• In 2013, November 1 up to November 21 was all Tony Elumelu needed to make $123 million. His shares in Transcorp PLC had seen a surge in value of up to 186% making his 5.7 billion shares equivalent to around $188 million. If there is a man who is able to turn trash to gold, it must be Tony Elumelu, who also happens to be a known philanthropist. Elumelu had started buying shares in Transcorp in April 2011 and by the September, he was the chairman of the company.

    The Magic Touch

    Tony Elumelu is the Chairman of Heirs Holdings, an investment company with interests in financial services, real estate, energy, agribusiness and healthcare. He also has a Non-Profit-Organisation under his name, the Tony Elumelu Foundation which is known for its bias towards promoting entrepreneurship and excellence in business in Africa. Through Heirs Holdings, Elumelu acquired shares in Transnational Corporation of Nigeria Plc, a conglomerate with interests in the agribusiness, energy and hospitality sectors. It is here that he made his mark with the gains in share value that had him making news headlines. However, this was not a one hit wonder as Elumelu had earlier on worked a similar miracle. True to his character, Elumelu had acquired an ailing bank, the Standard Trust Bank and turned it into one of the largest in South Africa. In 2005, he then led the bank into a historic merger to form the United Bank for Africa, which then grew into a monstrous company with customers in 19 African countries. That he later made history with Transcorp no longer seems too surprising because Elumelu is a man who always had it in him. Heirs Holdings only came to life following Elumelu’s retirement from the United Bank in 2010.

    A Heart for the People, A Heart for Africapitalism

    Tony Elumelu is a well-known philanthropist who has managed to impact Africa with his sustainable, forward-thinking ideas of charity in Africa. In 2015, he announced he would fund 1,000 budding entrepreneurs as part of a $100 million initiative to boost the African private sector through his Foundation. The Foundation’s objective is to enhance the competitiveness of the African private sector and with the Tony Elumelu Entrepreneurship Programme (TEEP) going into its third year, Mr Elumelu’s goal is within shooting range. 

    TEEP has the mission to identify and grow 10,000 African entrepreneurs, create 1 million jobs, and add $10 billion in annual revenue across Africa over the next decade.

    In 2015, he predicted, “…the African entrepreneur will explode on to the global stage, as a new generation shows he world what those of us doing business in Africa have long known: that our continent is home to some of the most exciting and innovative entrepreneurial talent.” With President Barack Obama’s Spark programme to recognize emerging global entrepreneurs partnering with the Tony Elumelu Entrepreneurship Programme, the sky is the limit for the young business people of Africa. Apart from his Foundation, Afrikanpost says he was a member of the World Economic Forum’s Regional Agenda Council on Africa. He was also part of the Bretton Woods Committee and through his foundation, has a partnership with the Tony Blair Africa Governance Initiative.

    With a growing need for change in Africa, Elumelu’s idea of Africapitalism: a rallying cry for empowering the private sector to drive Africa forward, the continent will see big changes. The seeds of Mr Elumelu’s movement have already been seen, not only in the 2,000 beneficiaries of the Entrepreneurship Programme but also such groundbreaking business people as Mike Macharia, a Kenyan entrepreneur who built a “pan-African company” in Sub-Saharan Africa who was acknowledged by Mr Elumelu himself. Also acknowledged was Takunda Chingonzo, a 21 year old who brought President Obama to task over the impact of American trade restriction policies on Zimbabwe. In his words, Mr Elumelu says, “African entrepreneurs will play a central role in bringing together private wealth and public need. They will prove a key tenet of Africapitalism: that it is both necessary and possible for entrepreneurs and society to prosper simultaneously. The transformative impact of economic growth unleashed by a fully empowered, socially conscious entrepreneurial class will dwarf the results achieved by the previous aid-driven approach to Africa’s development.” It seems Mr Elumelu has found the secret to sustainably developing Africa: entrepreneurship.