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Africapitalism and Philanthropy of Tony Elumelu

Africapitalism and Philanthropy of Tony Elumelu

African businessman and philanthropist Tony Elumelu promotes Africapitalism and philanthropy for Africans.

African businessman and philanthropist Tony Elumelu promotes Africapitalism and philanthropy for Africans.
Tony Elumelu



Tony Elumelu was born on March 22, 1963, and is the second oldest of five children. Elumelu, at age 54, is one of Africa’s most prominent business leaders and philanthropists. He attended Harvard's school of business and became Nigeria's King of banking at age 34.

Elumelu was CEO and general managing director of the United Bank for Africa group but left in 2010. While there he made history, paving the way in which banks operate in Africa.

Beyond banking, he decided to set up an investment firm that would boost Africa socially. Founded in 2010, the Tony Elumelu Foundation is an African funded philanthropic organization that supports entrepreneurship in Africa.

Elumelu is the founder and leading advocate of the Africapitalism movement, an economic viewpoint that hinges on the belief that Africa’s private sector can and must play a leading role in the continent’s development.

Africapitalism is a term coined by Elumelu in 1997 hinges on seven core principles, long-term investments, strategic sectors, development dividends, value-added growth, regional connectivity, multi-generational development, and shared purpose.

The philosophy calls on Africa’s private sector to invest long-term in key sectors that have to create both economic prosperity as well as social affluence simultaneously. Investments make money but also touch African society to increase access to electricity, invest in agricultural and engage productively in healthcare. Financial returns as well as having a social impact is at the heart of Africapitalism.

Africapitalism means doing well as well as doing good. Banking entrepreneur Tony Elumelu is credited with bringing banking to the everyday African population. He provided access to Africans so they could have a bank account, transfer money when they pleased through mobile banking, gain interest, and take out loans. Nigerian banker and philanthropist Tony Elumelu in August 2017, donated $500,000 to Sierra Leone to help alleviate the suffering of people affected by flood and mudslide in the country.

Elumelu made the donation to Sierra Leonean President Ernest Bai Koroma on Wednesday during a visit to the West African country. Along with former Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo, Elumelu visited survivors at the Connaught Hospital, the principal adult referral hospital in Freetown, the country’s capital.

Elumelu called on other wealthy individuals and organizations around the world to support relief efforts in Sierra Leone. The Nigerian philanthropist also called the attention of international media to the Freetown floods and bemoaned the fact that the world’s major news organizations have not given significant media attention to the crisis.

More than 3,000 people lost their homes in last week's mudslide in Sierra Leone, which killed at least 499 people, with more than 600 still missing. There is still no precise figure for the total number of victims. Three years ago, Elumelu donated about $300,000 towards Ebola containment and relief across Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia.

In 2010, the Tony Elumelu Foundation was founded according to his website to spur our continent’s development through entrepreneurship and competitiveness.

The Tony Elumelu Foundation is the philanthropic arm of Heirs Holdings, an African investment firm believing that the private sector holds the key to unlocking Africa’s economic potential. Tony Elumelu Foundation desires to empower a generation of successful for-profit entrepreneurs who drive Africa’s economic and social transformation.

Tony Elumelu quotes about philanthropy and community

“The future we all want for ourselves is one of our own making.”

“As an entrepreneur myself, I understand what it feels like to yearn for a lifeline, to hope for a big break, to look forward to enjoying some luck.”

“All lives whether on the African continent or elsewhere are the same and should attract the same media attention and human sympathy.”

“In 2015, I heralded the ‘Decade of the African Entrepreneur’ by committing $100 million, to the TEF Entrepreneurship Programme the first of its kind and scale in Africa. Since then, our alumni across all 54 African countries have begun growing businesses and improving lives, contributing to our goal of empowering 10,000 entrepreneurs who will collectively create one million jobs and generate $10 billion in revenue.”

"Africapitalism means we cannot leave the business of development up to our governments, donor countries, and philanthropic organizations alone. The private sector must be involved in the business of development."


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