Tony Onyemaechi Elumelu is a Nigerian economist, entrepreneur, and philanthropist. He is the chairman of Heirs Holdings, the United Bank for Africa, Transcorp and founder of The Tony Elumelu Foundation.
He came into the limelight in 1997 when he led a small group of investors to take over a small, floundering commercial bank in Lagos. He turned it profitable within a few years and in 2005 he merged it with the United Bank for Africa. Tony Elumelu owns a controlling interest in Transcorp, a publicly traded Nigerian conglomerate with interests in hospitality, agriculture, oil production, and power generation.
Following his retirement from United Bank for Africa in July 2010, Elumelu founded The Tony Elumelu Foundation, an Africa- based and African- funded philanthropic organization. His stated objective was to “prove that the African private sector can itself be the primary generator of economic development.” The Foundation is charged with the mission of “driving Africa’s economic development by enhancing the competitiveness of the African private sector”.
He was recognized as one of “Africa’s 20 Most Powerful People in 2012” by Forbes magazine.