Tony O. Elumelu, Chairman of Heirs Holdings, United Bank for Africa Plc and Founder of the Tony Elumelu Foundation (TEF), has been invited to debate at the opening session of the MEDEF Summer University alongside two other global business shapers.
Currently in its 18th edition, this year’s event will be held on August 30th and 31st, 2016 in Paris, France.
For over 15 years of its existence, MEDEF has remained true to its objective of making France a winner by debating ways to position the country more favourably globally with the aim to create more employment opportunities, targeting of 1 million jobs in 5 years. Positioned as one of France’s leading annual economic, social, cultural and political events, MEDEF Summer University hosts 7,500 business and opinion leaders comprising of Heads of State, government officials, political leaders, intellectuals, business leaders from all over the world, as well as 450 French and international journalists.
According to the organisers, “This year’s theme, ‘To believe and act’ will lead us to reflect on the major deadlines facing us.  It is a positive theme, because as entrepreneurs, we remain convinced that our country has all the attributes to succeed in the future and to take advantage of all the current turmoil.
At the MEDEF Summer University, we want to show the reality and finally talk about vision and future.”
One of the few delegates representing the African region at the event, Tony Elumelu, will participate in a debate with two international business leaders―Gary Coombe, President of P & G Europe and Oudet Souvannavong, President of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Laos―at the grand opening session, “The World is Watching”. The session will be moderated by Frédéric Ferrer, journalist, consultant and professor at ESCP Europe. The participants will be discussing what they expect from France in a bid to increase bilateral business relationships.
According to Elumelu, this is the best time to establish stronger business ties between France and Africa, and not just francophone countries, but Anglophone African countries as well.  While commending events like MEDEF Summer University and agencies such as Business Africa for establishing the mandate to establish stronger ties between France and Anglophone African countries, he expressed enthusiasm at shedding more light at the event what Africa expects from France. He posited that both economies need to foster stronger relationships between SMEs in Africa and France that will create more opportunities in the pipeline to achieve sustainable development.
On what will be his focus, Elumelu commented that he would be encouraging the French government and business stakeholders to look towards investing in Africa, as there are many opportunities for establishing manufacturing operations on ground and reaping the rewards of their investment. He said that this would result in the creation of more jobs in Africa, and ultimately, provide immeasurable value to the French that will translate to profits. According to him, it would be a win-win for everyone.
Past attendees at the MEDEF Summer University include Her Majesty, Queen Rania Al Abdullah of Jordan, who opened the 2015 session.