Tony Onyemaechi Elumelu, is a Nigerian economist, entrepreneur and philanthropist; Chairman of Heirs Holdings, the United Bank for Africa, Transcorp and founder of The Tony Elumelu Foundation; a holder of the Nigerian national honours, the Commander of the Order of Nigeria (CON) and Member of the Order of the Federal Republic (MFR). He is one of “Africa’s 20 Most Powerful People and a man who made $123 in three weeks. Born 22 March 1963 in Jos, Plateau State. He is an Ukwuani, from Delta State. He has two degrees in economics from Nigerian universities, a bachelor’s degree from Ambrose Alli University and a Master of Science degree from the University of Lagos. He is an alumnus of Harvard Business School’s Advanced Management Programme. Tony Elumelu married Awele Vivien Elumelu, a medical doctor, in 1993, and they have seven children together.
In his early career, Elumelu acquired and turned Standard Trust Bank into a top-five player in Nigeria. In 2005 he led the acquisition of United Bank for Africa (UBA), later transforming it from a single-country bank to a pan-African institution with over seven million customers in nineteen African countries.
Following his retirement from UBA in 2010, Elumelu founded Heirs Holdings, which invests in the financial services, energy, real estate and hospitality, agribusiness, and healthcare sectors. In the same year, he established the Tony Elumelu Foundation, an Africa-based and African-funded philanthropic organisation dedicated to the promotion of excellence in business leadership and entrepreneurship and to enhancing the competitiveness of the private sector across Africa; thus proving that the African private sector can itself be the primary generator of economic development.
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 of the National Competitiveness Council of Nigeria (NCCN) whose formation he was a key driver in, 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 centres across Nigeria, at the invitation of the Federal Government and the Presidential Jobs Board, engineered to create 3 million jobs in one year. He also serves as a member of the Global Advisory Board of the United Nations Sustainable Energy for All Initiative (SE4ALL) and USAID’s Private Capital Group for Africa Partners Forum. He was one of the co-chairs of the 26th World Economic Forum on Africa in Kigali, Rwanda from 11–13 May 2016.
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. He is a Fellow of the Nigeria Leadership Initiative (NLI). He is involved, through his foundation, with the Tony Blair Africa Governance Initiative (AGI) in a partnership to strengthen the private sector’s role in the economic transformation of selected African countries. This partnership is called the Blair-Elumelu Fellowship Programme. He is co-chair of the Africa Energy Leaders’ Group (AELG) and a Trustee of the Infant Jesus Academy in Delta State, Nigeria.
Elumelu is the originator of the term 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. Elumelu sees Africans taking charge of the value-adding sectors and ensuring that those value-added processes happen in Africa, not through nationalization 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.
In 2003, the Federal Government of Nigeria granted Tony Elumelu the prestigious title of Member of the Order of the Federal Republic (MFR). In 2006, Elumelu was voted African Business Leader of The Year by the Africa Investor magazine and was recognized African Banker of the Year in 2008 by the African Banker magazine. In 2009, the Nigerian President Umaru Musa Yar’adua asked him to serve on the Presidential Committee on the Global Financial Crisis.
In 2012, he was awarded the prestigious National Honour of Commander of the Order of the Niger (CON) for his service in promoting private enterprise. He was recognised as one of “Africa’s 20 Most Powerful People in 2012” by Forbes Magazine. In addition, the New African Magazine featured him in their list of the “100 Most Influential Africans in Business”. 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.
In 2013, Elumelu received the Leadership Award in Business and Philanthropy from the Africa-America Institute (AAI) Awards. He was also named African Business Icon at the 2013 African Business Awards. ESI-Africa, frequently described as “Africa’s power journal”, named Elumelu in its 2015 ‘ESI Most Influential Figures in African Power’ list, in January 2015. At the 5th edition of the annual Economic Forum of the Ivorian National Council of Employers, CGECI Academy, (CGECI) in Abidjan in April 2016, he was awarded a Lifetime Achievement Award.
In appreciation of all these excellent qualities, outstanding profile and avalanche of creamy achievements from a dynamic dreamer, a strategist and champion of success, THE NIGERIAN IMAGE confers on Mr. Tony Elumelu, an Award of Excellence as A Distinguished Nigerian for his Excellent Performance.
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