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  • Calling All African Entrepreneurs: Apply NOW for a $5000 grant
    Calling All African Entrepreneurs: Apply NOW for a $5000 grant

    African entrepreneurs from all 54 African countries to apply now for the 2021 TEF Entrepreneurship Programme on
    LAGOS, Nigeria, December 30, 2021/ — The Tony Elumelu Foundation (TEF) (, the leading philanthropy empowering young African entrepreneurs across all 54 African countries, has opened applications for the 2022 TEF Entrepreneurship Programme on African entrepreneurs with business ideas or existing businesses under 5 years are encouraged to apply now for $5000 seed capital, mentorship, business management training, and more on the 2022 Tony Elumelu Foundation Entrepreneurship Programme

    Since 2015, the TEF Entrepreneurship Programme – the only African-funded entrepreneurship catalyst of its kind – has empowered 15,847 African entrepreneurs with a non-returnable seed capital of $5,000 each; twelve weeks of business management training; access to experienced mentors; and membership to Africa’s largest entrepreneurial ecosystem.

    In 2021, the Tony Elumelu Foundation disbursed USD$24.75 million to 5000 African entrepreneurs across Africa for its 2021 Entrepreneurship Programme. The Foundation’s Entrepreneurship Programme remains one of the largest private-sector responses to driving the economic recovery of African youth, women, and SMEs given the effects of the covid19 pandemic across Africa.  Across Africa, the Tony Elumelu Foundation Entrepreneurship Programme beneficiaries are starting and growing trailblazing businesses that have collectively created over 400,000 direct and indirect jobs.

    According to 2015 Tony Elumelu Entrepreneur, Hauwa Liman, female business owner and Founder of Afrik Abaya: “I am always proud to say that I am from the inaugural cohort of the Tony Elumelu Foundation Entrepreneurship Programme. My business is located in Kaduna, in northern Nigeria. I benefitted from this Programme in 2015, and it opened up lots of doors and opportunities. It is not just about the seed capital, but what really fascinates me about the Programme is the knowledge. I call it a mini-MBA program because from the ideation stage it teaches you how to really articulate your business, and it gave me my first business plan. The network, visibility, and opportunities are endless. My entrepreneurship experience cannot be complete without the Tony Elumelu Foundation. I will start exporting to other countries soon courtesy of the Foundation. We now employ ten permanent staff and an additional eight staff on a commission basis.”

    Commenting on the launch of the 2022 Tony Elumelu Foundation Entrepreneurship Programme, CEO of the Tony Elumelu Foundation, Ifeyinwa Ugochukwu shared, “We are constantly blown away by the quality of businesses that come from Africa every year. This motivates us to scale our efforts to empower even more entrepreneurs on the continent. The innovation, knowledge, and resilience of African entrepreneurs is central to charting Africa’s socio-economic transformation and meeting the continent’s development objectives. We are also proud of the increase in female participation on our Programme, especially with the 2021 cohort where we witnessed a record 68% selection of women entrepreneurs.”

    Founding Trustee of the Tony Elumelu Foundation, Dr. A V. Elumelu stated: “Through the Tony Elumelu Foundation Entrepreneurship Programme, we seek to democratize luck. Hard work plays an important and undeniable part in success, but one must not discount the role of luck – someone being willing to take a chance on you or a business idea by empowering you through training, mentorship or funding. Our hope is that, through the Tony Elumelu Foundation Entrepreneurship Programme, we would help the next business leader or captain of industry be who they are meant to be. This is our own way to give back and also to empower the generation coming behind us so that they can go even further than we have. As a parent, one’s desire is for your children to do better than you and so you will provide the resources and materials that they need to ensure that they go far in life. Similarly, at the Foundation we are equipping the next generation with the tools they need to succeed.”

    As the foremost champion of entrepreneurship in Africa, the Tony Elumelu Foundation ( is empowering women and men across the African continent through entrepreneurship to catalyze economic growth, drive poverty eradication and ensure job creation. The Foundation’s mission is rooted in the philosophy of Africapitalism (,  which positions the private sector as the key enabler of economic and social wealth creation in Africa. Through TEFConnect (,  the Foundation’s proprietary digital platform, it has provided capacity-building support, advisory, and market linkages, to over 1.5 million Africans.

    The Tony Elumelu Foundation Entrepreneurship Programme is open to entrepreneurs across Africa: new start-ups and existing young businesses, operating in any sector. Prospective applicants should apply now on the digital networking hub for African entrepreneurs, For a list of the selected 2021 Tony Elumelu Entrepreneurs and more information on our program, please visit the website of the Tony Elumelu Foundation here (
    Distributed by APO Group on behalf of The Tony Elumelu Foundation.


  • Ethiopian GERD Dam Ready to Test Power Production
    Ethiopian GERD Dam Ready to Test Power Production

    Ethiopia is reportedly gearing up to begin testing hydropower generation at its flagship 5.2-GW Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD), despite a continued diplomatic row about its potential implications for water consumption on the Blue Nile.

    Citing unnamed project sources, Capital, a weekly Ethiopian business newspaper, reported this week that work to begin test power generation at two units—an estimated 700 MW—has been completed. While officially unconfirmed, the Office of the National Council for the Coordination of Public Participation in the Construction of GERD widely shared the story on social media.

    A spotlight on the massive project—which could become the largest hydropower project in Africa when operational—also ramped up this week as Ethiopia’s ministerial offices gathered at GERD to discuss their 100-day plan implementation following Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s re-election in June 2021. Reporters covering the event posted images of the project.

    Dr. Sileshi Bekele, Ethiopia’s former Water and Irrigation minister, who was in October appointed as its chief negotiator and advisor on Trans Boundary Rivers and GERD, in November told reporters that overall construction progress of the dam had then reached 82%. The nation marked its second-year filling of the dam’s massive reservoir in the summer of 2021.

    GERD is located on the Blue Nile—a significant Nile River tributary—in the northwestern Ethiopian region of  Benishangul-Gumuz-Gumaz, about 500 kilometers (km) northwest of Ethiopia’s capital Addis Ababa and 15 km from its border with Sudan. The project is being built by Webuild Group, a subsidiary of Italian construction giant Salini Costruttori S.p.A., for state-owned Ethiopian Electric Power. When finished, it will comprise the main dam in roller compacted concrete with two power stations installed at the left and right banks of the river. 

    According to WeBuild, the project’s original plans were to outfit the power plant with 16 375-MW Francis turbines that could produce about 15,759 GWh per year. However, while originally envisioned as a 6.4-GW project, Ethiopian officials in 2019 reportedly slashed the number of turbines to 13, bringing the dam’s total capacity to 5.2 GW.

    Ethiopia’s reported progress on GERD comes amid a complex decade-long diplomatic dispute embroiling Ethiopia, and Egypt, and Sudan, its neighbors downstream the Nile River, as well as the international community.

    Sudanese authorities have said GERD could help regulate waters of the Nile and reduce the risk of flooding, but the country has expressed concerns about the project’s impact on the efficiency of its 280-MW Roseries Dam, and it has strongly decried unilateral action by Ethiopia to fill the GERD reservoir. Egypt, meanwhile, has similar fears about its water security, especially concerning its 2.1-GW High Aswan Dam (HAD), which is today Africa’s largest hydropower facility. The dam also pivotally serves Egypt’s agricultural, municipal, and industrial water requirements through regular annual releases of 55.5 billion cubic meters (bcm). 

    While the United Nations (U.N.) has sought to alleviate tensions between the three countries, the U.S. has now also ramped up mediation efforts, and the African Union (AU) continues to broker negotiations to invigorate talks between the three nations and maintain peace in the volatile dispute. In September, the U.N. Security Council encouraged Egypt, Ethiopia, and Sudan to resume negotiations under an AU-led process “in a constructive and cooperative manner.”

    Egypt, which recently rallied support from the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) on the issue with regard to its water security, is already mulling strategies to avoid future water crises, including through investment and construction. During a 2050-vision presentation in mid-December, Egyptian Minister of Water Resources and Irrigation Mohamed Abdel-Aty stressed 97% of the nation’s water resources come from the Nile. Egypt’s water needs amount to about 114 billion cubic meters but it faces a deficit of about 54 billion cubic meters annually. The country fills that gap by reusing water, and Egypt imports agricultural crops equivalent to about 34 billion cubic meters annually, he noted. To avoid future shortfalls, the government should spend $50 billion to rationalize water use, improve water quality, and provide additional water resources, he said.

    Sonal Patel is a POWER senior associate editor (@sonalcpatel@POWERmagazine).

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