• Thursday, April 25, 2024
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World leaders, TEF alumni celebrate Tony Elumelu at 60

Christopher Akor

Leaders across the globe and some alumni of Tony Elumelu Foundation congratulated Tony Elumelu, the chairman of United Bank of Africa on his 60th birthday.

Among those who wished him well include Tony Blair, former UK Prime Minister; Bill and Hillary Clinton, former president and Secretary of State in US; Muhammadu Buhari, president of Nigeria, Emmanuel Macron, president of France; Paul Kagame of Rwanda; Nana Akufo-Addo of Ghana, Aliko Dangote, Ngozi Okonjo Iweala etc.

In his congratulatory message, Emmanuel Macron, the President of France said: “It is a great pleasure for me to write to you on this very special occasion, as it allows me to once again acknowledge the outstanding efforts put in place by your Foundation and yourself to support a vision of African entrepreneurship that we both share, and to strengthen the continent’s position in the global economy.”

“In particular, your empowerment of the youth across the African continent, by enabling them to fulfill their ambitions in business and academia, bears a pivotal role for Africa’s future. he said. “I can therefore only commend the Tony Elumelu Foundation for the numerous initiatives and unquestionable positive impact it has as a leading philanthropic organisation.”

Also, Muhammadu Buhari, the President of Nigeria celebrated the UBA Group chairman’s achievements, lighting the way for many to grow through inspiration, mentorship and training, with focus on raising generation of entrepreneurs.

“The President believes Elumelu’s benevolence typifies his humble background and upbringing, starting out as a young banker, daring to dream of a modern and technologically friendly financial institution, Standard Trust Bank, and leading one of the biggest mergers with the UBA, which made history and strengthened the economy,” Buhari said in a statement signed by Femi Adesina, his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity.

Bill Clinton, former US president and his wife, Hillary Clinton, wrote: “From your successful career in business to your amazing work with your foundation, you have accomplished so very much throughout your first remarkable six decades. It’s been very inspiring for us to see your passion for philanthropy up close, and to watch you as you empower a rising generation of entrepreneurs across Africa.

“So on this milestone, we want to say thanks: thank you for your friendship, for your good work, for your unwavering belief in a better tomorrow. Hillary and I are glad to join your family, friends, and admirers from around the world in wishing you a very happy 60th birthday.”

Tony Blair, former UK prime minister said: “I have had the great privilege of working with tony in the past. through our foundations and in particular the Blair-Elumelu Fellowship Programme. I have always come away from spending time with him inspired, energised and grateful for his wisdom and insights.

“Our thinking aligns in many ways. We have a shared optimism for the future. We believe in the transformative power of tech and innovation and the importance of entrepreneurialism as a means to solving many of the world’s problems, from healthcare to education to climate.

“Above all we both believe in the importance of clear priorities, clear strategy and clear mechanisms for delivery; to put it simply the importance of getting things done. We are also both true believers in Africa.”

“The Foundation’s biggest contribution is empowering young women and men to lead, reminding them that Africa’s future rests in their hands,” according to Paul Kagame, the president of Rwanda.

“Tony, I commend you for your vision, and for putting the private sector front and centre as the key player in Africa’s journey towards prosperity,” he said.

“Happy Birthday Tony, and may the next 60 years of your life be even greater and brighter,” Nana Akufo-Addo, the president of Ghana said. “For me, there is no greater symbol of entrepreneurship in the 21s century in Africa than this iconic Nigerian entrepreneur, Tony Elumelu, easily the equal of the celebrated entrepreneurs of our generation, Gates, Page, Bezos, Zuckerberg, Dangote, Strive Masiyiwa, Jim Ovia and the others.”

Also, Bola Ahmed Tinubu, president-elect, Nigeria in his message of felicitation said: “Tony’s business acumen is a gift to Nigeria that continues giving. I have no doubt that his foundation continues to be one of the factors that contributes to the development of youth potential and businesses across our great nation, Nigeria. He has set a good example, among other men of honour, for how to empower others through one’s good fortune in life.”

“It is, therefore with the utmost sincerity and joy that I felicitate with my good friend and brother, Tony Elumelu as he celebrates his 60th birthday, wishing him many years to come and hoping we will, in the nearest future, discuss over a drink, more ways he can contribute to the growth and development of Nigeria and her business terrain,” Tinubu said.

Entrepreneurs across Africa, including Nigeria. Benin Republic, Burkina Faso, Kenya, Ghana, Ivory Coast, also wished the Africapitalist well during a symposium held in his honour in Lagos.

Read also: Advancing digital entrepreneurship and financial inclusion for women in Africa

Lynda Nunez, the CEO of Dial A Pad from Kenya said “before participating in TEF, the only thing we had was an idea to stop absenteeism of girl child in school due to pad poverty.

“We enrolled for TEF and won the $5k seer capital and from then till now, we have impacted 35,000 girls.

“Dial a pad Africa delivers sanitary pads and health education to Kenyan girls from poor social and economic backgrounds to make sure that periods do not get in the way of Girls right to Education. We leverage on Artificial Intelligence, the Internet of Things, and other technologies to run our mobile app and smart sanitary towel dispensers to usher in radical socio-economic empowerment of African women.

“TEF gave us the trainings and guidance during Covid. We also got funding of up to 40k dollars from networks built through the foundation.”

Ama Harris Tukus, TEF Alumni from Liberia provides education for underserved communities.

“With the funding from TEF, we were able to digitalise education in Liberia and trained over 5000 children, employed over 20 teachers, Tukus said.

“Today is your birthday, and out of curiosity, we have come to see the man who parts with his hard earned hundreds of millions to support us without asking for anything in return, not even our votes”.

Olubukola Gabriel Oyebode, founder of Kiano Naturals and a 2019 TEF alumni from Nigeria while said the foundation has transformed her business from an idea she had in mind to becoming an employer.

“We are into production of coconut oil, coconut flakes and all coconut products,” Oyebode said.“We were able to start from home, but through that grant, we now have a physical location, 5 staff, and distributors in other states. Thank you Elumelu for loving us and happy birthday.”