It has been unarguably established that the legacy of Nigeria’s banking mogul, Tony O. Elumelu is an inspiration to many African youths, and a seed of hope in place of hopelessness. The wealthy entrepreneur has lived his entire life in Africa. He knows the continent’s story and lived it all from hustling to success. As Africa’s leading investor and philanthropist, Elumelu believes youth entrepreneurship has the potential to tackle global challenges such as forced migration, poverty, and hunger. That’s why he has taken it upon himself to mint a new set of entrepreneurs. For nearly a decade, Elumelu has been responsible for initiatives creating millions of jobs and employment for young Africans across the continent, through his philanthropy, The Tony Elumelu Foundation (TEF). The Foundation’s flagship intervention, the TEF Entrepreneurship Programme, is a 10-year, $100 million commitment to identify, train, mentor, and fund 10,000 young African entrepreneurs across 54 African countries. Over 9,600 young Africans are current beneficiaries, just six years since its inception. And he has since been receiving unending positive vibes. In 2019, Elumelu was conferred with the National Productivity Merit Award in Nigeria and in mid-2020, he featured in the Time 100 Most Influential People in the World on the account of the phenomenal work of his foundation.
In further recognition of his commitment to poverty eradication and the economic empowerment of young Africans, Elumelu, last Sunday night, was conferred with the honorary distinction of Officer in the Order of Leopold by the Kingdom of Belgium. The UBA Group Chairman was conferred the country’s oldest and most important National Honour by the Ambassador of Belgium to Nigeria, H.E. Ambassador Daniel Bertrand, who presented the royal decoration to Elumelu on Sunday, November 15 —the Belgian King’s Day and a symbolic national day of celebration— at the Belgian House in Abuja with select public and private sector leaders in attendance. “I am humbled by this recognition of the work of Tony Elumelu Foundation in catalysing entrepreneurs across Africa and will continue to drive the economic empowerment of our brilliant young African entrepreneurs to propel development in Africa,” Elumelu said after being decorated. Anyone who has undertaken a careful study of the life of Elumelu, or even taken more than a passing interest in his inspirational journey in the business world, will know without any disputation that he has always plied his trade with impressive professionalism. His disciplined lifestyle and strict adherence to the rules of the game, have earned him fame and acceptability across the globe. As much as humanly possible, the banking guru also runs away always from any kind of business that will tarnish his hard-earned reputation.
Spotlight observed that while the deadly coronavirus pandemic roils markets worldwide early this year, the banking mogul’s net worth remains unscathed. He saw his wealth swell at a time when a stock rout shaved off a chunk of the net worth of some of his billionaire compatriots on fears that the pandemic will gut economic growth. In fact, in July at the height of this pandemic pang, Elumelu increased his stake in UBA Group. The serial entrepreneur reportedly purchased additional 62.6 million shares of the pan-African financial institution at the Nigerian Stock Exchange. He acquired the new stocks through his family-owned African investment company, Heirs Holdings Limited. Spotlight learnt that the Delta State-born former banker bought the additional equities at an average price of N6.20 per unit and mopped up the 62.6 million shares at about N388.4 million. Recently, the suave billionaire also pulled a big one: his Transcorp Consortium won the bid for the 100% acquisition of the 966MW installed capacity Afam Power Plc and Afam Three Fast Power Limited in Rivers State at a cost of N105.3billion. This was followed by the final agreement between Transcorp and Sacoil Holdings Limited (now Efora Energy Limited) to settle all existing legal disputes around its Oil Prospecting Licence 281 (OPL 281). The agreement provides for the full and final settlement of all disputes and claims of both parties in connection with a participating interest in OPL 281 previously assigned to Efora in October 2006. The resolution of the dispute is significant, given that it is one of the legacy issues which Elumelu as the core investor that took over Transcorp in 2011 inherited, and has been taking steps to resolve. Elumelu’s businesses are present in 20 African countries and key international markets, with over 30,000 people in employment. His investments span power, financial services, healthcare, energy, technology, hospitality, and real estate.