In Africa, Economic and Social Prosperity Must Go Hand in Hand

In Africa, Economic and Social Prosperity Must Go Hand in Hand

An interview with Nigerian economist and philanthropist Tony O. Elumelu

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Shared Value Synonymous with Africapitalism
Shared Value Synonymous with AfricapitalismShared Value Synonymous with Africapitalism

"Shared value is synonymous with Africapitalism," says leading proponent, Tony O. Elumelu.

Friday, April 25, 2014 - 10:00am

Africa is an economy in waiting, which some say has the potential to leapfrog developed economies. Very much in stride with this thinking, today's Leading Shared Value interviewee Tony O. Elumelu believes that the private sector's role in solving social issues will be key to Africa's economic success. Elumelu is chairman of Heirs Holdings, an African investment company, and he will also speak at the Shared Value Leadership Summit this May 13-14 in New York.

Shared Value Initiative: What does the success of shared value look like at Heirs Holdings? Tell us your favorite shared value story or example.
Tony O. Elumelu: The shared value concept to us at Heirs Holdings is synonymous with Africapitalism, which we practice and strongly advocate. Africapitalism is a call on the private sector to invest in Africa for the long term in key sectors of the economy that have the potential to create financial prosperity as well as social wealth. This is the philosophy under which we operate, and influences both the sectors we focus on, and the investments we make.

In 2011, we invested in agriculture in Benue State [Nigeria], which is considered the food basket of the nation. This is a part of the country that yields a significant amount of Nigeria’s produce, including citrus fruits. Yet, despite the high demand for fruit juice, Benue had never successfully established the capacity to convert the raw produce to a consumer product that had a ready market. In the meantime, Nigeria continued importing tons of fruit juice concentrate to serve the growing middle class population.

We invested in a local juice concentrate plant supplying makers of fruit juice, which is the first of its kind in Nigeria, and this is already having a positive and measurable impact on the community.

We purchase oranges, pineapples and mangoes that previously couldn’t be sold and would be left to rot on the ground—as much as 60% of the production was lost every year. We’re empowering the community, from farmers to the many that are directly and indirectly employed by our activities, and we’ve introduced technology to the country that hitherto never existed—that to us is truly shared value.

Read the rest of the interview on 

Register now to see Mr. Elumelu speak at the 2014 Shared Value Leadership Summit:


Meghan Ennes
+1 (617) 502-6164
Shared Value Initiative