Buhari hails Nigeria’s foremost entrepreneur
By Omololu Ogunmade in Abuja and Dike Onwuamaeze in Lagos
TIME Magazine has named the Founder of the Tony Elumelu Foundation (TEF) and Chairman of the United Bank for Africa (UBA), Mr. Tony Elumelu, in its 2020 TIME100, the annual list of the 100 most influential people in the world.
Elumelu is one of Africa’s leading investors and philanthropists.
President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday lauded Elumelu, for making Time’s 100 Most Influential People in 2020.
According to a statement from the New York-based media outfit yesterday, the list, now in its seventeenth year, recognises the activism, innovation, and achievement of the world’s most influential individuals.
Elumelu, who is one of only four Africans on the 2020 list, was recognised for his track record of business turnaround and value creation, and economic empowerment of young Africans.
Elumelu is also the Founder and Chairman of Heirs Holdings, his family owned investment company, committed to improving lives and transforming Africa, through long-term investments in strategic sectors of the African economy, including financial services, hospitality, power, energy and healthcare.
UBA, a top pan-African financial services group, where he is also the chairman operates in 20 countries in Africa, the United Kingdom, France, and is the only African bank with a commercial deposit taking licence in the United States.
The bank provides corporate, commercial, SME and consumer banking services to more than 21 million customers globally. Elumelu also chairs Nigeria’s largest quoted conglomerate, Transcorp, whose subsidiaries include Transcorp Power, one of the leading generators of electricity in Nigeria and Transcorp Hotels Plc, Nigeria’s foremost hospitality brand.
Elumelu is the most prominent champion of entrepreneurship in Africa. In 2010, he created TEF, the philanthropy empowering a new generation of African entrepreneurs, catalysing economic growth, driving poverty eradication and ensuring job creation across all 54 African countries. Since inception, the Foundation has funded just under 10,000 entrepreneurs and created a digital ecosystem of over one million as part of its ten year, $100 million commitment through the TEF Entrepreneurship Programme. Self-funded, the Foundation is increasingly sharing its unique ability to identify, train, mentor and fund young entrepreneurs across Africa, with institutions such as the UNDP, the ICRC and leading European development agencies.
Heirs Holdings, which serves as a corporate role model for African businesses, and the TEF would both celebrate 10 years of impact in November. Their mission continues to be inspired by Elumelu’s economic philosophy of Africapitalism, which positions the private sector, and most importantly entrepreneurs, as the catalyst for the social and economic development of the continent.
Meanwhile, Buhari yesterday lauded Elumelu, for making Time’s 100 Most Influential People in 2020.
Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Mr. Femi Adesina, said the president commended Elumelu’s vision of Africapitalism.
According to him, the vision is a statement that Africa’s private sector must play a leading role in the continent’s development through long-term investments, entrepreneurship, and regional connectivity, adding that it was just a matter of time before Elumelu’s vision caught a global attention.
“President Buhari says Elumelu’s commitment to the development of African youths, whom he has given a voice and empowerment, investing $5,000 in 1,000 young entrepreneurs per year across 54 countries, pedestals him as a visionary, with milk of human kindness, ‘and such, among others, must have qualified him for the Time Hall of Fame.’
“The president wishes Elumelu greater successes on all fronts, and recommends his strides to other high networth people,” Adesina added.