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'Africans wouldn't risk trip to Europe if they had economic opportunities at home,' says CEO

'Africans wouldn't risk trip to Europe if they had economic opportunities at home,' says CEO
Copyright Euronews
Copyright Euronews
By Julie GaubertIsabelle Kumar
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"It’s not about giving handouts, it’s about giving a hand up," said the CEO of a philanthropic organisation in Africa.

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Africans wouldn't risk their lives crossing the Mediterranean to Europe if they had better economic opportunities at home, it's been claimed.

Ifeyinwa Ugochukwu, CEO of philanthropic organisation the Tony Elumelu Foundation, made the assertion to Euronews at Davos. 

Her foundation has funded around 10,000 African entrepreneurs across all 54 African countries over the last decade. 

"The only reason that Africans risk their lives on the Mediterranean Sea and go into unknown areas is they are looking for economic opportunity," Ugochukwu said at the World Economic Forum. "If they have it in their home, they wouldn’t go elsewhere looking for it." 

Ugochukwu added this could be done by fostering more entrepreneurs in Africa.

She told Euronews she believed that empowering the entrepreneurs and building a strong SME sector is the only sustainable way to eradicate poverty.

"What we do is working with development partners to say that the narrative in Africa is changing: it’s no longer about aid, it’s not about giving handouts, it’s about giving a hand up for sustainable development," Ugochukwu explained.

Among the projects the foundation has funded is a female entrepreneur who has created a bag that allows mobile phones to be charged with solar power.

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