By Collins Nweze
The Kingdom of Belgium has conferred the honorary distinction of Officer in the Order of Leopold, on Africa’s leading investor and philanthropist, Tony O. Elumelu.
The honour, which is the country’s oldest and most important National Honour, is in recognition of Elumelu’s commitment to poverty eradication and the economic empowerment of young Africans.
The Ambassador of Belgium to Nigeria, H.E. Ambassador Daniel Bertrand, presented the royal decoration on Sunday, November 15 – the Belgian King’s Day and a symbolic national day of celebration, at the Belgian House in Abuja, with public and private sector leaders witnessing the ceremony.
Elumelu has been responsible for initiatives creating millions of jobs and employment for young Africans across the continent, through his philanthropy, The Tony Elumelu Foundation (TEF). The Foundation’s flagship intervention, the TEF Entrepreneurship Programme, is a 10-year, $100 million commitment to identify, train, mentor, and fund 10,000 young African entrepreneurs across 54 African countries.
Over 9,600 young Africans are current beneficiaries, just six years since its inception. In addition to its own significant programme, the Foundation partners with institutions such as the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), to bring its proven methodology to an even broader universe. Elumelu believes that youth entrepreneurship has the potential to tackle global challenges such as forced migration, poverty, and hunger.
Elumelu’s concept of Africapitalism is redefining national development, making the case for the critical role that the private sector must play in transforming Africa. His businesses are present in 20 African countries and key international markets, with over 30,000 people in employment His investments span power, financial services, healthcare, energy, technology, hospitality, and real estate.