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Foundation Appoints Global Leaders As Board Members

By on April 17, 2011

THE Tony Elumelu Foundation  (TEF) has announced the appointment of former Prime Ministers, CEOs, investment bankers and philanthropists, from around the world into its advisory board. The cross-section of distinguished global leaders, who represent the pinnacle of success in the public, private and non-profit sectors, will convene at Heirs Place, in Lagos this month to formulate the strategy and guide the growth and development of the Foundation, a catalytic philanthropy that is emerging as an African leader in impact investing.

Because of the Foundation’s status as a pioneering African philanthropic institution, the inaugural meeting of the Foundation’s advisory board is expected to have broad implications for the future of philanthropy and development in Africa because the board will hash out a set of bold recommendations likely to change how development takes place across the continent.

The Foundation also announced the appointment of a Founding Patron, Michael Porter, a world-renowned strategist and professor at Harvard University.

The Foundation’s Advisory Board consists of the following members:

• Runa Alam, Chief Executive Officer of Development Partners International and Non-Executive Board member of United Bank for Africa (UBA), who has a quarter-century of investment banking, emerging market management and private equity experience.

• H.E. Shaukat Aziz, the Prime Minister of Pakistan from 2004 to 2007, who was named “Prime Minister of the Year” by the prestigious Euromoney and Bankers magazine.

• Teresa Clark, Founder and CEO of, who formerly served as a Managing Director in the investment banking division of Goldman Sachs & Co.

• Dr. Luisa Dias Diogo, who served as Prime Minister of Mozambique from 2004 to 2010 and who played a key role in transforming the economy of that country.

• Stewart J. Paperin, Executive Vice President of the Open Society Foundations and President of the Soros Economic Development Fund, one of the world’s largest and most innovative social investment funds.

•  Henrik Skovby, founding Global Managing Partner of Dalberg, a renowned strategy consulting firm, with offices on five continents, that is primarily focused on economic development.

“This gathering is an important step for Africa and for the Foundation because of the caliber of people on the board will be using a new lens to gauge the potential for African economic development. By helping the Foundation establish new paradigms for giving, board members are acting as the architects of a new era.  They view this continent holistically, not as an assemblage of disparate regions – a viewpoint that informs our mission as a Pan-African organization,” said TEF Founder, Tony Elumelu.

Philanthropists globally are keeping tabs on moves by the Foundation because it has emerged as the African champion of impact investing, an approach that, unlike traditional grant-making, uses for-profit methods to solve intractable social and environmental problems.

Board recommendations could set the stage for a new, and much more active chapter in investing across Africa, one that would essentially blur lines traditionally separating charitable giving from private investing. Foundation successes could touch off a slew of major investments in African infrastructure by others.

The Tony Elumelu Foundation was officially launched last October. As a 21st century catalytic philanthropy, it is committed to driving Africa ’s economic growth from within by proving that the African private sector can generate economic development. Mr. Elumelu said the Foundation seeks to use African capital and leadership to create a pipeline of entrepreneurs, support imaginative business leaders whose ideas can create jobs, foster regional partnerships and bring life-altering financial services to a wide range of consumers across the continent.

The Advisory Board meeting comes a few months after the appointment of the Foundation’s Chief Executive, Dr. Wiebe Boer, former Associate Director of the Rockefeller Foundation. “I am excited and grateful about the willingness of each member of this exceptionally distinguished group to join the Board and help us chart a new course for African philanthropy,” Dr. Boer said. “Their willingness is a reflection of capacity to operate in the global arena.”

Dr. Boer described the Foundation as unique on the continent. What sets the Foundation apart, he said, is that several of the major players in the philanthropic space are internationally funded, and they involve very few indigenous African funders.  The Tony Elumelu Foundation, however, is African-based and uses African capital to drive transformations that reach across international borders.

In addition, unlike most philanthropies, the Foundation sees grants as a last resort and believes impact investing is a much more sustainable means of capitalization because of the entrepreneurial rigour that comes with requiring a financial return.  Proceeds from an eventual exit from the investment on the part of the Foundation will be put back into the endowment of the Foundation for additional impact investments and other Foundation activities.

The Foundation has emerged as the African champion of impact investing, an approach that, unlike grant making, uses for-profit methods to solve intractable social and environmental problems. The Foundation’s first impact investment deal was signed earlier this month with Mtanga Farms Limited of Tanzania.  The deal will touch the everyday lives of hundreds of thousands of low-income people in rural Tanzania, improving farmers’ access to inputs and technology, creating infrastructure for farmers to bring their products to markets and contributing to the development of the Southern Tanzanian Highlands, one of the most promising untapped areas of agriculture production in East Africa.

Two partner institutions made the deal jointly: The Tony Elumelu Foundation and Heirs Holdings, an African investment company with a long-term investment horizon. Mr. Elumelu, who is the former CEO of United Bank for Africa, heads both the Foundation and Heirs Holdings.

Source : Guardian