Tony Elumelu –a Proponent of Africapitalism

Born March 22, 1963, in Plateau State, Nigeria, Tony Elumelu started his early life in Jos. Being an economist, investor and philanthropist has always been his goals in life.

  • Elumelu got his Bachelor of Science degree in Economics, from Ambrose Alli University, Ekpoma, Edo State and a Master of Science degree in Economics, from the University of Lagos. Tony Elumelu is an alumnus of Harvard Business School’s Advanced Management Programme. In 1993, he married Awele Elumelu, a medical doctor, and together they have five daughters.
  • In his early career, Elumelu made a name for himself when he acquired and turned Standard Trust Bank into a top-five player in Nigeria. In 2003, the Federal Government of Nigeria conferred on him the National Honour of Member of the Order of the Federal Republic (MFR).
  • In 2005, his corporate reputation, as an African business leader was sealed, when he led the largest merger in the banking sector in Sub-Saharan Africa to acquire United Bank for Africa (UBA). And in five years, he transformed UBA, from a single-country bank, to a pan-African institution, with over seven million customers in 20 African countries and operating in Europe and the United States.
  • In 2006, Elumelu was voted African Business Leader of The Year, by the Africa Investor magazine and was recognised African Banker of the Year in 2008, by the African Banker magazine. In 2009, the then Nigerian President Umaru Musa Yar’adua (Late) asked him to serve on the Presidential Committee on the Global Financial Crisis.
  • In July 2010, Tony Elumelu retired as Group Chief Executive Officer of UBA. Following his retirement from UBA, Elumelu founded Heirs Holdings Limited, an African investment company deploying proprietary capital for the long term in the most promising sectors of the continent. In the same year, he established the Tony Elumelu Foundation, an Africa-based and African-funded philanthropy, dedicated to the promotion of excellence in business leadership and entrepreneurship and to enhance the competitiveness of the private sector across Africa.

  • In 2011, Heirs Holdings acquired a controlling interest in the Transnational Corporation of Nigeria Plc (Transcorp), a publicly quoted conglomerate that has business interests in the agribusiness, energy, and hospitality sectors. Elumelu was subsequently appointed Chairman of the Corporation. In the same year, the New African magazine named him one of the Top 100 Most Influential Africans in the area of business and finance.
  • In 2012, Elumelu was awarded the prestigious National Honour of Commander of the Order of the Niger (CON) for his service in promoting private enterprise. He was also recognised as one of “Africa’s 20 Most Powerful People in 2012” by Forbes Magazine. In addition, he was awarded an honorary doctorate of science degree from the Benue State University and an honorary doctorate of business administration from the University of Nigeria, Nsukka.
  • Elumelu is the originator of the term Africapitalism. According to him, Africapitalism is 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. Elumelu sees Africans taking charge of the value-adding sectors and ensuring that those value-added processes happen in Africa, not through nationalisation or government policies, but because there is a generation of private sector entrepreneurs who have the vision, the tools and the opportunity to shape the destiny of the continent. He insists that Africapitalism is not capitalism with an African twist; it is a rallying cry for empowering the private sector to drive Africa’s economic and social growth.
  • Elumelu serves as an Advisor to the USAID’s Private Capital Group for Africa (PCGA) Partners Forum. He sits on the Nigerian President’s Agricultural Transformation Implementation Council (ATIC). He is also Vice-Chairman and a key driver in the formation of the National Competitiveness Council of Nigeria (NCCN), and serves as Co-Chair of the Aspen Institute Dialogue Series on Global Food Security. He additionally chairs the Ministerial Committee to establish world-class hospitals and diagnostic centers across Nigeria, at the invitation of the Federal Government.
  • Tony Elumelu was a member of the World Economic Forum’s Regional Agenda Council on Africa. His presence on the Bretton Woods Committee, which brings together senior leaders in the global banking industry, is recognition of his work on African development.
  • In September, 2013, he was a guest speaker at the United Nations Millennium Development Goals (UN MDG) Success Event and the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) Annual Meeting, in New York. In the same month, a United Kingdom based publishers of African Business Magazine named Tony Elumelu the winner of the African Business Icon Award.