On Day 1 of the ongoing Tokyo International Conference for African Development, TICAD, a strong case has been made for the role that entrepreneurs can have in catalyzing the transformation of the continent.
Among those pushing the cause are Rwandan president, Paul Kagame; African business leader and philanthropist, Tony Elumelu and head of the United Nations Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF), Henrietta Fore.
At an event held on the sidelines of the 7th TICAD ongoing in the Japanese city of Yokohama, they emphasized the need to help young people take a front-row seat in Africa’s future.
The breakfast meeting was organized under the auspices of the Generation Unlimited with the discussions co-hosted by Kagame and Fore. Aside Elumelu, the head of the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa, Vera Songwe was also present.
“Increased investment will help youth access employment and training, as well as boost entrepreneurship,” the UNICEF boss said. The United Nations Development Programme head also sat through the deliberations.
Elumelu is a leading light in the area of nursing young entrepreneurs across Africa on a yearly basis.
He is scheduled to deliver a keynote address at the Plenary of Public-Private Business Dialogue at the summit. The official business forum is hosted by the Japan External Trade organization, JETRO.
On the summit proper, Japan will offer enhanced trade insurance to boost private sector investment in Africa, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said on Wednesday.
This comes as Japan competes with rival China for influence in the resource-rich continent.
Abe made the comments at the seventh Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD) in Yokohama, attended by a few dozen African leaders and representatives of international organisations.
“This time at the TICAD 7, we hope to see Japan-Africa cooperation to bloom and bear fruit. Tomorrow I’m looking forward to discussing what we need to do now,” the Prime Minister said.
According to a United Nations report published in June Foreign investment in sub-Saharan Africa rose 13% last year to $32 billion, bucking a global downward trend and reversing two years of decline.