Today, U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker addressed U.S. and African business leaders at an event hosted by the Tony Elumelu Foundation and the United Bank for Africa titled “Unleashing Africa’s Entrepreneurs: Strengthening the Entrepreneurial Ecosystem to Empower the Next Generation of Africa’s Business Leaders.” The President’s Advisory Council on Doing Business in Africa (PAC-DBIA) members were in attendance along with local entrepreneurs representing diverse sectors including agriculture, media and entertainment, transportation, healthcare, and financial services. The Tony Elumelu Foundation is a nonprofit organization that ensures entrepreneurs in Africa have access to the mentorship, training, and support they need to build better businesses.
During her remarks, Secretary Pritzker highlighted how the American private sector, working in partnership with the African business community and entrepreneurs, can help address many of the continent’s most pressing challenges, including creating jobs and opportunity for young people across the continent. As “America’s Innovation Agency,” the Secretary leads the Department of Commerce’s entrepreneurship efforts around the world, helping to connect the world’s next generation of entrepreneurs with the networks, mentors, and investors they need to make their businesses successful.
Following her remarks, Secretary Pritzker moderated a panel discussion with four of the Tony Elumelu Entrepreneurship Programme (TEEP) Fellows. The TEEP is a 10-year, $100 million commitment by the Tony Elumelu Foundation to empower the next generation of Africa’s entrepreneurs with businesses that have the potential to generate income and jobs for their nations. PAC-DBIA members were then able to participate in direct and substantive discussions with Africa’s emerging leaders and discuss the opportunities and challenges businesses face in the region.