UBA’s Tony Elumelu offers final solution to terrorism in Nigeria, other African countries

The Chairman, United Bank for Africa Group (UBA), Tony Elumelu, has proposed a final solution to insecurity and terrorism which has ravaged the Northern part of Nigeria and some other parts of Africa, affecting trade and economic development in those areas.

To put an end to terrorism and stop the continuous recruitment of the youths by terrorists and violence sponsors, Elumelu said there’s the need for government to create jobs and the private sector to invest in the youths. He said the lack of employment opportunities serves as a recruiting tool for those benefiting from the violence.

Elumelu, who is also the founder of Tony Elumelu Foundation (TEF) said poverty is a threat to mankind globally as it results in extremism. He made this comment while speaking at Dakar International Forum on Peace and Security in Africa, with the President of Senegal, Macky Sall and President of Mauritania, Mohamed Ould Ghazouani in attendance. Others who attended the forum include Defence Minister of France, Florence Parly and former President of Burundi and representative of the African Union, Pierre Buyoya.

Job creation, not seminars, is the panacea for insecurity

While speaking at the event, Elumelu said regardless of the number of seminars held to discuss insecurity in Africa, if jobs were not created and poverty was not curbed, extremists would continue to brainwash the youths. According to him, deliberating on weapons to defend against insurgency is not enough and not the lasting solution.

“To tackle insecurity, we must tackle poverty, which is the root cause. We must do this by: 1. Prioritising our young ones by creating economic opportunities for them 2. Driving inclusive growth 3. Involving our women in the development agenda of the continent. While it is no doubt important to discuss weaponry and other means to deal with insurgency, lasting peace can only be attained in the long run by investing in our people across Africa,” Elumelu said.

Private sector has a role to play

Elumelu said companies also have a role to play in job creation. He made reference to the Tony Elumelu Foundation’s $100 million Entrepreneurship Programme as a method to create employment opportunities. The foundation, with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), plans to empower 100,000 young Africans in 10 years.

“At TEF, we transform the lives of young Africans by providing them with seed funding & business training. Now, we are beginning to see how their success is translated into better & secure communities.”

He added that, “There is a lot we all can do – the private sector, government, and development partners – in making sure that we focus on winning the war on terrorism. We believe in Africapitalism and the fact that by investing in key sectors of the African economy, we can tackle the issue of extremism.

“When there’s no peace and security, there can be no business & when there’s no business to a large extent, there will be no development. It is therefore in everyone’s interest that there is peace & security especially on the African continent.”

Why this matter? 

The rise in terrorism activities affects the growth of businesses and the ease of doing business. It forces companies to relocate to peaceful areas, thereby, leading to loss of jobs for the former host communities. He said terrorism attacks affect infrastructure which is needed to support business growth in those areas. It also discourages capital investment from banks and venture capitalists or private equity firms.

“To transform Africa, we must prioritise peace & security. Business cannot flourish where people are afraid for their lives. It will be even harder to attract the global private capital needed for large infrastructure projects & long-term projects which can help fix our economy.”

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