Post Views: 120 Tony Elumelu, Chairman of the United Bank for Africa Plc and Transnational Corporation of Nigeria (Transcorp) has enjoined development...
Tony Elumelu, Chairman of the United Bank for Africa Plc and Transnational Corporation of Nigeria (Transcorp) has enjoined development finance institutions (DFIs) in Africa to emulate the African Export Import Bank (Afreximbank) in providing adequate funding to boost and embolden African business leaders and facilitate the further development of the continent’s economy.
Speaking at the 24th Annual General Meeting of Afrexim recently in Rwanda, he applauded the management led by President Benedict Oramah for providing critical support for African businesses, besides its significant contribution to the development of cross-border trade and investment on the continent.
During the meeting, Elumelu, who is also Chairman of Heirs Holdings, an African proprietary investment company, with interests in power, oil and gas, financial services, hospitality, real estate and healthcare, and Oramah, signed a $100m Afreximbank facility to Heirs Holdings Limited to further support its cross-border investment programme.
Heirs holding statement on Monday quoted Elumelu as saying Afreximbank’s mission was further evidence of Africa’s own ability to provide long-term, strategic financing to Africa’s economic and social development.
Speaking on the topic “Cross-Border Investments as a Driver of Intra-African Trade and Industrialisation: Reflections from a Continental Business Leader”, Elumelu, while championing the agenda of the private sector as key contributor to Africa’s ability to attract and implement sustainable investment, he said “Afrexim brings a unique and highly relevant perspective to the challenge of supporting intra-African trade flow and ensuring value is created in and exported from our Continent.
“I urge other development finance institutions, particularly the Bank’s African peers, to follow its example in providing transformational forms of funding to African businesses,” he added.
Elumelu, former Group Chief Executive of UBA Plc, cited his own approach to long-term investment in critical sectors, such as power, finance and resources, across 20 African countries, while creating Heirs Holdings.
He challenged Africa to grow cross-border trade and investment, and attract both local and international investors, because in his words: “An investment is not just about profit and returns. It is also about sustainability.
“What I want to see is Africans investing in Africa. We appreciate and welcome partnerships, but there is a generation of African businessmen and women, who have the capability and ambition to lead and transform Africa’s future. Let your money work in Africa”.
Highlighting the importance of entrepreneurship, he acknowledged “the challenge and potential of Africa’s demographic explosion. That is why the Tony Elumelu Foundation is catalysing 1,000 entrepreneurs each year, with the objective of assisting 10,000 entrepreneurs over 10 years. Invest in the future, our youth.”
Commenting on the $100m facility, Elumelu described it as “just the beginning and a clear indication of the intent and capacity of both parties to identify means to grow Africa’s wealth and create sustainable business opportunities over time. We welcome this and hope this serves as an example to others”.
The $100m, million facility is to further support Heirs Holdings cross border investment programme. Heirs Holdings Limited is a pan African investment proprietary holding company with a portfolio of investments in 20 African countries, in key sectors of the African economy – Energy, financial services, real estate and hospitality. Elumelu commented further that support from African DFIs like the Afrexim bank are often symbolic – being less about the size of the cheque and more often because such support acts as a catalyst to other providers of investible capital.
He also called on African leaders doing businesses across borders to build legacies and focus on corporate governance, while building businesses that last.
“It’s all about legacy. We need to think about how history will judge us,” he stressed.
The Afrexim AGM, declared open by Paul Kagame, President of the Republic of Rwanda, was attended by high level leaders from the public and private sectors, African Ministers of Finance, Trade and Investment, central bank governors, senior government officials, who engaged in a series of panel discussions on growing intra and extra-regional trade in Africa.
Other guests at the event included ex-President Olusegun Obasanjo of Nigeria; John Rwangombwa, central bank governor of Rwanda and Alhaji Aliko Dangote, chairman, Dangote Group.