Empowering and investing in people – especially young ones in the Sahel – to give them economic hope and opportunity is the only solution to strife and conflict in the region, according to Group Chairman, UBA plc and Founder, Tony Elumelu Foundation, Mr Tony Elumelu.
Elumelu was speaking today at the launch of Generation Unlimited Sahel, which aims to mobilize key partners to address the critical role of youth in contributing to peace, security, stability, and economic growth in the Sahel.
Generation Unlimited (GenU) Sahel will upscale youth programs and initiatives in the Sahel region under the aegis of the United Nations Secretary General’s Special Coordinator for the Sahel and the GenU CEO.
The public and private sector will partner with youth to connect 100 million Sahelian youth (50 percent of whom are young women) to skilling, employment, entrepreneurship, and social impact opportunities by 2030
The Sahel region is one of the world’s most challenging and complex regions.
More than 2 million people in the region have been forced to flee their homes, with millions more losing their sources of livelihoods.
Resources are scarce, and opportunities are limited, leading to even more tensions and conflict between communities in the Sahel.
“A collective effort is needed to find a lasting solution to this intractable crisis. In 2019, the Tony Elumelu Foundation (TEF) partnered with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) to identify, train, mentor and fund 2100 young entrepreneurs in the Sahel region – Northern Nigeria, Burkina Faso, Mali, Niger, Chad, Cameroon, and Mauritania,” Elumelu said.
“Again in 2020, we partnered with UNDP to fund and train 1860 young Malians who face the triple threat of conflict, insecurity, and poverty, as well as loss of livelihoods from climate change. Through our intervention, we were able to create small businesses, and generate economic hope in the youth, channeling their creativity and skills to transform the Sahel region.”
The Tony Elumelu Foundation, which is the leading philanthropy empowering thousands of young Africans from all 54 African countries, is a co-implementor and grassroots galvaniser for the critical Gen-U Sahel Programme.
Through the TEFConnect.com platform, 1.5million young Africans across the continent have been trained.
“Through our annual TEF Entrepreneurship Programme which provides $5000 non-refundable seed capital, business management training and mentorship for young entrepreneurs to scale their enterprises, we have funded 10,898 entrepreneurs across Africa. These young African entrepreneurs have gone on to create over 400,000 direct and indirect jobs across Africa,” Elumelu said.
Present at the event were the United Nations Deputy Secretary General Ms. Amina Mohamed, Heads of State, other dignitaries, and Sahelian youth.