When philanthropist Tony Elumelu took the stage at Monday night’s TIME100 Impact Awards and Gala, he spoke with a sense of urgency: “The world is in need of people like us—more than ever before,” he said the crowd, which included celebrities, politicians and prominent business leaders. “We should pull resources together, we should commit now to help in anyway possible in economically empowering others.”
Elumelu’s plea is part of the reason he was on the stage at the Museum of the Future in Dubai in the first place. TIME100 Impact Award Winner has worked tirelessly for economic empowerment of the least fortunate in this world.
The Nigerian entrepreneur paid tribute to the “hard working young men and women in Africa who aspire to help their families and their communities.” He shared his story of rising from a modest beginning to launching the Tony Elumelu Foundation in 2010, which is aimed at creating “significant opportunities and economic hope for others” while “helping redefine how all of us need to work together to uplift through the message of entrepreneurship.”
In his efforts to foster Africa’s entrepreneurial spirit and promote economic growth, the foundation gave $5,000 each to 15,000 young entrepreneurs in 54 African countries.
Elumelu, in addition to his charitable efforts, is the chair of United Bank of Africa. Here, his vision of securing long term investments from the private sectors to support economic development has led to new job opportunities for Africans and made the continent a centre for innovation. Elumelu also stressed Monday night that Africa needs investment more than ever.
“In the 21st century, there’s so much poverty, sickness, and bitterness in the world,” he said. “Our calling should be one that has to prioritize humanity.”
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