At the World Economic Forum in Davos, Chairman UBA group, Tony Elumelu noted that intra-regional trade has significantly benefited other parts of the world, adding that Africa should emulate this.
He stated: "If we look at other parts of the world, intra-regional trade helped significantly. For us to develop in Africa, we must embrace this. We need to develop and broaden the market. We need to integrate Africa by trade also. We need to carry common passports or at least simplify the border entrance so that people can move freely in Africa. People who move freely can trade - and not otherwise."
Regional Director, United Nations Development Agency (UNDP), Mrs Ahunna Eziakonwa and the Founder, Tony Elumelu Foundation (TEF) and Chairman, United Bank for Africa (UBA), Mr Tony Elumelu at the signing of the TEF-UNDP Sahel Youth Entrepreneurship Programme partnership in Niamey, Niger on Saturday, which is to empower 100,000 young entrepreneurs in Africa. Standing from left are Executive Secretary, United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA), Dr. Vera Songwe; President, African Export and Import Bank (AFREXIM), Prof. Benedict Oramah; Minister of Trade, Mauritania, Hon. Khadijetou Mbarec Fall; CEO, TEF, Mrs Ifeyinwa Ugochukwu; and Minister of Finance and Budget, Republic of Niger, Hon. Jidoud Ahmat

On Saturday, The Tony Elumelu Foundation and UNDP signed a partnership to empower 100,000 additional entrepreneurs in the 7 Sahel African Countries for the next 10 years.
Tony Elumelu also joined world leaders including His Excellency, President of the Republic of Niger, H.E. Issoufou Mahamadou, Executive Secretary, United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA), Dr. Vera Songwe; President, African Export and Import Bank (AFREXIM), Prof. Benedict Oramah; Chairperson of the African Union Commission, H.E Moussa Faki Mahamat on the presidential panel of the AfCFTA Business Forum at the 32nd Ordinary Summit of the African Union (AU) to speak on the theme: “The imperative of business to scale up operations to exploit opportunities of a large and attractive growing AfCFTA Market”.

When asked what the value of the UNDP partnership means, Elumelu said; “It’s all about poverty alleviation, it’s all about job creation because that ultimately is what this will lead to. But for all of this to happen, there are certain things we must have in place. We need to create a free market to accommodate a number of countries.
Again; Industrialization. We can create a huge margin but don’t have what to trade, people will still import what they need. we need all of us to work collectively and industrialize our continent. Countries must work hard to improve the income per capita. If this is improved, trade will become more meaningful.
We should all work in support of the development and growth of SMEs. These are the people who will create jobs and who will help to contribute to the income per capita of the continent.”

United Bank for Africa is working to make payment easier across the globe by working with the AFREXIM (African Export-Import Bank) and other institutions to further deepen the intra-African trade and to improve the payment system in Africa which will help facilitate trade.

The Tony Elumelu Foundation and the UNDP partnership is set to provide more opportunities to thousands of African entrepreneurs in various sectors across the African continent.

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