The Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo said that the Federal Government would streamline intervention policies for Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) to enable more people to benefit.
He gave the assurance at the Third Annual Tony Elumelu Foundation (TEF) Entrepreneurship Forum in Lagos. He stated that the government would continue to embrace policies that would encourage start-ups to thrive.
He commended the Founder of TEF, Mr Tony Elumelu, for the initiative, which he noted had been result-oriented. Speaking on “Tyranny of the Past or History”, the Vice President called on Africans to stop remembering the past with apprehension.
He said that dwelling on the past could cripple ones hope and vision. According to Osinbajo, African countries are nearly defeating hunger and famine with new farming tools, discovering cure for diseases and eradicating most causes of infant mortality.
He called on the TEF participants to take advantage of the initiative for the growth and development of their countries instead of relying on the past.
“The great days have come, everyone that has succeeded has his or her own failures,” Osinbajo said.
Earlier, Alhaji Aliko Dangote, President, Dangote Group, identified infrastructure gap, corruption, policy inconsistency, low inter-trade rate and scarcity of finance as some challenges of entrepreneurship development in Africa.
Dangote, however, said that a resilient investor would overcome the challenges. He advised SMEs to avoid waste, build strong teams and ensure cost efficiency to survive.
Dangote said that Africa’s potential was enormous, hoping that the continent would experience a boom with enhanced agriculture.
Zamfara State Governor, Abdul’aziz Abubakar Yari, said that public and private sectors should work together for industries to survive.
Yari urged that Africa should do away with corruption and policy inconsistency to advance.
Katsina State Governor, Alhaji Aminu Bello Masari, said that African leaders must ensure formulation of policies with the private sector for the survival of the continent.
Masari said that proper education was paramount for entrepreneurs to succeed, adding that basic education was important for the growth of any business. He urged access to loans by SMEs at lower interest rates.
Oba Otudeko, Chairman, Honeywell Plc, said that government and private sectors’ cooperation was important for Africa’s development.
Otudeko remarked that entrepreneurship was not easy, and urged entrepreneurs to conceive unique ideas to succeed.
“Empires of the future are empires of the mind”, Otudeko said.
He added that African leaders should implement policies that would improve logistics and inter-African communications.