During a conference in Lagos, Nigeria last week, the President of France announced that the French government plans to invest 1 billion euros (about 1.2 billion dollars) in African startups!

During the event, hosted by the Tony Elumelu Foundation, President Emmanuel Macron signed a partnership agreement which covers research assistance, loan guarantees and mentors for local entrepreneurs. It’s all being done through the French government’s development agency, and this means more support for thousands of aspiring business leaders across the continent.

“To young African entrepreneurs, never listen to people who are telling you to wait,” Macron told the crowd. “If you believe in your projects — just do it. Our role is to help the new generation to seize opportunities and rise to the challenge. This is what underpins a new, balanced relationship.”

The session was hosted and moderated by TEF founder Tony Elumelu, a Nigerian businessman and philanthropist who created a $100 million program in 2015 with the goal of training, funding and mentoring thousands of entrepreneurs across Africa by 2024.