United Bank of Africa Global Chairman Tony Elumelu has asked governments in the East African Community (EAC) to create a conducive environment to encourage young people to become entreprenuers.
“Over depending on foreign investors will not drive economic development in the region. EAC should empower its population to be entrepreneurs. This will create more jobs in the region. However, in order for the locals to be entrepreneurs governments should ensure that the environment is conducive for them,” he said.
Elumelu was in the region recently to tout the Tony Elumelu Entrepreneurship Programme Fund. Launched late last year, Elumelu put aside $100 million of this fortune to provide seed money for viable start-up businesses across the continent.
While in Kampala, Elumelu said although young people and women make up the largest part of most populations in the five member states, they remain vulnerable segments. He said they are not active in starting up small and medium enterprises because of the unfavourable business environment.
“In Uganda we have selected , a total of 45 entrepreneurs who were selected to attend an entrepreneurship training and mentoring camp in Lagos, Nigeria. After the training, the entrepreneurs will each receive seed capital worth $5,000 dollars to grow their business ideas to the next level,” Elumelu told several invited CEOs during a dinner hosted by UBA Uganda Limited.
Prior to this, the Chairman had a closed meeting with President, Yoweri Museveni, Central Bank of Uganda Governor Professor Emmanuel Tumisiime Mutebile and leding local entrepreneurs.
UBA (Uganda) managing Director. Wilbrod Owor said, “As UBA we guarantee our customers that the bank will continue supporting them with wide range of financial product because our existence in East Africa particularly in Uganda is to see that private sector develop without strong private sector Banks cannot exists.”
UBA is based in Lagos Nigeria.