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Book review: Africans Investing in Africa
Ever since the Chairman of the United Bank for Africa (UBA), Mr Tony Elumelu, began to proclaim his Africapitalism phrase, I had developed a cynical disposition to what I saw as another meaningless jargon.
While I share in the ideal that African businessmen with immense financial capital should help with long-term investments to create both economic prosperity and social wealth on the continent--and I consider it commendable that Elumelu would invest $100 million (N21 billion) in pursuit of that objective--I have always dismissed the whole campaign as hollow.
The essence of the project, according to the promoters, Elumelu
and Oppenheimer, is not only to come up with "innovative ways to move beyond regional differences and competition, in order to forge lasting ties so that Africans at all levels become the primary beneficiaries of the continent's economic growth" but also "to demonstrate the diversity of sectors that are engaged in cross-border economic activity across the continent".
In a continent where lack of access to finance and limited linkages to markets have imposed critical constraints on small and big entrepreneurs with poverty a direct consequence, the thesis of Elumelu
, as aptly captured in the book, Africans Investing in Africa, is that with investment in social capital and critical infrastructure, many of the issues driving our young men and women to flee their countries would be resolved.
By launching the $100 million Tony Elumelu
Entrepreneurship Programme (TEEP) to provide mentoring, training, networking and funding for 1,000 African start-ups per annum for the next ten years, Elumelu is showing the way on what needs to be done to reposition our continent.
Tony O Elumelu, ...
Tony O Elumelu, CON
Tony Elumelu 480 x 480
Tony O Elumelu, CON
Chairman, Heirs Holdings
Tony Elumelu is an economist, investor, and philanthropist.
chairs privately held investment firm Heirs Holdings
and Nigeria's largest quoted conglomerate, Transcorp.
invests across Africa, primarily in the oil and gas, financial services, hospitality and power sectors.
investments are informed by his
philosophy of Africapitalism: the belief that the private sector can lead Africa's economic renaissance and that investment should create both economic prosperity and social wealth.
Mr Elumelu sits on a number of public and social sector boards including the United Nations Sustainable Energy for All Initiative (SE4ALL) and USAID's Private Capital Group for Africa Partners Forum (PCGA).
He is also the Chairman of pan-African financial services group, United Bank for Africa, and the Founder of the Tony Elumelu Foundation, which has seeded $100 million through the Tony Elumelu Entrepreneurship Programme, to champion entrepreneurship across Africa over the next 10 years.
The United Bank for Africa (UBA) ...
The United Bank for Africa (UBA) Plc will today (Friday), name a successor for Tony Elumelu, its incumbent managing director/chief executive.
Nigerian banker and philanthropist ...
Nigerian banker and philanthropist Tony Elumelu was recently in Washington D.C., where he reiterated his belief that Africans themselves will be at the forefront of the continent's economic renaissance.
"No one can develop Africa but us [Africans].
That was Nigerian philanthropist Tony Elumelu's
message to international business leaders, global philanthropic organizations and Western development partners during the Global Philanthropy Forum annual conference in Washington D.C on Tuesday.
Elumelu, founder of the Tony Elumelu Foundation, was among the keynote speakers at the annual forum event.
told attendees that Africa's private sector will be the leading player in contributing to the continent's economic transformation.
"We are now the world's fastest growing region," Elumelu
"There is a social and economic impact to be derived, but it needs to be done with the right approach - with African leadership and with the private sector, rather than from a charitable orientation."
also seized the opportunity to introduce the audience to Africapitalism, an economic philosophy that embodies the private sector's commitment to the economic transformation of Africa through long-term investments that create both economic prosperity and social wealth.
A day before he
spoke at the Global Philanthropy Forum
delivered an African investment-themed lecture to senior management and invited guests of the International Finance Corporation
(IFC), an arm of the World Bank
, in Washington.
During the lecture, he
urged those looking to invest in Africa to demonstrate social responsibility even in the pursuit of economic prosperity.
"Investment in Africa needs a different perspective," he
told the audience.
At the meeting, Elumelu
advocated for strategic partnerships between the World Bank
and philanthropic organizations in emerging economies as well as setting high standards and introducing legislation to foster the development of domestic philanthropic sectors.
"We have an emerging affluent class in Africa.
Unfortunately, the institution of giving has not been professionalized," he
"We need the legal structures in place to really leverage Africa's own wealth to set the continent's development agenda from within."
, one of Africa's most respected business leaders, famously acquired a moribund commercial bank in Lagos in 1997 and transformed it into the $2 billion (market capitalization) United Bank for Africa
(UBA), a Pan-African financial services behemoth with a presence in 19 countries and 3 continents.
He stepped down as CEO of the bank in 2010, and now serves as Executive Chairman of Heirs Holdings, an African-focused investment holding company, and the Tony Elumelu Foundation, a non-profit that promotes and celebrates African entrepreneurship and leadership.
Heirs Holdings - About Us - Our Prinicipal
Tony O. Elumelu is a Nigerian-born banker, investor and philanthropist.
A transformative figure in African banking, Elumelu was the driving force behind the rise of United Bank for Africa, one of the very few financial services institutions, that have delivered on a truly Pan-African strategy.
He is recognized for building one of the most innovative banking groups in Africa and providing a vision and strategy that helped to revolutionize Africa's banking sector.
is seeking to do for philanthropy what he
has already done for banking: transform it by creating an African champion capable of global influence.
philanthropic vision, calls for using African capital to support imaginative business leaders by removing barriers to their entrepreneurial success, and focusing on impact investing as a primary tool for supporting the continent's fast-growing crop of small and medium businesses.
Elumelu is Founder and Chairman of Heirs Holdings Limited, an African proprietary investment firm that focuses on creating economic and social value in Africa, via long-term investment in a number of sectors, including financial services, healthcare, natural resources, infrastructure and real estate.
He is also Founder of The Tony Elumelu Foundation, an African based and funded philanthropy, whose mission is to identify and assist entrepreneurs and the leaders of Africa's increasingly confident private sector, serve as a source of policy development, and work to ensure that the private sector drives economic growth across Africa.
Tony Elumelu first rose to prominence in 1997, when he led a group of investors who acquired a distressed bank, rebranded it as Standard Trust Bank and within 7 years, transformed it into a top-five player in the Nigerian banking industry.
At the age of 34, he was named Chief Executive Officer, becoming the youngest CEO in Africa's banking industry.
From the start, as CEO, his
core objectives were to build a strong brand, increase market share for the bank, deliver great customer service and exert regional influence in key financial sectors.
In 2005, Elumelu
made a career-defining move.
conceived and executed the merger of Standard Trust Bank
and United Bank for Africa Plc
, at the time Nigeria's third largest bank, in the largest financial services transaction of its kind in sub-Saharan Africa positioned itself as a flagship in Nigerian banking industry and an African financial services leader.
At the centre of the vision, from outset, was the belief in the Pan-African opportunity.
set out not only to enlarge the scope of UBA's
banking services and presence beyond Nigeria's borders to the underbanked but, to greatly expand its pool of potential customers by providing personalized service that exceeded expectations.
re-focused the bank as a Pan-African financial services group, injecting capital into neighbouring economies, delivering products and services, specifically designed for the African market place, facilitating payment mechanisms between countries, providing intra African trade finance, breaking down the barriers to African regional trade that have historically held back the continent's potential.
Elumelu's stewardship as Chief Executive Officer of UBA
created wealth for its shareholders - a return of 6,527% over 13 years.
serves over 7 million customer accounts, in 20 African countries and operates on three continents.
In 2010, the Boston Consulting Group
as one of only 40 African champions, referring to African multinational corporations that have positioned themselves successfully in the global arena.
In 2003, the government of Nigeria conferred on Elumelu the national honour of Member of the Order of the Federal Republic.
In 2006, he
was voted African Business Leader of the Year by Africa Investor.
African Banker magazine
voted him African Banker of the Year in 2008, the same year he
completed a two-year term as President of the West African Bankers' Association
The following year, he was appointed by Nigeria's president as one of 10 to serve on the Presidential Committee on the Global Financial Crisis.
The committee was chaired by the president and was created to set up to advise how Nigeria
should address the impact of the global financial crisis.
Elumelu retired as Group Chief Executive Officer of UBA in August 2010.
continues to devote his
time to economic development.
He serves on the boards of a number of institutions, in addition to his principal role at Heirs Holdings, which he launched upon his retirement from UBA.
He sits on the board of UBA Capital (Europe) Limited.
He chairs the Board Risk and Investment Committee of the Africa Finance Corporation, and serves on the Advisory Board of Development Partners International LLP, London.
frequently speaks on Africa's economic development and finance at international forums.
A number of African Presidents consult with him on economic issues and he is on the Presidential Investment Council of Burkina Faso.
In 2011, New African named him one of the Top 100 Most Influential Africans in the area of business and finance.
He also serves on the World Economic Forum's Regional Agenda Council on Africa and is a member of the Bretton Woods Committee, which brings together international leaders in business, finance and civil society.
is passionately committed to proving that the African private sector can be the primary driver and beneficiary of Africa's economic transformation.
Based on his own track record and beliefs, he launched The Tony Elumelu Foundation (TEF) in October 2010.
Tony Elumelu was born in Jos, Nigeria, in 1963.
He earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Economics from Bendel State University and a Master of Science in Economics from the University of Lagos.
He also attended Harvard Business School, where he completed the Advanced Management Program.
has also completed management programs at the Institute of Management Development
in Lausanne, Switzerland, and the Singapore Institute of Management
He holds an honorary doctor of science degree from Benue State University and an honorary doctor of business administration from the University of Nigeria, Nsukka.
is married to Awele, a medical doctor and together they have five children.