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Tony Elumelu Foundation is an innovative 21st century philanthropic initiative…' says CEO

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The Tony Elumelu Foundation, established by the Chairman of Heirs

Holdings, Tony Elumelu, was formally launched in Lagos, Nigeria on

Friday, October 29, 2010, to a gathering of business and political

leaders , including the former Ghanaian President Mr. John Kufuor , and

with messages of support arriving from Mrs Graça Machel Mandela, Mr.

Tony Blair and Professor Michael Porter of Harvard Business School .

Speaking at the event, Mr. Elumelu said the establishment of the

Foundation was driven by his desire to give back to society and the

need to address the leadership question in Africa .

'Leadership is central to both the challenges and opportunities that

Africa offers. We need to have the right leadership, in the private

and the public sectors - this Foundation's objective is to catalyse

that leadership'.
 
The Foundation will focus on promoting and celebrating excellence in

business leadership and entrepreneurship across Africa. In doing this,

Mr. Elumelu said 'it will contribute to the economic transformation of

the African continent by fostering and impacting Africa's business

leaders and entrepreneurs at key stages in their development'.

As someone whose career has been dedicated to building a pan African

institution , Elumelu has always maintained Africa at the centre of his

ambition, driven by a belief in the economic possibilities Africa

offers and that now is the time for Africans to take control of their

destiny - stating that nobody will develop Africa except Africans. He

reiterated that there is the need to harness the enormous resources

that abound within the African continent for its development and that

the private sector must show the way.
'We need to encourage entrepreneurship and by so doing begin to

crystallise entrepreneurial development in the African continent.

Africa is endowed with so many resources; Africa has come of age and

has the intellectual capacity to develop itself' he stated.

The CEO of the Foundation, Dr. Wiebe Boer, who was born and raised in

Jos, Nigeria, in outlining the execution of the Founder's vision,

highlighted the two main focuses of the Foundation: business

leadership and entrepreneurship. He explained that learning from the

lessons of great historical foundations such as the Rockefeller

Foundation and the Ford Foundation , the Tony Elumelu Foundation would

be structured to represent innovative 21st century philanthropy,

achieving the right balance of charity and sustainability by

appropriately combining grant making, with impact investment -

investments that have double bottom line effects - adopting private

sector approaches to social issues. The objective was to create an

institution that would be recognised in time as a peer to institutions

such as Rockefeller and Carnegie.
'The Tony Elumelu Foundation will be a pioneering global foundation

where all aspects of the Foundation - from grants to impact

investments to endowment investments - are focused on the social

mission. All of this will be executed through an approach that is

transparent, accountable, results focused and based on partnerships

with other like-minded institutions as well as the private and public

sector' he explained. The inaugural CEO added, 'The Tony Elumelu

Foundation will be structured as an innovative 21st century

philanthropic initiative, showing the way forward not just in Africa,

but globally, in its approach to directly and sustainably advancing

the business environment in Africa."
Boer believes that the Foundation will play an important role in this

pivotal moment in which Africa's economic transformation is becoming a

reality. 'This is the moment we want to harness to make sure the next

decades continue where this one has ended - with long term sustainable

economic growth in Africa, driven by Africa's business leaders and

entrepreneurs' he enthused.
Immediate past President of Ghana, Mr. John Kufuor, reiterated the

importance of leadership and entrepreneurship as critical factors to

the development of the African continent. While commending the efforts

of Tony Elumelu in setting up the Foundation, he called on governments

to develop the political framework that will bring the desired changes

needed on the continent.
A number of messages from friends and supporters of the Foundation

were read at the occasion, including words from the former British

Prime Minister , Mr. Tony Blair ; the former First Lady of Mozambique

and South Africa Mrs. Graça Machel Mandela ; renowned Harvard Business

School Professor Michael Porter ; and the Chairman, UBA Board of

Directors, Chief Ferdinand Alabraba.   In his message, Tony Blair

concluded by writing, 'The Tony Elumelu Foundation will make a vital

contribution to the next stage of Africa's development, and I very

much look forward to working with him and offering him my full

support.'  In her contribution, Mrs Graça Machel Mandela wrote, 'It is

encouraging to see an African business leader like Tony Elumelu take

on what to most would seem like an insurmountable challenge.  Through

this ambitious effort the African youth have gained a formidable

advocate.'
About The Tony Elumelu Foundation and its Founder
 
The Tony Elumelu Foundation will seek to contribute to the economic

transformation of the African continent through fostering Africa's

business and entrepreneurial leadership, emulating and replicating the

success of its Founder.
 
Prior to establishing the Foundation, Tony Elumelu led the United Bank

for Africa, one of Africa's leading financial services groups, through

its transformation from a single-country focused bank to a diversified

business, operating across Africa and the world. Mr Elumelu is now the

Chairman of Heirs Holdings Limited, a pan African principal investment

company focused on Financial Services, Natural Resources,

Infrastructure, Healthcare and other key sectors critical to Africa's

economic development.