Anthony Elumelu Onyemaechi is a Nigerian businessman and philanthropist who was born on 22 March 1963. He established The Tony Elumelu Foundation and is currently the head of Transcorp and Heirs Holdings.
Elumelu was included in Time magazine’s ranking of the top 100 global influencers in 2020.
Tony Elumelu is a business expert, entrepreneur, and humanitarian from Africa.
On March 22, 1963, in Jos, Plateau, Nigeria, Elumelu was born to Suzanne and Dominic Elumelu from Onicha-Ukwu in the Aniocha North Local Government Area of Delta State.His sister, Ndudi Elumelu, a minority leader in the Nigerian Federal House of Representatives, was one of his four siblings with whom he grew up.
He earned a Lower Second Class Bachelor of Science in Economics from Bendel State University, which is now Ambrose Alli University. Later, he attended the University of Lagos where he studied and graduated with a Master of Science in Economics. Tony has also attended the Harvard Business School’s Advanced Management Program in the past.
Before beginning his job as a salesman in 1985, Elumelu served in the National Youth Service Corps at the Nigerian Bank Union Bank as a member of the Youth Corp. Later, Elumelu worked for Allstates Trust Bank and United Bank for Africa (UBA).
Regarding his early work, he has stated:
“I began my sales job as a young, aspiring, and diligent salesperson, selling copiers. In actuality, though, I was just one of thousands of recent Nigerian graduates eager to achieve success.”
A tiny group of investors under Elumelu’s direction took control of the struggling Crystal Bank in 1997 (later renamed Standard Trust Bank). He turned it profitable within a few years, and in 2005, he managed one of the largest mergers in Sub-Saharan Africa’s financial sector by purchasing United Bank for Africa, (UBA).
Elumelu serves in a stand-in capacity as a consultant to the Private Capital Group for Africa (PCGA) Partners Forum of USAID. He is a member of the Agricultural Transformation Implementation Council (ATIC) of the Nigerian President. In addition, he serves as Co-Chair of the Aspen Institute Dialog Series on Global Food Security and Vice-Chairman of the National Competitiveness Council of Nigeria (NCCN), whose growth he played a significant role in.
On behalf of the Federal Government and the Presidential Jobs Board, he also appoints the Ministerial Committee to establish top-notch emergency hospitals and analytical centers across Nigeria with the goal of creating 3 million jobs in a single year.
He also serves as a representative for the USAID Private Capital Group for Africa Partners Forum and the Global Advisory Board of the Sustainable Energy for All Initiative (SE4ALL) of the United Nations. From May 11 to May 13, 2016, he served as one of the co-seats at the 26th World Economic Forum on Africa in Kigali, Rwanda.
After Standard Trust Bank and United Bank for Africa merged in 2005, Elumelu managed the company’s transition from a single-country banking group to a pan-African bank with subsidiaries in 20 African countries, France, the United States, and the United Kingdom. Elumelu ultimately retired in 2010.
Elumelu presently serves as the United Bank for Africa’s board chair.
He established the family-owned investment holding firm Heirs Holdings in 2010. Elumelu also started the Tony Elumelu Foundation that year, an organization headquartered in Africa that supports entrepreneurship in the continent. Heirs Holdings keeps a portfolio of assets in various industries. Elumelu owns a majority stake in Transnational Corporation through Heirs Holdings, a diverse conglomerate with operations in the power, hospitality, and energy sectors.
Elumelu received the famous hospitality facility’s Certificate of Discharge in person on April 14, 2021. The National Council on Privatization (NCP), headed by Vice President of Nigeria Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, granted the Chairman full ownership of Transcorp Hotels in 2005 after the Chairman satisfied all privatization criteria related to the sale of the property.
Elumelu left United Bank for Africa in 2010 and started The Tony Elumelu Foundation. In Africa, the Tony Elumelu Foundation encourages business development. According to the economic theory of Africapitalism, which Elumelu introduced, “the African private sector has the power to transform the continent through long-term investments, creating both economic prosperity and the private sector is crucial to Africa’s growth because it creates “social wealth.”
Elumelu offered $100 million in 2015 to create 10,000 entrepreneurs throughout Africa over the following ten years through the Tony Elumelu Foundation Entrepreneurship Programme, a Pan-African entrepreneurship initiative designed to empower African entrepreneurs through a multi-year program of training, funding, and mentoring.
For his accomplishments to business and entrepreneurship, Elumelu has been praised and recognized.
Tony Elumelu received the honorific designation of Member of the Order of the Federal Republic (MFR) from the Federal Government of Nigeria in 2003. He received the 2006 African Business Leader of the Year honor from the UK-based publication Africa Investor.
Umaru Musa Yar’adua, the president of Nigeria, asked him to join the Presidential Committee on the Global Financial Crisis in 2009. He received the National Honor of Commander of the Order of the Niger (CON) in 2012 in recognition of his administration’s efforts to promote private business in Nigeria.
At the fifth annual Economic Forum of the Ivorian National Council of Employers, CGECI Academy, held in Abidjan in April 2016, he was presented with a Lifetime Achievement Award. Additionally, he received the Daily Times Nigerian Man of the Year honor in 2016.
For his work promoting private business, he received the National Honor of Commander of the Order of the Niger CON in 2012.He was awarded the Daily Times, Nigerian man of the year in 2016.
He received the All-Africa Business Leaders Awards (AABLA) Philanthropist of the Year Award in 2018 and 2019.
In 2019, he received an honorary doctor of business degree from Bayero University Kano (BUK).
In 2019, the National Productivity Order of Merit Award was given to him.
The 2020 edition of TIME magazine’s 100 Most Influential People.
Elumelu was awarded the title of Commander of the Order of the Federal Republic on October 11, 2022, at a national ceremony.