By Vera Anyagafu
The Consul General , US Consulate in Lagos, Ms Claire Pierangelo has reiterated the importance of Nigeria’s entrepreneurs to the continued growth of economies in the West African sub-region and the prosperity of the African continent.
Pierangelo, who said this at a one-day capacity-building seminar for the first cohort of US sponsored Tony Elumelu Foundation alumni, Tuesday, January 14, 2020, also noted that population trends in Africa’s largest economy will not only mean that Nigeria could become the world’s third most populous country by 2050, but events in the country could have wide-ranging global repercussions going forward.
According to her ,
“If Nigeria is successful, its extremely young population will represent a tremendous source of productive labor and an extremely attractive market for a variety of products and services. Its success will be Africa’s success and the world will also benefit from the creativity and resourcefulness of its people.”
Pierangelo went further to state,
“That is why the government of the United States cares so deeply about supporting entrepreneurship in Nigeria. Right now, according to sources, small to medium sized enterprises run by entrepreneurs create about eighty –five percent of all jobs in this country. We are therefore committed to working with you and our local partners, including the Tony Elumelu Foundation, to help you maximize opportunities to use your drive and skills to create a better Nigeria for all of us.”
Also speaking at the meeting, Chief Executive Officer of the Tony Elumelu Foundation, Ms. Ifeanyinwa Ugochukwu, who expressed the organization’s appreciation for the partnership with the US Consulate General, highlighted the importance of strategic alliances for the country’s sustained economic development.
She said, “It is clear that development aid does not solve economic problems, handouts never work in the long-term and in no developed country does government shoulder economic burdens alone. On the other hand, partnerships such as this, support the job-creating, solution-driven mentality which Nigeria needs to lift itself up.”
However, the seminar which also included a presentation on ‘Globalization and Nigeria’ by John Doggett, a Senior Lecturer at the McCombs School of Business, University of Texas at Austin, concluded with a panel discussion on the ‘Key to Success’.
It also featured Olori Anita Ololade Odozi, fashion entrepreneur; Adebola Williams, Co-Founder of Red Media Africa; AfricanFarmer Mogaji, CEO of AfricanFarmer; and Omowale Ogunrinde, CEO of Field of Skills and Dreams.
The meeting also announced the United States Government’s October 2019 partnership with the Tony Elumelu Foundation, which meant to promote entrepreneurship initiatives in Nigeria, through a public diplomacy grant of $105, 000, approximately N37.8 million.