Tony Elumelu Foundation is an innovative 21st century philanthropic initiative…' says CEO
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 GraÃ§a 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
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. GraÃ§a 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 GraÃ§a 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
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