The Tony Elumelu Foundation Launches the Tony Elumelu Fellowship Programme with the Federal Ministry of Agriculture

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Enhancing the Public Sector’s Capacity to Stimulate Private-Sector Growth

The Tony Elumelu Foundation is pleased to announce the placement of the first Tony Elumelu Fellow in the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development. The initiative is in line with the Foundation’s intent to provide strategic support to key ministries, enabling a stronger and more strategic engagement with the private sector. The programme will begin with a focus on Nigeria, with plans to expand to other fast-growing African economies to create the enabling environment for inclusive, jobs-focused growth, led by a competitive African private sector.

The first Fellow will serve as a Senior Investment Advisor with Nigeria’s Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development. The role will support the Ministry’s priority of a value-chain driven agriculture transformation strategy by serving as the point person for domestic and foreign investors with an interest in the Nigerian agriculture sector.

Fellows in the programme will be seconded for an initial period of two years and will be obligated to sign strict conflict of interest agreements to ensure transparency. Each fellow is selected through a competitive and transparent global search to find candidates with the most appropriate skill sets, to ensure the needs of the ministries are met. The Fellows are also selected based on the high quality of their work experience, results-orientation, and ability to transfer knowledge and build the capacity of the ministries.

The Fellow joins a cadre of other expert fellows already providing delivery support to other African governments through the Blair Elumelu Fellowship Programme already in place in Sierra Leone and Liberia. This programme offers an innovative model for philanthropic support to the African public sector, moving away from the traditional grant-making model and towards human capacity support that infuses a private-sector influenced execution ethos with the government’s broad transformation agenda.

Mr Tony O. Elumelu, C.O.N., Tony Elumelu Foundation Founder and Chairman of Heirs Holdings, said: “This programme is part of the Foundation’s efforts to create the best possible environment for the African private-sector led economic transformation of Nigeria and Africa. We see this as a homegrown solution, leveraging the best of Nigerian business talent and private-sector innovation to contribute to driving the right kind of capital in to Nigeria’s agriculture sector. We are starting with the Ministry of Agriculture to visibly show our support for the Honourable Minister of Agriculture’s ambitious transformation vision, a key pillar of the overall administration agenda.”

Welcoming the first Fellow into the Ministry, the Honourable Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr. Akinwumi Adesina, C.O.N. said: “Agriculture is not a development project but rather a business. We will grow this sector to become a major driver of our economy. We are working to create an enabling environment that will attract significant local and foreign direct investments into this sector. Nigeria’s agriculture is open for business, to add value to all we grow and generate jobs.

This pioneering programme by The Tony Elumelu Foundation will be key in ensuring the catalytic growth of the agricultural industry. The Senior Investment Advisor will help to build and strengthen the capacity for mobilizing investments within the Ministry of Agriculture in our drive to make agriculture more productive, efficient and competitive, in our drive to make the vision of President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, GCFR, a success.”

The signing of the partnership agreement between The Tony Elumelu Foundation and the Federal Ministry of Agriculture comes a day after the principals of the two institutions, Tony O. Elumelu and Dr. Akin Adesina, were conferred with the national honour of Commander Order of the Niger. Both Dr. Adesina and Mr. Elumelu are also members of President Goodluck Jonathan’s Agriculture Transformation Implementation Council, and are setting a benchmark for collaboration between the public and private sectors.

About The Tony Elumelu Foundation
The Tony Elumelu Foundation is an African based and funded not-for-profit institution, dedicated to the promotion and celebration of excellence in business leadership and entrepreneurship across Africa. As a 21st century catalytic philanthropy, the Foundation is committed to driving the continent’s economic growth from within by proving the African private sector can itself be the primary generator of economic development.

Founded in 2010 by Tony O. Elumelu the Foundation identifies and grooms business students, young entrepreneurs and CEOs of African corporations at various stages of their development. It seeks to use African capital and leadership to create a pipeline of entrepreneurs, while also supporting imaginative business leaders whose ideas can create sustainable employment and foster regional partnerships.

About The Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development
Led by the Honourable Minister, Dr. Akinwumi Adesina, the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development has developed a new agricultural transformation plan for Nigeria, as part of the Transformation Agenda of the President. The implementation of the transformation plan requires very close supervision and execution at the state and local government levels, working closely with the private sector. To ensure effective execution, the active participation of the states, and monitoring and evaluation of the transformation plan, the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development will now be decentralised to the states. A key component of the transformation of agriculture at the state level is the development of agriculture as a business, with special focus on young entrepreneurial commercial farmers, private sector investments, and development of agribusinesses (seeds, fertilisers, machinery, storage and logistics, food manufacturing etc).
The successful development of agribusinesses generally, and particularly within the staple crop processing zones at the state and regional levels will ensure reduction of post-harvest losses, backward integration to use surplus production of agricultural produce, assure markets for farmers and ensure the emergence of more competitive food systems that can produce and deliver food at competitive costs.

Contact:
Tolu Orekoya
Communications Department
The Tony Elumelu Foundation
tolu.orekoya@heirsholdings.com