A partnership between Tony Elumelu Foundation and the European Union, designed to empower women across all 54 African countries, has been announced. In a statement, the foundation revealed that the partnership will disburse 20 million euros in financial and technical support for women-owned businesses across African countries, while providing increased access to market linkages, supply chains and venture capital investments. The engagement forms part of the EU External Investment Plan to support women economic empowerment within the EU Gender Action Plan (GAP III).
According to a statement by the foundation, the partnership is set to build on the platform and experience of the US$100 million TEF Entrepreneurship Programme. It also noted that the partnership will unlock the dynamic potential of African women entrepreneurs, directly catalysing African’s economic growth and contributing to Africa’s prosperity and social development.
Commenting on the partnership, Founder of TEF, Mr Tony Elumelu, said: “We are delighted to partner with the European Union, sharing our unique ability to identify, train, mentor and fund young entrepreneurs across Africa. This joint effort will prioritise and provide economic opportunities for African women, whom for too long have endured systemic obstacles to starting, growing and sustaining their businesses. Our partnership will alleviate the funding, knowledge and market constraints threatening the livelihoods of women entrepreneurs on the continent, to create more income, jobs, growth and scale for women-owned businesses.”
Also commenting, Commissioner for International Partnerships at EU, Jutta Urpilainen, said, “This partnership with the Tony Elumelu Foundation will help women participants in economic development, realise their full potential and accelerate economic inclusion. Empowering women entrepreneurs is a key driver for sustainable jobs and growth, especially in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic and in line with the objectives of our African Strategy. Women and girls represent half of the world’s population and they deserve equal opportunities.”
The programme is co-funded by the European Union, the Organisation of African, Caribbean, and Pacific State (OACPS), and the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ).