The Chairman of Heirs Holdings, and the Tony Elumelu Foundation, Tony O. Elumelu, has canvassed the support of all Development Finance Institutions (DFIs) in the continent for African businesses.
He made the call while congratulating African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) for the critical support that the bank, led by Dr. Benedict Oramah, has so far provided for African businesses, and its significant contribution to the development of cross-border trade and investment in Africa.
Elumelu, at the just concluded 24th yearly general meeting of Afreximbank, in Kigali, Rwanda, said the bank’s mission is a further evidence of Africa’ s own ability to provide long-term, strategic financing for Africa’s economic and social development.
“Afreximbank 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 said.
While speaking on “Cross-Border Investments as a Driver of Intra-African Trade and Industrialisation: Reflections from a Continental Business Leader,” he noted that the bank championed the agenda of the private sector, as the key contributor to Africa’s ability to attract and implement sustainable investment.
Elumelu, who founded Heirs Holdings, cited his own approach to long-term investment in critical sectors, such as power, finance and resources, across 20 African countries.
According to Elumelu, Africa must grow cross-border trade and investment, and attract both local and international investors. “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.
“We know 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,” he said.
The meeting also witnessed the signing of a $100 million facility between Afreximbank and Heirs Holdings, to further support Heirs Holdings cross border investment programme.
This initial transaction, according to Elumelu, is 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.”
He tasked more African DFIs to fund intra-Africa trade and businesses in a manner that will boost and embolden African business leaders and facilitate the further development of Africa’s economy.
He however, called on African leaders doing businesses across borders, to build legacies and focus on corporate governance, while building businesses that last.