Africapitalism: Capitalism with African Values

Africapitalism is not a play on words: it’s an economic philosophy developed by Tony Elumelu, a Nigerian visionary entrepreneur and philanthropist. His philosophy represents the private sector’s commitment to the economic transformation of Africa through long-term investment that generates both economic prosperity and social value.

Africapitalism: Capitalism embedded in African values
Africapitalism: Capitalism embedded in African values

The Tony Elumelu Foundation promotes this philosophy through the Africapitalism Institute, one of its arms. These are the principles of Africapitalism:

  • Entrepreneurship: Check out the Tony Elumelu Foundation’s impressive program to provide seed capital to 1,000 African entrepreneurs!
  • Long-term Investments: Extraction industries are not enough for the healthy development of the continent.
  • Strategic sectors: Investments in sectors like agriculture, power, healthcare, and finance can deliver broad economic and social value in addition to financial results.
  • Development dividend: The way business activity is carried out needs to provide economic and social benefits to stakeholders, not just financial returns to shareholders.
  • Value-added growth: Local value can be created through longer, more integrated, and higher value regional supply chains.
  • Multi-generational development: The creation of value needs to consider future generations — this is inter-generational solidarity!
  • Shared purpose. Creating conditions that will empower the African private sector to thrive involves actors ranging from business to governments and civil society.

These principles reflect African values – even if these values are not exclusively African. In an interview with CNBC Africa, Institute’s Director David Rice talks about how the Institute wants to change the narrative on Africa from the story that 6 out of 10 of the fastest growing economies are in Africa, to how those economies are growing.  Is it inclusive and sustainable growth? Are enough jobs being created? It’s about time for Western companies to reflect on why we’ve faced the deep crisis we’re beginning to overcome. The principles of Africapitalism give us food for thought, don’t you think? Could the narrative on Western capitalism also change?

7 thoughts on “Africapitalism: Capitalism with African Values

  1. it seems africa capitalism is just the same as other forms of capitalism, just putting a spin on it. come to africa and see what the seurocrats are doing, there is nothing on the ground like what u are explaining as africa capitalism. i always take anything that comes with the appendage afri-something smething ith a pinch of salt. its always over hyped and divorced from reality

    1. Thank you for your comment, Thomas. I won’t say that Africapitalism is pervasive in Africa but it does exist: I have met business leaders that avide to its principles. And the Africaptalism Institute is promoting it. For instance, it’s developing a decalogue and inviting companies to adscribe to it. I understand your skeptikism but I think there’s hope. And other regions would benefit from applying those principles as well.

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