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The Tony Elumelu Foundation: Purview Into 2013

Tony Elumelu, C.O.N

Tony Elumelu, C.O.N

2012 was a year of tremendous growth for the Tony Elumelu Foundation (TEF). Over the course of the year, the organization expanded its pan-African reach with programmes that are positively impacting the development of the African socio-economic landscape, from helping farmers increase their yields through the provision of new seed varieties, to supporting entrepreneurs leading fast-growing companies and working with national governments to formulate policies that make Africa a better place to invest and do business.

TEF’s intention is to be the catalyst for change, by having a direct impact on the global community, and in the way it defines philanthropy in Africa. TEF gives grants selectively, but focuses more on impact investment, innovative internal programmes and partnership with talented entrepreneurs and visionaries. With these TEF has executed initiatives throughout the continent – in 2012 – across four areas – leadership development, policy and partnerships, access to finance and research – with the aim of achieving measurable social and economic transformation, and hopes to broaden all in 2013.

Leadership Development

Perhaps its biggest achievement was the successful completion of the second class of the African Markets Internship Programme (AMIP), a leadership programme that places MBA students from leading global business schools in fast growing African-owned businesses around the continent, for a direct transfer of skills and expertise. In 2012, students were placed in seven cities in six African countries, and three more cities will be added in 2013.

TEF also launched the Elumelu Legacy Prize, which honours the best students in select Nigerian universities for achieving academic excellence in business and medicine. The 11 winners thus far demonstrate the substantial home grown talent that can be nurtured as future business and political leaders for the country.

TEF looks forward to launching the Foundation’s mentoring programme in 2013, and execute its vision for a business school, as well as a technical and vocational training institution.


The Foundation has been working with Nigeria’s Federal Ministry of Trade and Investment to establish the National Competitiveness Council of Nigeria (NCCN), which will work with policymakers to improve Nigeria’s standing on global competitiveness and ease of doing business rankings. TEF will support the ministry extensively to ensure a successful take off of the NCCN this year.

TEF also marked the following policy achievements in 2012:

  • Submitted its contribution towards a bill developing a legal framework for the philanthropic sector in Nigeria.
  • TEF continued to provide human capacity support to private sector-facing government organizations, through the Blair-Elumelu Fellows Programme in Sierra Leone and Liberia, and the Elumelu Fellows Programme in Nigeria.
  • Through the Elumelu Fellows Programme, the Foundation placed its first Fellow in the Nigerian Federal Ministry of Agriculture, with the task of unlocking billions of domestic and foreign investment dollars in to the Nigerian agricultural sector. In 2013, the programme will expand to other Nigerian ministries and other African countries.

Access to Finance

In 2012, TEF joined a consortium of international investors to establish Africa Exchange Holdings, whose objective is to develop a network of commodity exchanges around Africa, starting in Rwanda, to transform trade dynamics and ensure higher incomes for the rural poor, as they become more closely connected to the global economy.

The project showcases TEF’s desire to embrace global opportunities and practices, while ensuring that as much of the value adding aspects of Africa’s resource wealth stay in Africa.

In addition:

  • The Foundation partnered with USAID and Western Union on the African Diaspora Marketplace;
  • TEF is contributing to the development of a business incubator network in Lagos with business development awards to start ups and partnering to develop an angel investor network; and
  • TEF is developing its impact businesses addressed at solving key social problems such as SME financing, job creation, and skills development.

TEF looks forward to making additional strategic impact investments in 2013 as well as identifying innovative ways to unlock capital for Africa’s entrepreneurs.


TEF’s research partnerships include work with:

  • All World Network, to create a database of the 50 fastest growing unlisted companies in Nigeria (Nigeria 50). In 2013, this will expand to the Africa 500. This group of companies will be the basis for providing an understanding of what makes business successful in today’s Africa, and showcase the talent that we see on a daily basis.
  • The Brenthurst Foundation, which was founded by the Oppenheimer family of South Africa, to launch a research programme on ‘Africans investing in Africa,’ with the aim of measuring the scale of intra-African trade and investment and its contribution to Africa’s ongoing economic transformation.

Furthermore, in response to a dearth of practical research on the business environment in Africa, TEF has begun developing a case study programme to increase the volume of case studies on African businesses, and will see more activity on this in 2013.

TEF achieved these in the last year and prepares for more this 2013.

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