs, AfDB joined the growing list of global development institutions benefiting from the Tony Elumelu Foundation’s unique model of identifying, training, mentoring and funding entrepreneurs and start-ups across Africa. The partnership demonstrates the implementation of the AfDB’s ten-year “Jobs for Youth in Africa” strategy, launched in 2016, to support the creation of 25 million meaningful jobs across the continent.

The partnership illustrates TEF’s willingness to share its infrastructure and know-how, with others who share the mission to empower young African entrepreneurs and TEF’s goal of creating millions of jobs, as well as generating

 billions in revenue, to catalyse economic growth across the continent.

The Foundation is currently accepting applications to the 2020 cohort of its flagship Entrepreneurship Programme on TEFConnect.com, Africa’s digital hub for entrepreneurs.

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Dangote Farms Commissions Tomatoes Nursery To Provide Seedlings For Farmers

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In a bid to make Nigeria self-sufficient in tomato production, Dangote Tomatoes Processing Limited, owned by the younger brother of Africa’s richest man, Sani Dangote, has unveiled a N2.8 billion greenhouse nursery in Kano to supply the best quality tomato seedlings to Nigerian farmers.

Speaking on the project, Sani Dangote said the nursery is designed to use the automated Pat Moose planting technology, the first of its kind in Nigeria and has the capacity to process 350 million tonnes of hybrid tomato seedlings per season enabling the planting of 12,000 hectares of tomato farm. The pat moose process takes three weeks before proceeding to the next stage reducing the whole process of growing tomatoes to just 3 months.

He stated that Nigeria consumes about 2.3 million tonnes of tomatoes annually and with the establishment of the nursery, “we have created a capacity to triple tomato production, attaining self-sufficiency in tomato production as well as a potentially exporting surplus to neighboring countries.

“Furthermore, this nursery will produce the highest quality tomato seedling available meaning that the farmers can grow the highest yield tomatoes. Currently, the yields produced by Nigerian farmers are less than the global standard. As a result, farmers will be able to earn more income from selling higher volumes of harvests each season.

“Nigeria is on a trajectory to becoming self-sufficient in rice, tomatoes and poultry production. This means that millions of jobs will be created for her citizens.”, Sani Dangote explained.

The African continent imports $40 billion of food annually despite having 65% of the world’s arable land. The public-private model on-going in Nigeria could be adopted by other African countries to also attain self-sufficiency in food production.

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