“Nobody is going to develop Africa except us” – Tony Elumelu preaches ‘Africapitalism’ in East Africa

By Hauwa Gambo

 Tony O. Elumelu, MFR, Chairman of Heirs Holdings, an African proprietary investment firm committed to the economic transformation of Africa, urged African entrepreneurs and business leaders gathered at the Convergence Africa conference in Nairobi, Kenya on Thursday, 8 December, 2011 to grow their businesses across the continent.

Widely acknowledged as one of Africa’s most influential business leaders, Elumelu, who was also a keynote speaker at the event, discussed the challenges that young African entrepreneurs currently face. According to the business icon who is also the Founder of The Tony Elumelu Foundation, the obstacles that young Africans have to deal with when starting businesses dwarf those that similar entrepreneurs face in other parts of the world.

He, however, reiterated his commitment and that of his foundation to help address these challenges and asked other successful African business leaders to lend their support as well. Elumelu used the platform to propagate his message of Africapitalism™, an economic philosophy that embodies the African private sector’s commitment to the economic transformation of Africa through long-term investments that create economic prosperity and social wealth.

“Nobody is going to develop Africa except us,” he said. During the question and answer session with award-winning Kenyan journalist Jeff Koinange, Elumelu called for an overhaul of the African Union (AU). He said that the AU should focus more on establishing conditions that would allow for the Pan-African growth of entrepreneurs and their businesses, and that would also allow the continent to play its rightful role in the global economy.

 “African political leadership must be aligned with the entrepreneurial aspirations of the generality of Africans,” he said. “It may be time for African leaders to reshape the AU to become more economically focused and to create social wealth.”

The Convergence Africa conference sponsored by Legatum and Omidyar Network is a platform that brings together the entrepreneurs, investors, policymakers and business people who will accelerate Africa’s growth. It featured Richard Branson, the Founder of the Virgin Group, who was the second keynote speaker, and other speakers who have championed the cause of entrepreneurship on the continent.

Tony O. Elumelu, MFR, with best graduating students and faculty at the Rwanda School of Finance and Banking graduation ceremony.
“African political leadership must be aligned with the entrepreneurial aspirations of the generality of Africans”



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