#TEFforum2018: AkuffoAddo, Kenyatta Laud Tony Elumelu for Investing in Young African Entrepreneurs
Presidents Nana Akuffo
Addo of Ghana and Uhuru Kenyatta of Kenya have both described the investments in African entrepreneurs, by Philantrophist Mr Tony O. Elumelu, CON as apt and the right path for the economic transformation of the region. They shared this at the just concluded fourth edition of the Tony Elumelu Foundation forum for 1,460 entrepreneurs in Lagos.
Kenyan President Mr Uhuru Kenyatta who joined the event via a video broadcast described the initiative as a remarkable step by Nigerian business leader, to empower African entrepreneurs to be change agents in the region. He challenged the young entrepreneurs to seize opportunities & turn
them into successes, believing that they are a generation that knows no borders in exploration. The Kenyan leader used the occasion to call on African governments to give top priority to enterprise studies, which should be integrated into the curriculum of schools and colleges across the continent. Kenyatta noted that a strategic public-private partnership was vital to supporting enterprise development in Africa, even as he acknowledged the fact that the young people are driving positive change through technology.
Ghanaian President Mr Nana Akuffo Addo who was the special guest at the 2018 TEF forum said the reason he attended the event, was to support the remarkable work of the Tony Elumelu Foundation in the area
of entrepreneurship. President Akuffo Addo believes the visioner and founder of the initiative Mr Tony O. Elumelu, CON was making a very good investment in entrepreneurship; because it will drive the ingenuity, innovation and creativity of the young entrepreneurs in Africa.
The Ghanaian leader shared that strong market economies provide the platform for economic development and entrepreneurship is the gateway for achieving it. He alluded to the point raised by his Kenyan counterpart that strategic collaboration between the public and private sector will go a long way in boosting enterprise development in the region.
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On his part Mr Tony O. Elumelu, CON thanked the two African leaders for their time at the 2018 TEF forum, while he acknowledged the fact that the transformation of Africa will not occur without the support of political leaders. The Philanthropist said “These Young Africans justify our confidence in them through their ambition and commitment to succeed. We know entrepreneurship is the way to create jobs, eliminate poverty and grow wealth”.
Mr Elumelu shared that his motivation for investing in the TEF forum was borne out of the desire to empower young
entrepreneurs to create wealth and also provide a platform that harnesses their ideas, energies, passion, creativity and ingenuity which will position them to transform Africa. The TEF forum an initiative of the Tony Elumelu Foundation, has since inception in 2015 empowered 4,000 African entrepreneurs with the seed capital of about $20m.
Apart from these an additional 460 entrepreneurs were sponsored in the 2018 TEF forum edition by international agencies like the United Nations Development Programme,(UNDP)
International Committee of the Red Cross,(ICRC) and GIZ-Germany through a memorandum of understanding with the foundation. This is part of the goal of the foundation which is to invest $100m in 10,000 African entrepreneurs over a decade (2015-2025), with the expectation that they will create about 1million jobs during the period and attract investments worth $10bn into the continent.
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Strengthening social investment schemes to protect the poor
N-SIP: Beleaguered Nigerian scheme struggles to make impact…By Jerome Onoja
Experts have stressed
the role of combined efforts between public office holders and theprivate sector towards social investment schemes in the quest to reduce poverty in Africa.
Goal two of the Sustainable Development Goals, developed in 2016, strives for “Zero Hunger” by 2030. There are large differences among continents in the prevalence of severe food insecurity. Approximately 27.4% of the population in Africa was classified as severely food insecure in 2016, which is almost four times as high as any other region. Alarmingly, food insecurity is on the rise, specifically in sub- Saharan Africa. From 2014 to 2016, food insecurity increased by about 3% (FAO, 2017). As important as it appears, food security alone is not the only factor that determines poverty. Others include access to clean water, adequate sanitation, health services, and basic education system and communication network.
Here are highlights of two main social investment programmes carried out by the governments of twoWest African countries: Nigeria and Ghana. This report shall only focus on the features, goals and some developments with the schemes. There’s also a brief report from a private initiative: Tony Elumelu Foundation. More foundations and schemes like these exist and shall gain our attention and
reportage in subsequent publications.
From official statistics, Nigeria is the seventh most populous country in the world with over 192 million people in 2017. The country is expected to grow to more than 233 million by 2025. The projected population growth will yield various social problems which could hamper the social and economic growth of the nation, hence the need for adequate and sustainable social investment programmes. More so, African Development Bank, AfDB had revealed in its 2018 Nigeria Economic Outlook that about 152 million Nigerians live on less than $2 a day, representing about 80 per cent of the country’s estimated 190 million population.
This is partly due to the repeated mayhem and unrest frequently occasioned by the Islamic sect Boko Haram,as well as herdsmen-farmers clashes. The repeated occurrence has caused poverty rate in Nigeria’s North East to spike. Recent statistics show that 10.5million children are out of school.
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Focus on N-SIP
The Federal Government
of Nigeria has established the National Social Investment Office (NSIO) within the Presidency but more specifically, the Office of the Vice President, with the goal to oversee the different aspects of the programme. The National Social Investment Programs was set up by the President Muhammadu Buhari administration and it draws from the social protection policy framework in a manner that ensures a life of dignity for those who have been constrained, in one way or another, from achieving their full potential.
The Federal Government carries out the programme in conjunction with the States. While the FGN sets the standards as the framework for engagement, States are expected to meet the criteria, for payment to be made directly to the beneficiaries. The States exercise some level of autonomy but maintain a focal person who ensures transparency and seamless engagement. A key criterion for accessing the facility is a valid Bank Verification Number (BVN) with which beneficiaries receive funds directly from the Federal Government, through their accounts, while the States prepare the ground for commencement by meeting the expectations set out in the MoU. The programme was fraught with challenges from the start. The late release of funds in 2016, as well as the lack of adequate publicity hampered a wide and rapid implementation.Earlier this year, there was a probe into an alleged N1trn fraud on the same programme which threatened to shut the scheme and we are yet to hear the last of it.
The Special Adviser to the President on Social Investment, Maryam Uwais, was quoted as saying, “Federal Government of Nigeria had studied the social protection policies and past
interventions, and had decided to prioritise social investment interventions as a key strategy towards reducing poverty and socio-economic vulnerabilities in the country.” She claims the Social Investment Programme of the Federal Government has impacted about nine million Nigerians through its various social investment programmes.
In order to have the needed impact on the people, she explained that a strategy had been designed to run a portfolio of projects anchored by four major National Social Investment Programmes. The four major social investment schemes being run by the government include the Conditional Cash Transfer Programme which involves the direct transfer of the sum of N5, 000 to carefully identified and targeted poor and vulnerable households. The Home Grown School Feeding provides opportunities to assist vulnerable families feed their primary school children on one nutritious meal a day while providing an incentive to send them to school. The target of the school feeding programme is to reach 5.5 million children.
The third and fourth aspects of the social protection programme of the Federal Government, according to Uwais, are the N-Power Programme, and the Government Enterprise Empowerment Programme. While the N-Power programme was designed to put 500,000 young Nigerian graduates on employment and empower, as well as train 100,000 of nongraduates with the necessary tools to work on exceptional ideas, the GEEP is targeted at financial inclusion and empowerment of through small loans.; This is designed to assist the government deliver maximum impact to the economically underrepresented groups in the country with a target of about 1.6 million beneficiaries.
Ghana’s LEAP Slowly Registers Success, Penetrates Poor North
Ghana’s economic progress of
the last decade has created many wealthy individuals. In the first decade of 2000, the country experienced 15% of economic growth year by year, mostly driven by natural resources such as oil and gold. The country is also seen as a “beacon of democracy” with strong social capital and political stability. However, Ghana’s wealth is still very unevenly distributed. According to the Ghana Living Standards Survey (GLSS) an estimated 40% of Ghanaian are “poor”, thus referring to citizens who have the capacity to meet their basic nutritional needs, but are unable to cater for additional necessities such as health, shelter, clothing and education.
Anthony Krakah, the Head of Industrial Statistics, Ghana Statistical Service (GSS) via the Ghana’s Poverty Profile – GLSS R7, has revealed that2.4 million people representing 8.2% are extremely poor to the extent that putting all their expenditure together, they could not afford to spend GHS2.69 per day in 2016/17 on food. The Ghanaian government has provided various Social Grants and safety nets to support individuals in various capacities and particularly to reduce the incidence of poverty. These initiatives include the Programme of Action to Mitigate the Social Cost of Adjustment (PAMSCAD), the Village Infrastructure Project (VIP), projects implemented by the Social Investment Fund (SIF), nutrition interventions, education subsidies, immunization programmes and child protection mechanisms. While these social investment programmes made considerable efforts to reduce poverty and improve the livelihoods of Ghanaian, experience indicates that sustainable mechanisms to empower those facing extreme poverty were insufficient.
Livelihood Empowerment Against
Poverty (LEAP) Programme is a social cash transfer programme that provides cash grant to the extremely poor households across the country. Its main aim is to alleviate short-term poverty and encourage long-term human capital development. Since its inception in 2008 the LEAP Programme has expanded from 1,645 beneficiary households in 21 districts in 2008 to 213,044 beneficiary households in 216 districts overseen by the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection. Its key objectives is to improve the socio-economic status of the vulnerable and the excluded through targeted interventions.
To achieve this objective, the ministry aims to implement the LEAP Programme in all the 216 districts in Ghana in order to ensure that 400,000 extremely poor and vulnerable households are covered by the end of 2018; a figure Thomas Boateng Quaison, the Head of Monitoring and Evaluation claims has already been surpassed. Beneficiaries of LEAP have experienced increase in food security and are engaging in diverse economic activities, which are being funded by their accumulated savings made from the cash grants. In addition, school enrolment for children of school going age in these poor communities benefiting from the LEAP cash grants is said to have increased.
The ministry is achieving all these in conjunction with the Department for International Development (DFID), United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF), the World Bank, and National Health Insurance Authority. Though LEAP
has registered some successes, its original plan to empower the extremely poor financially, increase basic school enrolment among children of poor households, reduce the infant mortality rate, improve child nutrition, and grow local economies, it hasn’t been without challenges. A minority has witnessed an improvement in their living conditions.
However, the rural poor, particularly in the three northern regions, continue to suffer. A multidimensional approach, focusing on free health insurance, provision of primary and secondary education to teach productive skills, the pursuit of good governance to block the diversion of funds for social services, and prioritizing women and girls, if pursued immensely, should deal a heavy impact on poverty reduction.
Future editions of this segment will be dedicated to assessment of different social investment programmes carried out by stakeholders in the energy industry as their government counterparts cannot be left alone to handle this mammoth problem.
Performance analyses of these programmes would be based on a number of indices ranging from effectiveness as a matter of practical needs being met, quality of service, innovative technologies deployed for ease of access, communication, scope, scalability, personnel, acceptance, sustainability, verifiable beneficiaries, credibility and a number of other factors. By comparing the numbers, and reviewing published materials from raw data, we’ll be able to tell to a large degree the success rate, expose some fraudulent practices in the system, and be able to recommend solutions.
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