The lecture will be divided into 4 parts:

  1. Understanding Leadership
  2. Corporate Leadership
  3. Thought Leadership
  4. Philanthropic Leadership


  1. Defining Leadership

A leader can be summed up as "Someone who gets results." Therefore, you can be a leader at any stage in your life and career, and in any career path you choose. Whether you are leading a team of others, or just yourself, your responsibility is to generate, secure or deliver results. To that end, I have good news for you. LEADERSHIP IS LEARNED! Some may be born leaders, but for most, leadership is learned. And you can always be a better leader. So it is important to keep developing your leadership skills throughout your career. I can tell you that I am still working on it myself.

Some ways of continuously learning leadership skills throughout your career include:

  • Treating challenging situations, both good and bad, as learning opportunities;
  • Reading autobiographies of celebrated leaders in all spheres; and
  • Attending events such as this and hearing directly about the experiences of others;

NLI and your other training have already put you on the path to leadership but I want to stress that, in order to be the most effective leader that you can be, you need to start with yourself. You need to develop traits and practices now that you will need later.

Defining Impact

  • I see impact as having positive, discernable and lasting effect on the space in which we operate, and by space, I mean sector or, economy and people in our sphere.
  • Therefore, 'Leadership for High Impact' means getting positive discernable and lasting results in the pursuit of our objectives or existence.

10 Qualities of Personal Leadership to Cultivate

  1. Discipline and Hard work– Lead by example
  2. Passion
  3. Listening Skills and Syndicating Views
  4. Decisiveness
  5. Attention to your People: Discover them and help them discover their natural space and talents.
  6. Lifting Others Up
  7. Leaders have Foresight
  8. Leaders dream and are audacious
  9. Calmness and Optimism.
  10. Accessibility: If you want to know what is going on in your organization, and you must, and you want to get the best ideas out of your people, at all levels of the organization, you must be accessible to you team, physically and in terms of approachability.


To successfully lead a large organization that has high impact, you need to have 5 demonstrable qualities or abilities. They are:

  1. Long-term Vision and Orientation
  2. Focus on Outcomes Be Result-oriented, not Activity-oriented. Have measurable objectives. What gets measured gets done
  3. Governance
  4. Culture: It's important to have ONE Vision, ONE Direction and ONE Organization.
  5. People: Set aside sentiments about people and surround yourself with the right people- both professionally and socially.


This is about:

  • Evangelizing what works
  • Inspiring others
  • Replicating success.

When you achieve a certain amount of experience and a certain amount of success, it is important to reflect on what principles, practices and decisions led you to success. When you find those key elements, it is important to pass that knowledge along, so that others may learn from your success, and guard against your mistakes. That is why you are here today and that is why I developed the philosophy of Africapitalism. I have a responsibility to share what I have learned, and to help create more Tony Elumelus and UBAs. I looked at my history of investments, which guided my decisions and what impact I wanted to make. They were:

  • Promoting development in Nigeria and across Africa was important;
  • Doing it from the private sector (not interested in running for public office);
  • Creating wealth
  • Delivering societal dividends as well.

In response, I came up with Africapitalism, an economic philosophy to DEPLOY, EMPOWER and ENJOIN private sector participation in the economic and social development of the African continent. Africapitalism advocates long-term investments in strategic sectors that generate both economic dividends for investors and social dividends for society.

Can you imagine what it will mean for Africa if every investor and business person held and practiced a common philosophy that includes PATIENT CAPITAL, HEALTHY RETURNS and SOCIETAL BENEFITS?


This is another area where IMPACT really matters. I see a shift in global philanthropy. Philanthropy is no longer just about tax breaks and putting your name on monumental buildings. Philanthropy is about lasting, transformational and multi-generational changes in families, communities and even nations. As a consequence in Africa, leadership in philanthropy is also about promoting a culture of STRUCTURED GIVING. Africans are some of the most generous people on earth. We live from hand to hand. Meaning, when we get something, we immediately share with our families and network. Like many successful business persons and persons of faith, I gave a lot. However, while this giving is important and often life-saving, as a paradigm, this type of giving is not always impactful because it does not often deliver sustainable results.

The Tony Elumelu Entrepreneurship Programme (TEEP) strives to incorporate leadership in these areas in a single program. It is a $100 million program to identify, train mentor and seed 10,000 African businesses over the next 10 years. Through TEEP:

  • The Elumelu entrepreneurs learn how to grow and scale up their business vision and team
  • They are required to consider and report their progress in job creation; and the program itself is highly structured in our giving.
  • Individuals must apply and meet specifically laid out criteria and various milestones along the way. Those that do that are those with the VISION, PASSION, DISCIPLINE and OPTIMISM, and they are the ones that will succeed and become the UBAs of the future.
  • Once they are on their way, they and their families and communities will NOT need a hand out in the future and they will extend a hand up to others and replicate their success.


Leadership Matters in ALL spheres of Life. Today, we've talked about CORPORATE, THOUGHT and PHILANTHROPIC LEADERSHIP for HIGH IMPACT. What all three have in common is having a lasting effect and 'INVESTING IN THE NEXT GENERATION.' You are among the next generation of Nigerian leaders, but the work starts now and it starts you- with the business and social choices you make. That is the simple lesson of NLI, your senior fellows, parents and mentors that are guiding you in life. If you truly wish to make impact- that is positive, lasting and multigenerational change, you must work on yourselves and you must start working with the generation following you to get the result we all want- the economic and social transformation of Nigeria and Africa.

So please, go forth and LEAD!