Tony Elumelu, an attributed philanthropist and African billionaire, is a stellar businessman with specialized training in economics, seeking to change the economic standing of those in the African-American community. Elumelu chairs Heirs Holdings and Transcorp, and is also the founder of the esteemed Tony Elumelu Foundation.
In 2014, Elumelu, along with other prominent American and African business moguls, partnered to form a summit in Washington DC that consisted of more than 45 African and American business heads, along with 50 African business leaders. The common theme of the platform was to see to the improvement in the economic stance of Africans, as well as African-Americans, and to create advancement opportunities for all who interacted.
Elumelu’s statements to the media explained that the summit presented a promising opportunity for individuals to make positive returns on contributions made to valuable incentives around the Atlantic. He expressed that this was not mere chatter, but an outlet to expose those involved to greater opportunities in business growth.
Speaking to the Wall Street Journal, Elumelu said, “An opportunity to move beyond the usual conversations on aid and instead explore new opportunities to collaborate and co-invest in initiatives that generate value on both sides of the Atlantic.”
Elumelu also spoke with Black Enterprise on his vision for a real partnership between the United States and Africa, not just a relationship of providing aid, but trade as equal partners, engaging investors and the need for consistent electricity.
“We should welcome the fact that the journey has finally begun. I like the nature of the imagined engagement between Africa and America. President Obama’s visit to Africa last year was the starting point,” Elumelu says. “The fact that they have realized the need to engage with Africa at the scale and magnitude that they are going about it now is welcome.”
His foundation is also playing its part in reaching out to minority and women-owned businesses. “The Tony Elumelu Foundation will launch an entrepreneurship program with 100 million dollars that will touch 10,000 entrepreneurs across Africa and the United States,” he says. “We will train and mentor them and create platforms for them to have commercial business engagements.”
The vision set forth by Tony Elumelu is one that he believes merges more than simple aid; it creates a solid partnership between Africa and the U.S. It’s the beginning of a business journey that takes a different, but more rewarding, path for all of those invested. The trip to Africa taken by President Obama was another key indicator that steps are being taken in the right directions to strengthen business ventures between Africa and America.
This newly-formed relationship between Africa and the U.S is one that can create a positive mode of growth for African American entrepreneurs who stay the course and take the route the foundation has designed. The overwhelming occurrences of negativity surrounding African Americans in the press makes it necessary for many to find outlets that help them reach their full business potential. The summit created the opportunity and the foundation’s program provides the means to capitalize on the opportunity.
article by Angela Wills.