The Kingdom of Belgium has conferred on the Chairman of the United Bank for Africa (UBA) Group, Tony Elumelu, with the honorary distinction of Officer in the Order of Leopold (OOL).
Speaking during the celebration of Belgium’s decoration of Elumelu in Abuja on Sunday night, the Ambassador of Belgium to Nigeria, Daniel Bertrand, said the award was Belgium’s oldest and most important national honour.
Bertrand said the Kingdom decided to confer on Elumelu the honour considering his achievements in business and the Tony Elumelu Foundation (TEF) in which he had been helping many young Africans create jobs and escape poverty.
Elumelu told journalists that he was passionate about eradicating poverty and economically empowering young Africans through entrepreneurship.
He said both Transcorp and UBA were driven by three core aspirations: poverty alleviation, job creation and access to electricity.
He explained that his group had acquired nearly 1,000 megawatts (MW) of electricity firms, empowered over 9,000 entrepreneurs through TEF and his aggressive poverty alleviation programmes.
“We’ll continue to work hard to prioritise our young ones to help create access to capital for them, to help mentor them, to help create networking platforms for them so that they can succeed.”
The Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Boss Mustapha, expressed the Federal Government’s support for Elumelu’s aspirations in job creation, poverty eradication and access to electricity.
While appreciating the Kingdom of Belgium for the honour, Mustapha said Elumelu’s aspirations in the private sector were in line with President Muhammadu Buhari’s plan of lifting 100 million Nigerians out of poverty.