Wealthy Nigerian banker Tony O. Elumelu has floated a $9 million Fund to empower and support residents of distressed communities across Nigeria.
The Elumelu Nigeria Empowerment Fund is an outcome of a $16 Million pledge the businessman made in July during a Presidential Fundraising Dinner for the Victims Support Fund, an initiative that was established by Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan to provide relief for those who have been adversely affected by insurgency and conflict in Nigeria over the last few years. Elumelu had immediately disbursed N1 billion (approximately $6.1 million) to the Victims Support Fund shortly after making the pledge, while the remaining N1.5 billion now serves as the initial seeding for the Elumelu Nigeria Empowerment Fund.According to a press release issued by the Tony Elumelu Foundation, the Fund will focus on helping to revitalize the economies of post conflict and disaster communities across Nigeria.
The fund was officially launched on Thursday in Abuja by President Goodluck Jonathan, who applauded Elumelu for his generosity.
“Rehabilitating distressed communities will require interventions not just from the government, but also from the private sector. Therefore, I am pleased to see that Tony Elumelu, one of our private sector leaders, stepped up in a big way – by making a major contribution to the Victim Support Fund and that his effort did not end there as he has now created the Elumelu Nigeria Empowerment Fund,” said Nigerian President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan.
Solely seeded and managed by The Tony Elumelu Foundation, The Elumelu Nigeria Empowerment Fund, which would operate as an independent non-profit organization, will work to transform communities that have been devastated by natural disasters and insurgency, into prosperous and economically sustainable communities. The Fund will create opportunities and empower people in affected communities across Nigeria enabling them to rebuild their lives and businesses whilst instilling a sense of economic empowerment for the long-term. In line with Elumelu’s goal of creating more entrepreneurs across Africa, the fund will support entrepreneurs in the affected regions by providing access to start-up funding, mentorship and capacity building.
“By making social investments and grants available in select distressed communities across Nigeria, the Elumelu Nigeria Empowerment Fund will economically empower individuals and communities by creating and fostering an enabling environment that will support a new generation of entrepreneurs,” said Elumelu. “Entrepreneurs create jobs, opportunity, and wealth at the local level and in doing so, they play a vital role in reducing poverty and addressing a range of social issues that cause conflict and instability,” Elumelu continued.
The fund will be managed by Katja Nwator, a staff of the Tony Elumelu Foundation, and will support a range of initiatives in these communities, including projects that will tackle environmental issues, restore damaged infrastructure as well as social welfare projects. By helping to restore these communities the Fund will create the platform for a thriving entrepreneurial environment.
Tony O. Elumelu, one of Africa’s wealthiest and most distinguished business leaders, is the founder of Heirs Holdings, a pan-African proprietary investment company based in Nigeria and well as the Tony Elumelu Foundation, an African-based, African-funded philanthropic organization that supports entrepreneurship in Africa by enhancing the competitiveness of the African private sector.
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