Davos Diaries: Chairman, UBA Plc, Tony O. Elumelu reflects on WEF, Davos 2017

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Day 3

As I share my final experiences from #WEF2017,
it’s a little bittersweet. But just like I said in my first blog, we are People
of Action and not just words and good diction. In order to move the needle, we
must fully commit to changing the world for good, one partnership at a time, in
a responsible and responsive manner.

I am optimistic and hopeful that by
this time next year, there will be measurable impact borne from the meetings
held these past few days. I’m excited to sow seeds of
change and impact here
in Davos, and look forward to the season of harvest where through these
partnerships, access to economic opportunity is expanded and prosperity shared
in Africa – I call this Africapitalism. Part of this mission is to bring more
women and girls on board by breaking down barriers that reduce women
participation in business and economic activity on the continent.


Figure
1: Oxfam CEO,
Winnie Byanyima, brainstorms with our team Parminder Vir (CEO), Owen Omogiafo
(COO) and Dupe Olusola (UBA EMDO’s Director) on means to enable more female
participation in economic activity in Africa.

Focusing on business, I engaged with
various corporate titans who lead some of the most successful organizations in
the 21st century:

1. David Rubenstein, founder
of Carlyle Group – one of the world’s largest and most successful investment
firms with $169 billion of assets under management and Patrick Pouyanne, Group
CEO of Total – one of the world’s leading international oil and gas companies
both recognize Heirs Holdings’ pan-African footprint across the strategic
sectors in which we operate. We discussed business collaborations and new ways
of doing business that benefit the majority and not just a few.


Figure
2: Where oil,
money and Africapitalism meet- with David Rubenstein, cofounder of Carlyle
Group and Patrick Pouyanne, Group CEO of Total.

2.  Mr. Frederic Oudea, Group
CEO of  French multinational banking and
financial services company, Societe Generale, hosted me to lunch at his Davos
apartment where we discussed how to invest in Africa not for the short term,
but for the future.


Figure
3: Promoting
French-Africa business relationships with Mr. Frederic Oudea, CEO Societe
Generale.
3. In recognition of the
impressive performance of Heirs Holdings’ investee companies – Avon Healthcare
Limited, Nigeria’s most trusted HMO, and Avon Medical, a top healthcare provider
in Nigeria – my friend Stanley Bergman, Chairman and CEO of Henry Schein, one
of the world’s largest providers of healthcare products and services, and I met
to explore partnership opportunities between our two groups to advance healthcare
delivery in Nigeria/Africa.


Figure
4: Catch-up
with Stanley Bergman, Chairman and CEO of Henry Schein

4. In furtherance to my
commitment to improving access to electricity in Africa, Isabelle Kocher, CEO
Engie – a world leader in electricity generation and distribution, natural gas
and renewable energy – and I met to discuss a partnership to broaden access to
electricity via renewable energy in university campuses across Africa starting
with Nigeria. This will help our young students excel in their academic
ambitions and fulfil their potential, as reliable power will mean that they
spend far fewer hours struggling to study in the dark and more time reading in
a conducive environment.




Figure
5: Working
session with the Engie team led by CEO, Isabelle Kocher.

Africapitalism advocates for the
private sector to work alongside the public sector to make real change. We
cannot achieve broad-based development if we work in isolation, confined to our
own spaces and regions. The role of the public sector is to create an enabling
environment – supported by incentives – to encourage private sector
participants to invest long term in the economy. This role of the public sector
is non-transferable as only government has the tools and capacity to build a
business climate that is favourable to enterprise.  I was pleased to catch up with policymakers –
both current and past – who are living testimonies of what government can
accomplish by working closely with the private sector.

The King of Belgium, Philippe of
Belgium; Prime Minister of Belgium, Charles Michel; and Stephen A. Schwarzman,
CEO of leading global private equity firm Blackstone Group are leaders who have
done a great deal to strengthen entrepreneurship and the private sector in
Belgium, China and USA, it was a pleasure to discuss extensively with them.


Figure
6: Felicitating
with the King of Belgium, Philippe of Belgium and Stephen A. Schwarzman, CEO of
Blackstone Group.

In line with WEF 2017’s theme of
responsible and responsive leadership, I sat with Tony Blair to discuss good
governance and how important it is to build systems of accountability and
transparency.


Figure
7: Coffee with
Tony Blair, former PM of United Kingdom
Gordon Brown, former PM of UK, and
Jakaya Kikwete, former president of Tanzania, and I agreed that there are lots
of opportunities in Africa. The focus should be how to convert our potential to
meaningful impact that benefits Africa’s people. This can only be achieved with
the right operating environment in place to attract capital.
Figure
8: With Gordon
Brown, former PM of UK, and Jakaya Kikwete, former president of Tanzania

The private sector must also play its
own role by identifying and investing in strategic sectors that add local value
to the African economy. To discuss how to strengthen entrepreneurship in
Africa, I had a brief chat with the Dean Elmendorf of the Harvard Kennedy
School of Government, where I sit on the Global Advisory Council.



Figure
9: With the HKS
team led by Dean Elmendorf…

Speaking of entrepreneurship, it’s
always a pleasure to meet up with young African leaders and entrepreneurs doing
the continent proud. Like I always say, “young entrepreneurs and those they
inspire are the lifeblood of Africa’s rise.”
Figure
10: With three
Global Shapers from Germany, USA  and
Nigeria.

The UBA delegation, led by GMD Kennedy
Uzoka, was also very engaged with fellow global business leaders. He conducted
various meetings, attended sessions, and networked extensively.


Figure
11: UBA GMD,
Kennedy Uzoka, with President of Microsoft EMEA (Europe, Middle East, Africa),
Michel Van der Bel.


Figure 12: UBA GMD meeting with
Bongani Nqwababa, President /CEO of SASOL –
leading integrated
energy and chemical company based in Johannesburg, South Africa

I ended my
participation at this year’s World Economic Forum with two interviews that I
hope to share with you soon. As always, I discussed some of my favourite topics
– Africapitalism, entrepreneurship, investment in Africa and “catalytic
philanthropy” – a new kind of giving that enables the recipient become economically
independent instead of perpetually dependent.
Figure
13: Sat down
with BBC’s Tanya in the beautiful Davos Media Village.




Figure
14: Interview
with Phoebe Li for China Business News (CBN)
As WEF 2017 ends, I would like to
appreciate my team who have truly embodied the HH DNA of the three E’s –
Enterprise, Execution and Excellence. They were enterprising in closing deals
for their respective organizations, they executed the planned agenda with
precision, and above all, stood out in the way they conducted our affairs with
flair and excellence.  I am proud of all
of them.

A commander is only as good as his army.


Figure
15: The #HHMachine

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