African leaders are optimistic over the $37 billion commitment to Africa by the US government during the African Leaders Summit which recently held in Washington DC.
Heirs Holdings Chairman, Tony O. Elumelu, spoke in strong support of the African private sector during the US-Africa Leaders Summit.
The gathering of nearly 50 African heads of state and a handful of top business leaders from both sides allowed senior US and African officials to broker international deals and build a new kind of relationship, based on mutual respect and centred on investment, rather than aid.
To that end, United States President Barack Obama announced multi-sector investments, which were largely private sector driven, totaling $37 billion.
Ahead of the Summit, Mr. Elumelu had declared that the goal of private sector leaders would be to “forge ties that turn into enduring partnerships, and will eventually help to transform Africa.”
Mr. Elumelu said this while addressing the Corporate Council on Africa’s plenary session with Tanzanian President Kikwete, emphasising the role of enduring partnerships in Africa’s future development.
Continuing on that theme, at an event co-hosted by Heirs Holdings with US Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker, USAID Administrator Raj Shah, and the Nigerian Minister of Agriculture Akin Adesina, Mr. Elumelu summed up the overarching American and African goal for the Summit:
“The partnerships created here will help increase economic development on the continent and help sustain America’s economic recovery- it is the essence of Africapitalism.”
Equally, during the official business portion of the summit, Mr. Elumelu remarked on the need for regional cooperation on the continent.
“We need the regionalisation of power across Africa, starting with our regional economic groupings. Nigeria should be able to generate power that is used in Ghana. We need to invest across borders.”
Finally, as one of the primary investors in the US sponsored Power Africa Initiative, Mr. Elumelu was particularly engaged in the portions of the Summit focused on power. On that note, he spoke to the Congressional Black Caucus and appealed to American legislators to codify electricity access in US foreign policy on Africa.
“We need the US Congress to pass the Electrify Africa Bill, which will have a significant impact on improving access to electricity across Africa,” he said.
He also commended the World Bank for its commitment to contribute $5 billion to the Power Africa initiative. “Power requires long-term investment and we are very happy that the World Bank is now supporting this.