What Macron Told African Entrepreneurs During Nigeria Visit
So, French President Emmanuel Macron stayed over in Lagos on Wednesday.
This was after inking deals worth about 171 billion naira with President Muhammadu Buhari in Abuja on Tuesday.
He visited the Tony Elumelu Foundation where he spoke to over 2,000 Tony Elumelu entrepreneurs drawn from 54 African countries.
While addressing the entrepreneurs, Macron challenged Africa to take the responsibility of changing its own narrative.
“The new narrative is just to say that Africa is the one to decide for Africa, to explain about Africa and to create its own model of entrepreneurship and culture and to explain it to the rest of the world,” he started.
Continuing, he said: “This new narrative is to be built now and I do believe it is your responsibility. And I do believe it is good for Africa and it is good for France.
“This is because if Africa doesn’t succeed, we’ll never succeed on the long run. For two very simple reasons, Europe is not an island and all these migration crises is exactly due to the fact that we have a common destiny.
“Second because we have a very important African diaspora in France and the rest of Europe. And they cannot leave and develop themselves and succeed in France or Europe if in their country, people don’t succeed.”
He also tasked African entrepreneurs to leverage innovation to drive change on the continent and create opportunities for growth.
“My second message is that entrepreneurship and innovation are part of the answers to African problems. They are part of the answers because it is the best way to access responsibility and to change everything when you are young, and you want to do it.
“Innovation is just about change. Smart people when they are in charge are obsessed with innovation because they want to bring out something. But as new players, young people should be obsessed with innovation because this is the only way to access, when you are not an insider to enter into the game and to succeed, to disrupt the inside and become part of the game.”
Earlier in an opening speech, the Founder of Tony Elumelu Foundation and Chairman of Heirs Holdings, Tony Elumelu said the meeting provided opportunity for African political leaders to understand how important Africa’s young demographic is to the continent.
He said: “You have spoken to Africans with a new voice. We identify and like that new voice. Today, I believe that this forum will be interactive and provide opportunity for us to achieve a few things.
“One, it will be nice for our political leaders here in Africa to begin to understand the importance of entrepreneurs and the young demographics that we have. We have 60% of our people who are under the age of 30.
“Two, we also want France and the rest of the world that in Africa’s 21st century, there’s a lot more about it than what they used to know.
“We have new narratives on Africa. More so, Africa is now a home of opportunities. We want the world to see us as a continent of opportunity.”
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