Nigeria’s president, Muhammadu Buhari has hailed Chairman of United Bank for Africa, UBA, Mr Tony Elumelu as he makes TIME Magazine’s annual list of 100 most influential people in the world.
Elumelu made the list alongside two other Nigerians, including Tomi Adeyemi and Tunji Funsho.
The list, which is now in its seventeenth year, recognises the activism, innovation, and achievement of the world’s most influential individuals.
Elumelu, who is one of the only four Africans on the 2020 list, is recognised for his track record of business turnaround, value creation and economic empowerment of young Africans.
He is the Founder and Chairman of Heirs Holdings, his family owned investment company, committed to improving lives and transforming Africa, through long-term investments in strategic sectors of the African economy, including financial services, hospitality, power, energy and healthcare.
He is also the chairman of UBA which operates in 20 countries in Africa, the United Kingdom, France, and is the only African bank with a commercial deposit taking licence in the United States.
He also chairs Nigeria’s largest quoted conglomerate, Transcorp, whose subsidiaries include Transcorp Power, one of the leading generators of electricity in Nigeria and Transcorp Hotels Plc, Nigeria’s foremost hospitality brand.
Elumelu is the most prominent champion of entrepreneurship in Africa, having in 2010 created The Tony Elumelu Foundation (TEF), the philanthropy empowering a new generation of African entrepreneurs, catalysing economic growth, driving poverty eradication and ensuring job creation across all 54 African countries.
Since inception, the Foundation has funded about 10,000 entrepreneurs and created a digital ecosystem of over one million as part of its ten year, US$100m commitment through the TEF Entrepreneurship Programme.
In his congratulatory message to Elumelu in a statement by his spokesman, Femi Adesina on Wednesday, President Buhari commended his vision of Africapitalism, which espouses that Africa’s private sector must play a leading role in the continent’s development through long-term investments, entrepreneurship, and regional connectivity. The President added that it was just a matter of time before such caught global attention.
“President Buhari says Elumelu’s commitment to the development of African youths, whom he has given a voice and empowerment, investing $5,000 in 1,000 young entrepreneurs per year across 54 countries, places him as a visionary, with milk of human kindness,” the statement read.