Home Economy CELEBRATING A REVOLUTIONARY AGENDA: TONY ELUMELU AS AFRICA’S ANDREW CARNEGIE

CELEBRATING A REVOLUTIONARY AGENDA: TONY ELUMELU AS AFRICA’S ANDREW CARNEGIE

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We have tagged Tony O. Elumelu as the ‘’Andrew Carnegie of Africa as a result of this inspiring initiative. Andrew Carnegie, one-time richest man in the world at the age of 66 years in 1901 believed in the concept of Social Darwinism. Carnegie believed it was acceptable to make a lot of money. But he believed in philanthropy – giving to worthy causes. He authored a book: ‘The Gospel of Wealth’ (1889) in which he stated categorically that: ‘’ be the duty of the man of wealth: To set an example of modest, unostentatious living, shunning display or extravagance; to provide moderately for the legitimate wants of those dependent upon him; and, after doing so, to consider all surplus revenues which come to him simply as trust funds, which he is called upon to administer, and strictly bound as a matter of duty to administer in the manner which, in his judgment, is best calculated to produce the most beneficial results for the community-the man of wealth thus becoming the mere trustee and agent for his poorer brethren, bringing to their service his superior wisdom, experience, and ability to administer, doing for them better than they would or could do for themselves’’ – The Gospel of Wealth by Andrew Carnegie

 “When citizens are subjected to the pangs of hunger, when they have no access to education as a right and means to self development, when they lack basic means of livelihood and they can be pushed around with ease and at will for the sake of survival, they can hardly be relied upon to promote or defend a democratic culture. ‘’Poverty must therefore be tackled for democracy to be. With this should be instituted the rule of law, due process, transparency and accountability without which no democratic culture can be sustained. ‘’Wherever poverty is to be combated effectively, there must be cooperation between the Government and institutions, particularly private sector operators’’  – Prof. Tunde Adeniran

TERRIFIC HEADLINES is committed to supporting worthy causes that could assist in lifting Africa out of the doldrums. This is part of our social responsibility agenda.  We believe that we could successfully contribute to national soul-searching, given the expectations of the populace from government, create platforms for exchange of ideas and opinions, and also promote those issues that are considered ideal for the development processes.  In Africa, a staggering 1.2 billion people continue to live on under US$2.0 dollars a day. Experts in economic and international relations like former Commonwealth Secretary-General, Chief Emeka Anyaoku,  eminent political scientist, Prof. Tunde Adeniran and African Development Bank Group’s President Dr. Akinwumi Adesina have at various times spoken about the dangers inherent in inequality.

ECONOMIC IMPLICATION: Poverty and inequality are very dangerous and cancerous issues.  It has been established that inequalities in income and wealth are often compounded by inequalities in access to power, and disparities in health and education Poverty has been identified as one of the greatest banes of political development in Nigeria, with the affluent dominating directly and indirectly, the political arena..  Anyaoku over two decades ago warned that: there are, in absolute terms, more hungry people in the world today than ever before; and the numbers are increasing. ‘’The gap between the rich global North and the poor South is widening on current estimates, and there are little prospects of this trend being reversed”.

THE POLITICAL ANGLE: Tunde Adeniran has also pointed out that: “When citizens are subjected to the pangs of hunger, when they have no access to education as a right and means to self development, when they lack basic means of livelihood and they can be pushed around with ease and at will for the sake of survival, they can hardly be relied upon to promote or defend a democratic culture. ‘’Poverty must therefore be tackled for democracy to be. With this should be instituted the rule of law, due process, transparency and accountability without which no democratic culture can be sustained. ‘’Wherever poverty is to be combated effectively, there must be cooperation between the Government and institutions, particularly private sector operators’’ In other words, we require the political will backed by adequate sensitization of both the private sector and the target audience to pull through.

PROFESSIONAL ASPECT: Pragmatic Akinwumi Adesina, who has been preaching the message that ‘’the billions of dollars being sought in Europe and the Americas by Africa’s youths are in the continents farmlands’’ is set to launch a Foundation against hunger, poverty ‘ and comments that: ‘’Every time I pass through rural parts of African countries – where the agriculture engine is or should be unlocked – I see nothing but wasting potential. They sit on 65% of the uncultivated arable land left to feed the world, but can barely feed themselves. ‘’They hear of rich farmers in Europe and America and wonder why they themselves languish in poverty. Certainly life must be better than this. Why have we forgotten them? We reason that millions of people are not aware of social development programmes and how they could benefit from these.  Private sector revolution is succeeding because their programmes are directed at the target population, which is why those floated by government must go back to the drawing table and be evaluated periodically. TERRIFIC HEADLINES supports these initiatives because they could pull millions of people out of poverty. We will attend the Foundation launch if we are invited.

THE TONY ELUMELU REVOLUTION: There are many charitable activities that have grown in Nigeria in the past two decades. Easily the most ambitious of them all is the activity launched in 2010 by the TONY ELUMELU FOUNDATION; an initiative of Tony O. Elumelu, Chairman of the Board of the United Bank for Africa Plc. He premised his belief on the fact that with the right support, entrepreneurs can be empowered to contribute meaningfully to Africa’s prosperity and social development. The ambitious programme, a pioneer member of the Global Impact Investment Rating System is charting a new course for African philanthropy. We tagged Tony O. Elumelu as the ‘’Andrew Carnegie of Africa as a result of this inspiring initiative. Andrew Carnegie, it was, Andrew Carnegie, one-time richest man in the world at the age of 66 years in 1901 believed in the concept of Social Darwinism.

Carnegie believed it was acceptable to make a lot of money. But he believed in philanthropy – giving to worthy causes. He authored a book: ‘The Gospel of Wealth’ (1889) in which he stated categorically that: ‘’ be the duty of the man of wealth: To set an example of modest, unostentatious living, shunning display or extravagance; to provide moderately for the legitimate wants of those dependent upon him; and, after doing so, to consider all surplus revenues which come to him simply as trust funds, which he is called upon to administer, and strictly bound as a matter of duty to administer in the manner which, in his judgment, is best calculated to produce the most beneficial results for the community-the man of wealth thus becoming the mere trustee and agent for his poorer brethren, bringing to their service his superior wisdom, experience, and ability to administer, doing for them better than they would or could do for themselves’’

AS THE LARGEST AFRICAN PHILANTHROPIC ORGANIZATION: The organisation has a 10-year, $100 million commitment, to identify and empower 10,000 African entrepreneurs, create a million jobs, and add $10 billion in revenues to Africa’s economy. More than more than 93,000 expressions of interest were received in 2017, that was the 3rd cycle of the organization’s entrepreneurship programme with the following objectives: Elumelu is developing the next generation of business leaders for Africa by building the networks and developing the framework for enhancing the competitiveness of African economies by identifying impact investing opportunities and putting his money into ventures for African youths to become useful citizens through his entrepreneurship agenda.

 CHAMPIONING A REVOLUTION: There are numerous advantages that are derivable by being charitable.  Apart from giving the giver joy, there is usually provision for writing off donations on tax returns in advanced nations. More importantly, giving affords the opportunity for the donor to affect his or her generation positively, and make the society and the world a better place to live in. The Tony Elumelu Foundation (TEF) is the leading philanthropy in Africa championing Entrepreneurship and producing entrepreneurs across the continent. The Foundation’s long-term investment in empowering African entrepreneurs is one of the major planks of the Tony Elumelu’s philosophy of Africapitalism, that positions Africa’s private sector and most importantly entrepreneurs, as the catalyst for the social and economic development of the continent.

GETTING OUR YOUTHS ENGAGED: Interestingly, the Tony Elumelu Foundation engages in selective grant making to other bodies pursuing aligned and strategic causes e.g. Tony Blair African Governance Initiative, Kofi Annan Foundation, John Kufour Foundation, One Org, Rothschild Foundation; Policy development, research and advocacy; through the Africapitalism Institute. Elumelu’s efforts are worth commending because he they are taking care of youths that are the hopes of today and tomorrow. Those violent youths on the streets causing havoc have to be catered for, otherwise they would continue to constitute terror to the society. Their radicalized counterparts also have to be provided enabling environments for gainful living. If proactive measures had been adequately embraced by parents, organizations with parental responsibilities and government in the formative ages and teenage years, it is possible that about 90 percent (no study conducted) might not have gone into condemnable vices.

THE GOOD OLD DAYS HAVE GONE: This is why our society must encourage philanthropy and according due attention to youth development. The post crude oil Nigeria is radically different from the era that produced the Awolowos, Azikiwes and the Tafawa Balewas. Now, youths are more interested in socials (owambe) that charting good courses for their lives. Standards have fallen drastically while those who should monitor youth development look the other way chasing comforts of life. But they would never be able to enjoy these comforts as they plan if there is hunger in the land.  That is the message of the recent unfortunate riots involving youths. The situation is telling us – government and the populace to wake up!

THE ABUJA EVENT OF 26-27 JULY, 2019: The Tony Elumelu Foundation (TEF) is in Abuja from 26-27 July, 2019, for its   annual summit slated for later this year. TEF’s gathering which is in its fifth year is set to take place at the Transcorp Hilton Hotel, Abuja. Over 5,000 African entrepreneurs across different sectors are expected at the event.  The Forum is the culmination of the annual Tony Elumelu Foundation Entrepreneurship Programme, which this year mentored, trained and seeded over 3,000 young Africans, selected from over [216,000] applicants. “The event provides a unique opportunity for young women and men, from all 54 African countries, to meet, learn and network with the broader African and global entrepreneurship ecosystem. Readers are encouraged to visit the website of The Tony Elumelu Foundation for details.

AGRICULTURE IS THE FUTURE – THE TONY ELUMELU FOUNDATION believes in Agriculture as the future. The Agriculture sector represents Africa’s greatest opportunity to drive inclusive, sustainable growth, and the only sector with the potential to lift millions out of poverty and forever change the continent’s path to development. But in order to achieve this, there must be a deliberate widespread shift from basic subsistence agriculture that is prevalent on the continent to more productive farming business operations that leverage functions in information and communications technology (ICT), processing, manufacturing and industry. In 2006, the dawn of Africa’s “green revolution”, a substantial international, multi-stakeholder effort to dramatically improve the prospects of the agriculture sector was initiated. Now, nearly a decade later, the entrepreneurial energy and innovation in agriculture emerging from the ground up is changing the perception of the market, and further influencing policy, capital flows, and the level of interest in Africa’s vast, untapped potential to feed itself and the world.

BOLD STEPS: A Report by the Tony Elumelu Foundation states that ‘’The Tony Elumelu Entrepreneurship Programme In January of 2015, the Tony Elumelu Foundation launched the most comprehensive entrepreneurial ecosystem improvement programme in Africa: the Tony Elumelu Entrepreneurship Programme (TEEP). With a personal financial commitment of US$100 million over the next decade, Nigeria-based entrepreneur and philanthropist Tony O. Elumelu, CON, pledged to change the entrepreneurial space on the continent. In the months that followed, more than 20,000 applications – over 8,000 in agriculture – were received from all 54 African countries. Between March and June, following application evaluations by Accenture, and with the help of a pan-African Selection Committee of experts in entrepreneurship and business,1,000 entrepreneurs – 304 in agriculture and from 51 African countries – were chosen to join the inaugural cycle of the Programme. They then completed a rigorous 12-week online business skills training programme with support from 450 active mentors – more than half of which have deep expertise in agriculture and closely related fields.

Not too long ago,  these same entrepreneurs participated in the informative TEEP Bootcamp in Otta, Nigeria, one of the largest of such convenings ever to be held in Africa – where they received additional hands-on training. From August until November, the entrepreneurs submitted their business plans and milestones, and we distributed empowerment capital funding to their business bank accounts. Thirty per cent of those selected are in agriculture, representing – by far – the Programme’s largest segment of entrepreneurs. The Programme provides US$5,000 in seed capital to the 1,000 selected entrepreneurs each year with the potential for an additional US$5,000 in capital, depending on their initial success. In addition, we have travelled across Africa with our Founder, Tony Elumelu, to meet with TEEP entrepreneurs in their countries including: Côte d’Ivoire, Mali, Senegal, Zambia, Kenya, Ghana, Uganda, South Africa, Cameroon, Benin Republic, Congo, Gabon, Egypt, and Zimbabwe as well in Nigerian cities: Lagos, Calabar, Port Harcourt, Abuja, and Kaduna. As part of our social responsibility agenda, TERRIFIC HEADLINES will comb some areas with the intention of publishing documents that could radically ensure that youths get into Agriculture and refrain from the mad rush to travel abroad for better standards of living.

CHANGING OUR MINDSET FROM SELFISHNESS TO SELFLESSNESS: Many advanced countries run capitalistic economies. But the rich in those societies freely give away much of their wealth to assist their societies in programmes that overlap into the developing countries. For instance, Bill and Melinda Gates and Warren Buffet who at one time occupied the leading position as the world’s richest personalities agreed, alongside and Mark Zuckerbergs on an idea termed: ‘The Giving Pledge’ that is a commitment by the world’s wealthiest individuals and families to dedicate the majority of their wealth to giving back to the society what they realize from their businesses. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, through a family philanthropy programme devote as much funds to global health, as the World Health Organization. In the case of Warren Buffett, he has planned it that more than 99% of his wealth will go to philanthropy during his lifetime or at death.

COMMITMENTS: Both billionaires, not only committed themselves to this agenda, but have successfully rallied about 158 other billionaires, who have promised to give away at least half of their vast wealth to philanthropic causes. Their ages range from 30s to 90s. The campaign started by Warren Buffett and Bill and Melinda Gates in 2010, is to spur philanthropy among the superrich. ‘’Their commitment is to give away at least 50% of their wealth in their lifetimes or at death to charity. Buffett and the Bill & Melinda Gates developed the idea believing that a quantified goal would help the wealthy to think through their philanthropic plans. (FORTUNE MAGAZINE; APRIL 19, 2012) Annually, Warren Buffett donates $3.17 Billion (about 1.4 Trillion naira) to Gates Foundation and other Charities, as part of his decade-long plan to give away his massive fortune.  Others notable givers are: Hasso Plattner, David Rockefeller, Azim Premji, Richard Branson, Elon Musk, Tim Cook, Sara Blakely, and Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw, Michael Bloomberg, Mark Zuckerberg, and Africa’s Mo Ibrahim.

WARREN BUFFET & BILL GATES: WELL-MEANING EXAMPLES: Aged 88 years, and native of Omaha, Nebraska, United States, Warren Buffet, according to FORBES is worth 85.3 billion United States Dollars. He has given out US $30.7 to healthcare, education, AIDS-prevention, and sanitation, among others. He comes after Bill Gates, whose Foundation has released US$35 billion to address challenges in critical sectors likes healthcare, extreme poverty, education, access to information technology. Warren Buffet is an investor, and philanthropist who is the chairman and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway; and has interests in several companies. Buffett is reportedly an extremely thrifty person, who eats the same $3.17-or-less breakfast from McDonald’s every morning; and has lived in the same modest, four-bedroom Omaha house since 1958.

On his part, Bill Gates occupies different steps on the ladder, on and off; as the richest man in the world and is the co-founder and chairman of Microsoft. His wealth is valued at USD 90 billion (December 2017). He is the largest individual shareholder in Microsoft, owning 6% of the common stock. After stepping down as Microsoft’s CEO in 2000 he started working fulltime at the Bill and Melinda Gates foundation. Gates co-founded Microsoft in 1975, together with Paul Allen. Bill Gates and Paul Allen became the world’s richest persons when Microsoft became the world’s largest software maker. Bill Gates lives in an estate in Medina, valued at USD 125 million, in the State of Washington, United States. He manages the largest charitable foundation in the world.

May the Good Lord Bless Nigeria!