Wednesday, 18 January 2017

Thank you President Obama - Tony Elumelu

Tony O. Elumelu, Chairman at Heirs Holdings message to Barrack Obama:

I don’t take it lightly that an African like me had an opportunity to run for public office in the United States and ran all the way with it, becoming President. Everywhere I go across the continent, I tell youth that I speak to, to dare to dream but also to act to implement those dreams and stay focused. I can’t think of a worthier example than the outgoing President of the United States Barack Obama who has inspired the whole world. 

I look over at the photos in my office and recall his warm receptiveness the first time we met at the announcement of the #PowerAfrica ‎initiative in Tanzania in 2013; and the next at the Global Entrepreneurship Summit in Kenya in 2015 where he recognised an alumni of the Tony Elumelu Foundation, Shadi Sabeh, who shared the stage with him that year. I am inspired by this President who shares my passion for Power as the bedrock for economic development in Africa and for entrepreneurship as the engine for growth in Africa.

As I listened to him speak with such obvious devotion and passion for his country calling on all American citizens; the private sector and the public, to fortify their democracy and ensure that America retains its place on the global stage – I think about my own country and my own continent and about just how much work there is to do. I reflect on the quote by Franz Fanon: “Each generation must, out of relative obscurity, discover its mission, fulfil it, or betray it”, and note that this generation of Africans must make a difference

But we do not falter, with each of us in our place, playing our roles, this generation and continent will achieve its greatness. I have seen the faces of 2,000 Entrepreneurs from 54 countries across Africa who have a burning passion to change this continent, one idea at a time and my burden is eased; even just a little bit. These are just the ones within the #TEF entrepreneurship programme and I am aware of at least 65,000 more within our network alone

So, the message I’ve taken from this is "…If something needs fixing, then lace up your shoes … show up, dive in, stay at it."

Yes, this generation can and should transform Africa.

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