Nigerian billionaire, Tony Elumelu, eyes Zimbabwe
Elumelu visited Zimbabwe in 2015 and toured the First Family’s Alpha and Omega dairy before meeting captains of industry, raising hopes that the billionaire was keen to set up businesses in the country.
“We just came to survey the environment and see. You hear a lot about Zimbabwe. At times one of the reasons African businesses are doing well is that we understand African risk. We do not, to a larger extent, get influenced by the information put forward by fellow Africans, but we go to find ourselves,” he told NewsDay on the side lines of Afreximbank 24th annual general meeting (AGM).
Elumelu said his 2015 visit was influenced by the need to explore investment opportunities in Zimbabwe before making a move.
“I came as African businessperson, who keeps exploring opportunities on the continent. At times you see opportunities and take advantage of that,” he said.
“At times you see opportunities that will crystalise in the near future you note it. So for us we keep scanning the African continent business environment to see where we can establish our investment. When I go to some countries it is not only because we want to do investment it could be to prospect and see. For me, we are looking for the nice opportunity and if we find it you see us in Zimbabwe.”
The billionaire is the chairperson of Heirs Holdings, as well as United Bank of Africa (UBA) Group Plc and Transcorp Plc, which is Nigeria’s largest listed conglomerate.
Transcorp is a publicly traded Nigerian conglomerate with interests in hospitality, agriculture, oil production and power generation.
UBA is a leading financial institution offering banking services to more than seven million customers across 750 branches in 19 African countries.
“Investment capital goes where it is most welcomed and African governments are improving. As an investor, I want to go where the market has stability and transparency. We have to prioritise a country that has a stable regime and predictable environment,” the Nigerian said.
In his speech at the AGM, which ended on Saturday, Rwanda Finance and Economic Planning minister, Claver Gatete noted that African trade had witnessed remarkable growth, especially over the last two decades, rising from $210 billion in 1996 to $1,2 trillion in 2015.