The Chairman of Heirs Holdings, Tony Elumelu has received the ‘Person of the Year’ award at the Africa Investor CEO Institutional Investment Summit hosted alongside the UN General Assembly in New York.
The Africa investor Awards are unique pan-African business and capital market investment awards that recognize and reward the achievements of the private sector across wide-ranging sectors and disciplines.
These awards attract the market leaders from across the continent and salute their achievements, while the work of institutional investors, governments and NGOs are also celebrated.
Tony Elumelu’s recognition this year was partly based on the fact that his company, Transcorp Power, supported U.S. President Barack Obama’s Power Africa initiative with a $2.5billion.
He is also credit for proffering a sustainable solution to reduce Africa’s historical external vulnerability to external exposures, from which several African countries are expected to benefit.
Elumelu first acknowledged the staff and management of Transcorp Power, the biggest producer of thermal energy in Nigeria, providing about 18% of national output.
“In accepting this award, I want to dedicate it to Transcorp Power staff who remain committed to realizing our dream of improving access to electricity in Nigeria and making our vision of a well-lit, fully powered Nigeria come true,” he said.
He also thanked investors in the African power sector, and urged other institutional investors to consider long-term opportunities on the continent.
Elumelu believes that to ensure a different type of growth trajectory for Africa – one that does not rely exclusively on the export of primary commodities – there must be reliable, accessible, affordable power to support industrialization.
“Industrialization must occur on a massive scale for our countries to be powered out of chronic dependency on commodities. We must power Africa’s next phase of development, by targeting and prioritizing growth of our manufacturing, industries and services. And power is the fulcrum that will make this happen,” he said.
Mr Elumelu stressed that while there is an abundance of private capital available to be deployed to develop the African power sector, government must play its part in attracting these investments, by creating the enabling environment.
Elumelu urged private and public sector stakeholders to work together in what he describes as “Shared Purpose” to drive what he calls Africapitalism – the economic philosophy I espouse which calls for the private sector to play a key role in Africa’s social and economic development by investing in strategic sectors for both economic profit and social prosperity.
To the foreign investors gathered at the forum, he said, “Though there are challenges in investing in Africa, these challenges can be overcome by investing in Africa through partnerships with qualified local partners who possess the right knowledge, requisite capital and technical know how.”
He believes the power sector has a role to play in creating opportunities for Africa’s jobless youth.
He noted: “In the 21st century, the level of poverty we have in Africa and the dire youth unemployment, to a large extent, can be solved by improving access to power, and by extension other infrastructure deficiencies and deficits. Even though we are making progress, there is still a lot to be done. We need faster progress.”
Mr. Tony Elumelu, Chairman Heirs Holdings and recipient of the ‘Person of the year’ award (3rd left) flanked by other award recipients; Mr. Bob Collymore, CEO Safaricom (left), Ms. Vicki Fuller, CIO, New York State Common Retirement Fund (2nd left) and Dr Daniel Matjila, CEO, Public Investment Corporation of South Africa at the AI Investment Summit in New York , Monday