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My plans for 2016-Tony Elumelu

My plans for 2016-Tony Elumelu

By Harold Udoka

For many, 2015 was a tough year, but certainly not for Chairman, Heirs Holdings, Mr, Tony Elumelu. The strong advocate of Africans investing in Africa which he has branded Africapitalism, Elumelu, in a new year message from his office made available to us, noted that 2016 would be an exciting year for his various companies.
In his words   “ Two events moved me powerfully om 2015:

  • The peaceful and democratic change of power in Nigeria – a first. We all know there are many challenges facing our country, but the dignity and patience of the Nigerian people was something to behold. Our politicians have been set a high bar and we all look forward to them repaying that trust and confidence. 2016 should be a year for bold political action, to finally address the challenges and unleash the opportunities.
  • I welcomed 1,000 African entrepreneurs from 51 countries to Lagos for an intensive “bootcamp”, part of the now annual Tony Elumelu Entrepreneurship Programme. It was an extraordinary experience, uniting women and men from across the Continent and illustrating the diversity and potential to be found in Africa

Several members of our first cohort have shared their success stories: from the Malian solving the agricultural producers’ logistics and storage challenges, by providing air-freight services to local farmers; the Nigerian fashion designer whose work is now featured on international runways and acclaimed magazines; the Ghanaian who exhibits ingenuity and craftsmanship, creating bamboo bicycles and now exports to seven European countries; to the young Kenyan agriculturist, who has expanded his commercial fish farm to develop organic fertiliser for farmer.

These and more stories can be found on our website

In August, we celebrated our 5th anniversary and despite fiscal and political uncertainty associated with the political transition in Nigeria, Heirs Holdings continued to grow earnings and deliver on our strategy, thanks in no small part to the resilience of our companies and HH’s people, the strength of our group and the support of our stakeholders.

Let me highlight some of our successes in 2015:

  • Group affiliate, Transcorp Plc, signed a Production Sharing Contract for oil block OPL 281 with the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation and has begun preliminary exploration activities under the oversight of NAPIMS. Over the coming months, we will commence the execution of an integrated energy plan that includes a refinery, and a petrochemical and fertilizer manufacturing plant, furthering our goal to create local value addition from our national resources.
  • Under our ownership and management, the Transcorp Power Limited plant has significantly increased generating capacity.  With an additional 220MW coming on stream, we should be providing 850MW – representing approximately 20% of Nigeria’s electricity output – to Nigeria’s national grid by mid-2016.  We remain on course to generate at least 25% of Nigeria’s future electricity supply.
  • Transcorp Hotels Plc (THP), our 5th publicly quoted company on the Nigerian Stock Exchange commenced renovations at the award-winning and iconic Transcorp Hilton Hotel in Abuja, bringing the latest in hospitality and conferencing design and comforts to West Africa’s largest hotel.
  • As part of this renovation, the Transcorp Hilton Hotel in Abuja will also add a 220-unit luxury apartment facility
  • Transcorp Hotels Plc has also commenced the development of luxury hotels in Ikoyi, Lagos and commencing soon in Port Harcourt.
  • The United Bank for Africa continues to cement its role as one of Africa’s most prominent financial institutions, operating across nineteen countries on the continent and beyond. UBA’s 2015 financial half-year results posted a 40% increase in profits.
  • Avon HMO consolidated its status as one of the leading medical insurance providers in Nigeria, securing contracts with State Governments and partnering with multinationals, such as Shell Nigeria, to roll out community-based health.
  • United Capital closed the year with one of the largest investment banking transactions in Africa in 2015 by raising fresh capital of USD250m for Orion Oil crude prepayment with the National Oil company of the Government of Congo Brazzaville. This involved the participation of 2 pan African banks – United Bank for Africa and Afreximbank.  Banque Gabonaise et Francaise Internationale also participated in the transaction.
  • Teragro Commodities Ltd., the agribusiness subsidiary of Transcorp Plc, had its best year yet in 2015 supplying global beverage brand Coca-Cola’s new line of fruit juice “Five Alive Pulpy Orange”. Teragro is the sole local-concentrate sourcing partner for the product.
  • The Tony Elumelu Foundation has already begun to make its mark on Africa’s donor landscape.  On January 1, 2016 the TEEP application portal opened for the second season of Africa’s largest entrepreneurship programme. We have a lot to be proud of, and even more to look forward to this year, incorporating the lessons we learned in the first year of the programme and we will continue to empower and mentor 1,000 Tony Elumelu Entrepreneurs annually through TEEP’s US$100 million/N17bn commitment to create 1 million new jobs and add US$10billion to Africa’s GDP by 2025.

The concept of Africapitalism – the idea that Africa’s private sector and Africa’s entrepreneurs hold many of the answers to Africa’s development issues – is very important to me. In 2015, I travelled across Africa, Europe and South and Central America, helping to spread this philosophy, as a solution for under-development. Last September, I was invited to be part of the United Nation’s unveiling of the new Sustainable Development Goals and the pursuit of a post-2015 development agenda, which for the first time includes entrepreneurship as a tool to fight poverty. The importance of this development was underscored at the Annual Meeting of the World Bank and IMF in Peru, where we discussed transforming the philanthropic space in Africa from a charity-based model to one that is hinged on entrepreneurship and direct investments. That the private sector is finally looked on as being able to provide lasting solutions to global development challenges is a tribute to our message, and I cannot be more enthusiastic about what this holds for the future of Africapitalism and our operations.

I also welcome the work that University of Edinburgh has been doing on Africapitalism. This will lead to publications by the Cambridge University Press and Routledge.  Africapitalism will also be taught as a graduate-level economics course at New York University, starting this January. In April, I look forward to giving an address on the subject before an audience of students, faculty, staff, and invited guests at the Columbia University and the Harvard Kennedy School.

Heirs Holdings achieved nearly all the strategic ambitions we set for ourselves five years ago, and in that short time, our results have been remarkable. As we expand our portfolio and aim to surpass our own high standards, we will strive to hold on to our determination to create value for you, our stakeholders, and combine our formidable strengths to change the economic narrative in Africa.

 

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