ABIDJAN, Ivory Coast, Apr 21 – Industrialist Dr Chris Kirubi and economist Tony Elumelu have been recognised for their role in shaping and transform businesses in Africa.
The two were awarded the CGECI Lifetime Achievement Award during the annual Economic Forum of the Ivorian National Council of Employers (CGECI Academy).
The 5th Edition of the CGECI Academy was held at the Sofitel Hotel in Abidjan and brought together the Prime Minister of Côte d’Ivoire and Deputy Prime Minister of Mauritius as well as various West African ministers and key CEOs.
In his Keynote address, Prime Minister of Côte d’Ivoire Daniel Kablan said that he was grateful to Dr Kirubi and Elumelu for setting a good example and giving young people in Africa hope.
He added that new entrepreneurs should not be afraid to share their ideas and work with others including government. “You have the project and they have the money. You must work together.”
On Wednesday, Côte d’Ivoire and Mauritius signed a protocol for the protection and promotion of investments between both countries. Deputy Prime Minister of Mauritius Xavier Luc Duval said that these protocols would help the two counties get closer and work together to develop businesses.
He called on entrepreneurs to take full advantage of the opportunities available in Mauritius and added that Mauritius withdrew visa requirements to most African states so as to reinforce trade throughout the continent and promote exports.
The purpose of the CGECI Academy is to raise awareness among African entrepreneurs about existing sources of capital and investors available to help grow their businesses.
This year’s theme for the conference was “The Story of Africa’s Business Champions”. The CGECI Academy will also serve to demonstrate that well-structured, viable businesses in Africa have the ability to obtain financing despite the challenges.
In his address, President of CGECI Academy Jean Kacou Diagou emphasised that businessmen need to open up their minds to growing their countries. “Establishment of national champions must be our goal and the people and the government must be our partners. Without support and assistance, companies will never reach their optimum levels.”
While making his address right after receiving the Lifetime Achievement Award, Dr Kirubi stressed that national champions must not forget where they came from.
“As Africans we must continuously help those among us who are not able to help themselves but on the latter, we must use the education we have acquired to improve our livelihoods. We must also create policies that will encourage investment and enable partnerships across Africa.”
He concluded by saying that it’s about time business and wealth creation led the way. “We have talked politics, now let us use politics to empower development and the people’s future,” he said.
Elumelu also challenged the African continent to encourage and growth of national champions. While being awarded he emphasized that when it came to global development, Africa must encourage champions because development is not an option.
“No one can develop the African continent but us Africans because no one has greater stake. When the private sector operators divorce themselves from the developmental agenda of the countries in which they operate, everyone suffers,” said Elumelu.
The first half of the event concluded with a panel session on the construction and emergence of national champions led by CGECI President Jean Kacou, Minister Dr Jean Claude Brou, Businessman Ibrahima Diawarra, Dr Kirubi and Elumelu.