Business and Economy

Tony Elumelu Foundation appoints Somachi Chris-Asoluka as the New Chief Executive Officer

Following the retirement of the incumbent CEO, Ifeyinwa Ugochukwu, the Board of Trustees of the Tony Elumelu Foundation, the premier foundation promoting young African entrepreneurs from all 54 African countries, has announced the nomination of Somachi Chris-Asoluka as CEO. The appointment will be in place as of March 1, 2023.

Since the TEF Entrepreneurship Programme was introduced seven years ago in 2015, the Foundation has trained more than 1.5 million young Africans on its digital hub, TEFConnect, and given nearly $100 million in direct funding to 18,000 women and men in Africa, who have collectively generated over 400,000 direct and indirect jobs. The Foundation’s goals are based on Africapitalism, which sees the private sector—and especially entrepreneurs—as a key driver of the continent’s social and economic advancement.

The Foundation has developed a distinctive platform for igniting growth throughout the African continent thanks to its capacity to finance, advise, train, and connect young African entrepreneurs. The United States African Development Foundation (USADF), the Organization of African, Caribbean and Pacific States (OACPS), the French Development Agency (AFD), the German Development Finance Agency, the International Committee of the Red Cross, and the European Union have all participated in innovative partnerships thanks to the Foundation’s strong ability to connect with entrepreneurs across geographies and industries.

Somachi joined the Foundation in 2014 and has previously held the positions of director of partnerships and communications, head of research, head of policy, and head of external relations. By utilizing her knowledge, experience, and network in her new position as CEO, Somachi will consolidate and enhance the Foundation’s goal of improving Africa via entrepreneurship.

Tony O. Elumelu, CFR, commented on the appointment by saying, “This is a crucial time for the Foundation and Africa. Our job is becoming more and more crucial, and our platform shows that we have the power to genuinely catalyze change. To increase our effect, we are collaborating with partners more and more. The expertise Somachi has in creating partnerships will be especially useful. As Director of Partnerships & Communications, Somachi has successfully carried out the Foundation’s objective to improve Africa by displaying strong leadership, dedication, and strategic thinking. She is the ideal choice to continue Ifeyinwa Ugochukwu’s significant contribution.

“I especially salute Ifeyinwa on behalf of the Board for her noteworthy accomplishments, noteworthy sacrifice, and dedication to developing and strengthening the next generation of African business leaders. Since its establishment, the Foundation has been run by a succession of vibrant and diverse CEOs, each of whom offered enthusiasm, dedication, and innovation. As Ifeyinwa’s term as CEO comes to an end, I reflect on the past five years and honor the contribution she has made, first as the Director of Partnerships and then as the CEO.

“Over the previous five years, the Tony Elumelu Foundation has considerably expanded its objective to assist African Entrepreneurs across all 54 African Countries,” Ifeyinwa replied. With the openness of its platform and operations to outside parties who share our objective to expanding the African entrepreneurial ecosystem and improving Africa by empowering entrepreneurs, the Foundation has expanded its collaboration capability in particular. As CEO, it has been an immense pleasure for me to guide the vivacious staff in empowering the subsequent generation of youth whose innovations are altering Africa.

“I am honored to be nominated to lead the Foundation,” Somachi stated in accepting the position. This is especially true considering that the Foundation will soon be launching a new Coalition for African Entrepreneurship. To dramatically improve the effect of TEF’s distinctive platform for identifying, mentoring, training, and investing young African entrepreneurs, this Coalition will bring together global and African partners. I’m excited to collaborate with the group, our partners, and all other stakeholders to realize our shared vision of a strong, self-reliant Africa. The Tony Elumelu Foundation is entering its next stage of influence, and it gives me great honor to continue Ifeyinwa’s legacy.

Somachi got the “Adam Smith” prize given to the top-performing graduating student in Economics after she received her BSc. in Economics and minor in Mathematics from Saint Mary’s College of California. She also holds a Yale University Master’s in International and Development Economics. She serves as a deputy champion for the WEF’s EDISON Alliance.

Applications are now open for the 2023 Tony Elumelu Foundation Entrepreneurship Programme. Apply on

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