The Tony Elumelu Foundation’s Africapitalism Institute and Durham University Business School, one of the oldest universities in the United Kingdom, co-hosted a day-long academic symposium on the economic philosophy called “Africapitalism” at the Foundation’s headquarters in Lagos.
Africapitalism – the belief that the private sector must play a leading role in Africa’s development – is the economic philosophy first developed by Tony O. Elumelu, CON, back in 2010, and has been heavily influenced by his long career as a banker, investor, entrepreneur and philanthropist. The primary goals of Mr. Elumelu’s Africapitalism mission are to promote public policies that facilitate private sector growth, to educate established businesses about how Africapitalist business practices can enhance both profits and prosperity, and to address the specific needs of Africa’s emerging entrepreneurs as the best source of new and inclusive local value creation.
“The purpose of today’s discussion is to explore the key issues influencing Africapitalism as an economic philosophy from the perspective and scrutiny of academia,” said David Rice, Director of the Africapitalism Institute at the Tony Elumelu Foundation. “Years ago, Mr. Elumelu developed this philosophy from the perspective of a practitioner and his role as a banker, businessman, investor, and entrepreneur. Now his Foundation is supporting the rigorous, independent analysis of Africapitalism’s merits.”
Several distinguished faculty members from Durham University made presentations to a diverse audience that included scholars, students, business people and investors. Participating faculty members included Professor Geoff Moore, Chair of Business Ethics and Deputy Dean; Professor Mehmet Asutay, an expert in Islamic Finance; senior lecturer Dr. Emmanuel Adegbite, who spoke about Africapitalism and corporate governance; and Mark Learnmonth, Professor of Organizational Studies. The day’s agenda was driven by Dr. Adegbite, who is a member of the Africapitalism Research Project team led by Professor Kenneth Amaeshi, who has appointments at Edinburgh University in Scotland and at Lagos Business School.
“Africapitalism is in the early stages of development with respect to academia,” said Dr. Emmanuel Adegbite of Durham University. “But we see the transformative potential of this initiative and by applying our rigorous standards of analysis, our intent is strengthen the concept by putting it through its paces, just as we’ve done here today.”
The symposium is just the latest formal critique of Africapitalism from global academia. In June 2015, the first article on Africapitalism was published in a refereed, peer-reviewed academic journal, and in August the Academy of International Business will further explore Africapitalism’s merits during their annual conference for scholars in South Africa.