Since his formative years, Tony Elumelu had showed traits of greatness, especially when he rose to the post of the youngest branch manager of Standard Trust Bank at age 28, a record that remained unbroken till date.
The Afri-Capitalist originator is regarded as one of the most valuable assets out of Nigeria, with his undying passion to create wealth for Africa. If you doubt his brilliance and Midas touch in economics and business related matters, his tremendous achievements over the years, speak volume.
In 2005, the Economics graduate from Ambrose Alli University, Ekpoma, proved critics wrong by leading the most audacious bank merger in the history of Nigeria’s capital market – merging United Bank for Africa (UBA) with Standard Trust Bank. He further went ahead to position the bank as Africa’s global bank with easy innovative banking channels.
Those in the know aver that Tony has made a covenant with his creator, to keep using his God given resources to equip African youths, using his Tony Elumelu Foundation (TEF), as a tool for empowering Small and Medium Enterprise (SME) business developers and entrepreneurs by mentoring them. For close to 10 years, the foundation has injected over $100 million dollars to fund over 10,000 African entrepreneurs.
Last week, the Chairman of Heirs Holdings was invited as a guest speaker by the French Minister of Economy and Finance, Bruno Le Maire to deliver a speech in Paris, in order to attract French investors to look in the direction of Africa for long term investment opportunities that youths will benefit from.
He stated that Africa has the youngest workforce in the world, with over 60% of its population below the age of 25. This is a potential demographic doom that could be turned around to become the continent’s greatest asset if the youths have jobs and economic opportunities.
According to him, “Africans do not need aid. Rather, our young people need investments. Private equity is a force for positive development in Africa. We have a large youth population, who are eager and innovative. They are looking at solutions to problems in their communities but are hampered by the access to capital and investment, mentoring and training. When done right, this kind of investment can bring not just capital but can also strengthen job creation, corporate governance and help improve sustainable business practices”.