Rebuilding Nigeria will hinge largely on the renewal of its social and economic infrastructure, Tony Elumelu, the chairman of United Bank for Africa, said Sunday.
This effort, which entails a contract between the country and its citizenry centring on dedication and sacrifice, requires empowering and rallying together the private sector, civil society, and philanthropies “as real, valued and executing partners,” the top banker remarked in Abuja at the opening of the Nigerian Bar Association annual general conference.
Among the key highlights of his speech was a perennial exodus of young, homegrown talents to the West on account of disillusionment with the state of the nation.
“We see the plundering of our commonwealth through oil theft and pipeline destruction in broad daylight! We experience every day the impact of climate change. We see our loved ones kidnapped and killed,” said Mr Elumelu, who also chairs the directors’ board of the conglomerate Transcorp.
“Insecurity breeds disorder, feeds intolerance, and destroys opportunity. Our country has experienced division – unnecessary division and the squandering of heritage,” he added.
Social infrastructure, which involves the core components of social change and serves as the basis for the process of social development of a country, often relies on investment in youths and the education system as well as fostering an entrepreneurial culture to be really effective.
“When entrepreneurs succeed, we succeed as a nation. If they don’t, we all fail,” he affirmed.
He further stated that entrepreneurship is an economic endeavour at the same time, a social responsibility, noting that youth empowerment and supporting start-ups and SMEs are the key tools the private sector needs to drive job creation, social advancement and fair distribution of wealth.
Mr. Elumelu remarked that countries that appreciate their youth population often succeed, citing the United States, which backed the young minds that established Amazon, Google and Microsoft and provided the right environment for famous institutions like Harvard and Stanford to thrive.
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