Article Summary

  • Tony Elumelu has launched a $3.5 million green entrepreneurship program to tackle the climate crisis.
  • The program will empower, train, fund, mentor, and coach 120 young African entrepreneurs with businesses in high-impact green sectors.
  • All Africans are not yet eligible for the program as the program is accepting only Kenyans for now.

Billionaire Industrialist, Tony Elumelu has just launched a $3.5 million green entrepreneurship program. He announced this via Twitter on Friday evening.

According to him, the Tony Elumelu Foundation is working to strengthen climate resilience starting with East Africa and scaling to the rest of Africa, to mitigate the effects of the climate crisis.

He said the Tony Elumelu Foundation has partnered with the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF), Generation Unlimited, and IKEA Foundation to establish the program.

More details

According to Elumelu, the initial sum of $3.5 million is to empower, train, fund, mentor, and coach 120 young African entrepreneurs, with businesses in Kenya’s high impact green sectors. He also said 50% of the entrepreneurs will be women. He wrote:

  • “We know the critical role that green entrepreneurship and agri-preneurship play in driving innovative solutions to environmental issues and are keen to empower our young ones across Africa, starting with Kenya, to deploy innovative solutions to the climate crisis.
  • “This initiative will empower young Africans with entrepreneurial skills that are needed to accelerate the shift towards toward green economy. Working with great partners: IKEA Foundation, UNICEF and Generation Unlimited, we will create new jobs, generate employment, improve livelihoods, help eradicate poverty and address climate issues in Africa.”

Elumelu stated further that the collective goal of all partners involved in the program is to see young entrepreneurs in Africa build sustainable businesses for themselves and generate viable green jobs, so that Africa’s young ones are not left behind in the inevitable green economy that the world will be transitioning to.

Why Kenya and not Nigeria?

As Elumelu stated earlier, the green entrepreneurship program is targeted at Kenyans first before any other African country. In an article co-authored by the billionaire in November 2022, he highlighted the fact that East Africa is facing its longest-running drought in 40 years, from which 36 million lives have been affected, across Ethiopia, Kenya and Somalia.

It is important to note that as of November 2022, the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change noted that in Northern Nigeria, wind erosion has swept away houses and farms. This has intensified the effects of deforestation, drought, over-grazing, and desertification.

In Southern Nigeria, flash and seasonal flooding caused by climate change are ruining cities. Lagos state experiences seasonal flooding as a result of rising sea levels, placing homes and businesses at risk. Meanwhile, the 2022 flooding has displaced more than half a million people, according to the National Emergency Agency (NEMA).

According to the World Bank, increased flooding in Nigeria, due to sea level rise will have negative impacts on agriculture, the economy, coastal infrastructure, human health, coastal ecosystems, and human settlements.

It has also been estimated that a 1-meter rise in sea level could cause 75% of the land in the Niger Delta to be lost, further impacting oil and gas production capacity.