Tony Elumelu Advocates for ‘Africapitalism’ As the Solution for Africa’s Development

Filed under: Business,Featured |
Aliko Dangote Tony Elumelu photo

Aliko Dangote right and Tony Elumelu left

AFRICANGLOBE – Charity and aid have failed Africa and its leading entrepreneurs are now driving the continent’s development agenda.

This was the sentiment of Tony Elumelu’s speech, described by many as “powerful,” which was delivered at the African Development Bank’s (AfDB) Annual Board of Governors meeting held in Marrakech, Morocco. The speech was followed by a panel discussion moderated by the BBC presenter Zeinab Badawi with Ronald Lauder, founder of the Ronald S. Lauder Foundation.

Elumelu challenged the audience to consider a new approach to Africa’s development – one that involved the private sector and was capable of kick-starting the economic ecosystem that underpins all sustainable development.  He called this new approach Africapitalism, an economic philosophy which asserts that the private sector can solve Africa’s most pressing challenges through long term investments that create economic prosperity and social wealth.

In front of a global audience that included African finance ministers, central bank governors, CEOs, and executives of global development finance institutions, as well as African business leaders, including some past presidents, development partners, and African and global philanthropic institutions, Elumelu spoke of the failure of traditional development interventions which have previously characterized development in Africa.

The president of the African Development Bank, Donald Kaberuka, described the speech as, “rich in human quality and compassion,” and recognized that it “set out the challenge for home-grown African wealth, whether of billionaires or small businessmen, to invest in Africa.”

Elumelu, who is Chairman of Heirs Holdings, a proprietary investment company and founder of The Tony Elumelu Foundation, called for the private sector to take on the responsibility of development using his personal experience at the United Bank for Africa (UBA).

He made a compelling case for Africapitalism by telling the story of how a USD5 million investment in UBA 17 years ago spawned a multinational, pan-African financial institution that has created 25,000 jobs, generated wealth in communities all across Africa, expanded finance for trade, created stronger financial infrastructure for investment and economic growth, paid taxes to national and local governments to support public services, and given millions of customers control over their financial lives.

He compared that investment to the annual flow of charitable aid into Africa – many times the USD5 million investment that started UBA – to show that private sector involvement was a far superior, more effective way of dealing with Africa’s development challenges.  Elumelu’s investment company Heirs Holdings’ recent USD300 million investment in a power plant in Nigeria was another example of a long-term, profit driven investment that would bring development to Africa.

Elumelu mentioned other strategic visionaries who were also playing a significant role in driving the continent’s development through their business investments: Aliko Dangote and Mike Adenuga in Nigeria, Lucien Ebata in the DRC, Reginald Mengi in Tanzania, Patrice Motsepe in South Africa, Kofi Amoabeng in Ghana – these are entrepreneurs who are creating tens of thousands of jobs, empowering individuals, families and entire communities.

In a call to action for the continent’s entrepreneurs and business leaders who have not yet embraced Africapitalism, he pleaded with them to ‘step up’ and deliberately start investing in strategic sectors that would drive development.

“We need to do away with short-term thinking. We should be investing over time horizons measured in decades, rather than fiscal quarters. We must stop the practice of extracting wealth without reinvesting for growth. We should be strategically building domestic industries and manufacturing to support our national economies, and growing intra-African trade,” he said.

In concluding, Elumelu called on the philanthropic and charitable communities of Africa, the development banks and the private investors to embrace the philosophy of Africapitalism and recognize that the private sector’s role in driving economic prosperity is the solution for development.

“Economic prosperity is the most valuable and lasting gift we can give to a continent with our challenges. We need to support solutions that are catalytic and sustainable. That should be the ultimate goal of our “development” mission.

 

The full speech is available for download at:
http://tonyelumelu.com/content/tony-elumelus-speech-given-african-development-banks-annual-meeting-morocco

For more information:

Moky Makura
Director, Marketing and Corporate Communications
Heirs Holdings
[email protected]
+234 1 277 4641

Singto Saro-Wiwa
Communications Manager, Marketing & Corporate Communications
Heirs Holdings Ltd.
1 Macgregor Road – Ikoyi, Lagos – Nigeria
P: +234-1-2774641-5
M: +234-706-617-2981
E: [email protected]
www.heirsholdings.com

  • http://www.facebook.com/linda.rer Linda R-er

    Quite profound… Wonder if Bill Gates believes Mr. Elumelu… Gates was quick to dismiss Zambian Economist, Dambisa Moyo.

  • http://www.facebook.com/hchrystel Virgile Houngbadji

    great substance. The one who has considered that reflection as evile raisonning should listen to them

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1108245233 Maurice Lunsford

    Tony Elumelu is making sense. How the hell Africa has all those natural resources and needs some damn aid? If African leaders empowered the people. Then Africa would emerge as the great power that it should be.

  • http://www.facebook.com/regis.kaledza Regis Kaledza

    True,reliance on aid and charity will not get Africa anywhere.What is needed is to wean ourselves from this and drive the agenda for our growth.We have the natural resources to sustain a drive 4 growth,seems like an ideal starting point for me.

  • http://www.facebook.com/jared.purdy.54 Jared Purdy

    He won’t get any argument from Dambisa Moyo!

  • http://www.facebook.com/elimu.eze Elimu Eze

    we must unite..our leaders need to be part of the people for the neo colonialism to stop and we mustn’t allow whites back in to recolonize us again

  • http://www.facebook.com/joseph.carrier.90 Joseph Carrier

    It’s up to strong Africans to stop it.

  • http://www.facebook.com/LincolnsNY Lincoln’s Ny

    & don’t worry, Europe will be there to continue the rape.

  • http://www.facebook.com/elimu.eze Elimu Eze

    Afrika I the place to be for the future