Providing the African perspective upon special invitation from the US Government, Tony Elumelu, Founder, the Tony Elumelu Foundation and Chairman, the United Bank for Africa, headlined the summit, speaking on the opening plenary alongside Christine Lagarde, Managing Director, International Monetary Fund (IMF); and HE Mohammed Al-Sheikh, Minister of State & Member of the Council of Ministers, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, to share practical recommendations to unlock future economic prosperity for the Palestinian people, using what is done at the Tony Elumelu Foundation as a replicable model for the economic empowerment of young men and women from the West Bank and Gaza.
Elumelu stressed the urgency and importance of supporting and empowering young Palestinians to ignite the entrepreneurial ecosystem and strengthen the Palestinian economy. For stable growth, he reiterated that young Palestinians must be empowered with jobs and economic opportunity to contribute meaningfully to their nation’s development.
“I come from Africa; and the reality is that we do have a lot of similarities with the Palestinian people; especially in the area of demographic make up. With over 60% of its nearly 5 million strong population under 30, the young people of Palestine need Jobs Jobs and more Jobs! Without jobs, there will be no economic hope. Big corporations and government alone cannot supply the jobs demanded by Palestine’s demographic pressures. We need SMEs and startups to address joblessness in the region, create jobs and opportunities in local communities for millions of our Palestinian young brothers and sisters to become employed, meaningfully engaged, and full of economic hope, which in turn leads them away from extremism.”
The renowned investor and philanthropist who is leading by example through the Tony Elumelu Foundation which has committed US$100m to empower young African entrepreneurs called on endowed Middle Easterners and their philanthropies to step up and become more involved in empowering the young ones of Palestine. As he explained, “In the 21st century, we cannot keep relying on western donors to help empower our own people; we must step up and create a platform where they may partner with us for scale, just as we are doing at the Tony Elumelu Foundation.”