Africa urged to buy local products to support startups

Mr Tony Elumelu
Mr Tony Elumelu. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

Billionaire-businessman, Tony Elumelu has urged Kenyans and the general African community to adopt homegrown solutions and support enterprises that engage local populace in economic activities.

Speaking in a virtual New York Forum Institute-convened roundtable Mr Elumelu ( above with President Kenyatta) said the Covid-19 pandemic provides Africans with an opportunity to come up with own solutions for their socio-economic problems.

This, he said, should be supported by government-led martial plans that deliberately support locally made products and startups.

“I see this pandemic as an opportunity to reset Africa that has all it takes to emerge into a strong digital economy. We need a martial plan that galvanises the entire continent into a major source of solutions that is less dependent on the ‘circularity of debt’ from developed nations,” said Mr Elumelu who is the chairman of the Nigeria-headquartered UBA bank, a pan-African lender with subsidiaries in Kenya and 19 other African countries.

The roundtable attended by Presidents Uhuru Kenyatta, Niger’s Mahamadou Issoufou, Alassane Ouattara(Cote d’Ivoire), Macky Sall (Senegal) and Sierra Leone’s Julius Bio vouched for entrenchment of homegrown solutions that locals relate with easily. During the session titled ‘Resilient World: An African call for a new world order’, President Kenyatta said Kenyan youths have set up tech start-ups “that are assisting communities to continue accessing key supplies and services such as food and medicine.”


Teams from University of Nairobi, Kenyatta University and Dedan Kimathi University of Technology, as well as private enterprises TotoSci, Mutimoto Motor company, NJA Technologies and Metal Equipment have presented prototype ventilators to Kenya Bureau of Standards(Kebs) for scrutiny. Kebs has also released ventilator specifications that will guide local innovators towards meeting the required standards.