In a recent interview, African entrepreneur, Tony Elumelu spoke about the rules of engagement for business in Africa emphasizing that Africa is open for business but not at any cost. “Africa’s economic history has been characterised by extractive industries and rent seeking practices that have not created development in any meaningful way. Africapitalism is simply saying there is a better and more ethical way to invest in Africa for a sustainable future. I would like to see both African and international investors review their strategies for Africa. Yes, we are open for business but not at any cost. Our rules of engagement have changed,” he said.
Elumelu was one of the high profile African business leaders handpicked by the White House to meet with President Obama on his current three country Africa tour. Elumelu, who is the former Chairman of United Bank for Africa and Chairman of diversified investment group, Heirs Holdings recently invested USD300 million in Nigeria’s largest power plant, located in Ughelli, Delta State during the Nigerian government’s recent power privatization process.
Speaking on the motivations behind the group’s investment, he said,”Unlimited access to affordable power in any country is a game changer and will move the needle on the country’s development exponentially. It’s not just the fact that children will be able to do their homework, or that computers and phones can be powered in rural villages; it is also the impact that access to affordable power will have on the economic ecosystem. Prices will come down, entrepreneurs will expand and innovate, and jobs will be created as a result. This is Africapitalism at work.”
Speaking further on his investment in Nigeria’s power sector, Tony Elumelu said: “We played a transformative role in democratizing the banking sector at a time when no one was really paying much attention to Africa, Elumelu says. “We had a clear strategy, first mover advantage and an understanding of what the market needed and we are focused on doing the same for power. We are taking over an old government-run plant that desperately needs rehabilitation and doubling its output within our first two years of operations. By 2017, we will be generating 1000MW of electricity and Nigerians across the country will feel the impact of affordable and consistent power.”