Tony Elumelu MFR, CON is a Nigerian economist, entrepreneur, and philanthropist. He is the chairman of Heirs Holdings, the United Bank for Africa, Transcorp and founder of The Tony Elumelu Foundation.
Full Name: Anthony Onyemaechi Elumelu
Born: 22 March 1963
Birth place: Jos, Plateau, Nigeria
Citizenship: Nigerian (1963–present)
Alma mater: Ambrose Alli University,
University of Lagos, Lagos, Delta State University, Benue State University
Famous as: Chairman, Transnational Corporation of Nigeria, Heirs Holdings & United Bank for Africa
Years active: 1987—present
Notable work: Tony Elumelu Entrepreneurship Programme
Net worth: US$900 million (January 2020)
Spouse(s): Dr. Awele Elumelu
Dominic Elumelu (father)
Suzanne Elumelu (mother)
RelativesNdudi Elumelu (brother)
Children: Ogor Elumelu, Onyinye Elumelu, Oge Elumelu, Nneka Elumelu, Ugo Elumelu
Biographical and educational history
Elumelu was born in Jos, Plateau State, Nigeria, in 1963. He hails from Onicha-Ukwu in Aniocha North Local Government Area of 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.
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In his early career, Elumelu acquired Standard Trust Bank. In 2005 and United Bank for Africa (UBA) was acquired afterwards. It completed one of the biggest mergers in the history of Nigeria’s capital markets with the business combination with Standard Trust Bank (STB) Plc.
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.
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.
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 to 13 May 2016.
The Tony Elumelu Foundation
Following his retirement from United Bank for Africa in July 2010, Elumelu founded The Tony Elumelu Foundation. His stated objective was to “prove that the African private sector can itself be the primary generator of economic development.”
The Foundation is charged with the mission of “driving Africa’s economic development by enhancing the competitiveness of the African private sector”.
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 select African countries. This partnership is called the Blair-Elumelu Fellowship Programme.
He is co-chair of the Africa Energy Leaders’ Group (AELG)
Elumelu is a Trustee of the Infant Jesus Academy in Delta State, Nigeria.
In 2018, he joined other global leaders as one of the inaugural Board Members of Generation Unlimited, an initiative of the United Nations refocused youth agenda.
ong>Tony Elumelu Philosophy
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 subscribes to Michael Porter’s concept of Creating Shared Value (CSV). He studied under Professor Porter at Harvard Business School and Professor Porter is the Founding Patron of The Tony Elumelu Foundation.
CSV refers to the idea that “companies must take the lead in bringing business and society back together.” It asserts that “businesses acting as businesses, not as charitable donors, are the most powerful force for addressing the pressing issues (society) face(s).”
Awards and Recognitions
In 2003, the Federal Government of Nigeria granted Elumelu the title of Member of the Order of the Federal Republic (MFR), a national honour.
In 2006, Elumelu was voted African Business Leader of The Year by Africa Investor magazine.
In 2006, he won the African Business Leader of The Year award conferred by the United Kingdom-based magazine, Africa Investor.
In March 2007, he was voted The Banker of The Year by the Nigerian Magazine, Global Excellence and Chief Executive Officer of the Year in 2008 by the same magazine.
He was recognised African Banker of the Year in 2008 by 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 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, 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 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.
Also, in 2016, he was awarded the ‘daily times, Nigerian man of the year.’
He was awarded 2017 Philanthropist of the year award on February 28, 2018 by media publisher, Per Second News.
Tony Elumelu won The Seven Stars Man of The Year award in 2019.
Writings and books
How to Excel at Work – Proven strategies for achieving superior work performance] by Bili A. Odum – a book inspired by Elumelu’s work ethics.
Elumelu has contributed to the Nigeria Leadership Initiative White Papers, writing on Leveraging private sector approaches in transforming government delivery.
The Power of Vision: Insights on Tony Elumelu is a testimonial compiled on the occasion of his retirement as Group managing director/chief executive officer at the United Bank for Africa.
It contains messages from Aliko Dangote, former Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo, Professor Michael Porter, former World Bank managing director and Nigeria’s Minister of Finance, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, President of Sierra Leone Ernest Bai Koroma, former United States Comptroller of the Currency, Eugene Ludwig and Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, former Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria.
He has written about his philosophy and the economic development of Africa for several publications around the world including The Economist, The Wall Street Journal and The Financial Times.
Family and personal life
Tony Elumelu married Awele Vivien Elumelu, a medical doctor, in 1993, and they have seven children together.
He has four siblings, one of whom is Ndudi Elumelu, a member of the Nigerian Federal House of Representatives.
He is the cousin of legendary Nigerian reggae artiste, Ras Kimono who died on 10 June 2018.