Renowned Nigerian entrepreneur and Chairman of Heirs Holdings, Mr 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.
He first acknowledged the staff and management of Transcorp Power, the biggest producer of thermal energy in Nigeria, providing about 18 per cent of national output: “In accepting this award, I want to dedicate it to Transcorp Power staff who remain committed to realising our dream of improving access to electricity in Nigeria and making our vision of a well-lit, fully powered Nigeria come true.”
“I also dedicate this to all stakeholders working hard to improve access to power in Africa. I call on others to please join us in this journey to powering Africa out of poverty.”
Transcorp Power has supported US President Obama’s Power Africa initiative with a $ 2.5 billion commitment.
As the economies of African regional powerhouses like Democratic Republic of Congo, Mozambique, Uganda, Nigeria and Angola struggle due to excessive exposure to commodities’ prices caused by limited diversification, Elumelu proffered a sustainable solution to reduce Africa’s historical external vulnerability.
He said: “Africa has been faced with this same challenge, in my view, for far too long. I choose to look at the recent episodes of economic contraction across the continent as opportunities to diversify our economies and invest in building critical infrastructure, especially in power, to reduce our susceptibility to commodity shocks and break out of the perpetual boom-bust cycles.”
Mr Elumelu emphasized the availability of reliable, accessible, and affordable power to support industrialisation.
“Industrialisation 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 prioritising growth of our manufacturing, industries and services. And power is the fulcrum that will make this happen,” he said.
Mr Elumelu said government must play its part in attracting investments for the development of the sector.
He explained: “While there is huge private capital – local and global – seeking investment destinations, as we know, global private capital goes to where it is most welcome. Therefore, the challenge before African governments should be how to ensure they create the environment that will attract and retain these investments in our continent.”
He advised: “Though there are challenges in Africa, they can be overcome by investing in Africa through partnerships with qualified local partners who possess the right knowledge, requisite capital and technical know how.”
Mr Elumelu urged cooperation between private and public sector stakeholders to work together in what he describes as “Shared Purpose”.
“It is critical for the public and private sectors to work together in “Shared Purpose’, which is a key tenet of 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.”
Source: Footprint to Africa