In New York, he was named as the “Africa Business Leader of the Year” at the 8th annual Ai CEO Investment Summit and awards that took place at Thomson Reuters on the eve of the UN General Assembly.
On the other side of the globe in South Africa, he was given a special award as the Honorary counsel for the African movie academy in recognition of his support for the African creative industry, at the African Movie Academy Awards (AMAA) held at Mandela Bay, Port Elizabeth, South Africa on Saturday, September 26, 2015.
This is the second time Elumelu is winning the “Africa Business Leader of the Year” award, which he first won in 2006 as the Group Managing Director/CEO of UBA Plc.
He emerged winner this year from a strong nominee list of notable business leaders in the continent including James Mwangi, CEO Equity Bank, Kenya; Aliko Dangote, Chairman, Dangote Group; Brian Joffe, CEO, Bidvest Group, South Africa; Strive Masiyiwa, Chairman and Founder Econet; Patrice Motsepe, Founder and Chairman of African Rainbow Minerals, South Africa; Christo Wiese, South Africa’s retail tycoon and owner of Shoprite; Chris Kirubi, Chairman of Centum Investment Company Limited, Kenya; Reginald Mengi, Executive Chairman and owner IPP Limited, Tanzania and Sudhir Ruparelia, Chairman, Ruparelia Group, Uganda.
Heirs Holdings, a proprietary investment firm also chaired by Mr. Elumelu was also honoured for “Best Initiative in Support of SMEs and the Millennium Development Goals at the Ai awards ceremony.
On both counts, Mr. Elumelu was honoured for his drive to tackle poverty on the continent by promoting entrepreneurship through the Tony Elumelu Entrepreneurship Programme (TEEP). TEEP is a $100 million initiative that seeks to create 10,000 African entrepreneurs over a 10-year period.
TEEP, currently in its first year, supports 1000 entrepreneurs from 51 different countries in Africa. The Tony Elumelu entrepreneurs benefit from a customized 12-week Start-up Enterprise Toolkit training course, a vast curated library of online business resources and one-on-one mentoring, hosted on an online mentoring and learning platform (MLP), participation in TEEP Bootcamp, $10,000 Seed Capital investment and lifelong membership of the TEEP Alumni network.
Speaking on both awards, Elumelu expressed appreciation to the organisers for the honour.
“It is great to see that the world has already noticed the potential impact of what we are doing with TEEP. I have a strong belief that entrepreneurship holds the key to Africa’s endemic poverty challenge. With TEEP, we plan to create an entrepreneurial revolution that will create jobs and wealth across the continent.”
The Africa investor Summit is a unique business and institutional investors’ forum that represents the leading international investment platform for public and private sector leaders to share their voice and proposals on African business, economic development and investment and business environment policy leadership.
As part of the Summit, the Ai Investment and Business Leader Awards rewards exceptional business practices, economic achievements and investments across Africa, and recognises the institutions and individuals improving the continent’s investment climate.
The exclusive, invitation-only Ai CEO Investment Summit was attended by over 250 of Africa’s most prominent and influential business, government and development finance leaders, as well as five African Heads of State.
At the AMAA in South Africa, Peace Anyiam Osigwe, founder of the AMAA received the award on behalf of Mr. Elumelu and read out his acceptance speech to a rousing applause at the ceremony in Port Elizabeth.
Elumelu noted that Africa films provide a medium for Africans to tell their own story.
“For far too long, Africa’s story has been told by outsiders, when it was told at all. The African film industry is how we tell our story, to ourselves and to the world. It is how we are taking control of the African narrative because he who writes the story is the hero in the story. So, for our dignity and through the medium of film, Africa will become its own hero” Elumelu said.
He called for investments by the private sector in critical sectors of the African economy noting that African governments alone cannot provide the jobs needed by Africans.
The private sector, Elumelu said, must step up with long-term investments in strategic sectors that deliver both economic and social dividends. “I call this Africapitalism” he said.
He identified Agriculture, health and financial services as the obvious strategic sectors, but noted “I can tell you unequivocally that the entertainment industry is in fact a strategic sector that has and will grow and create jobs at an exponential rate and help to transform our continent.”