Real Owner of United Bank for Africa and Net Worth

United Bank for Africa (UBA) is one of the leading financial institutions in Africa, renowned for its robust operations and extensive reach across the continent. The bank has a storied history, significant market influence, and a broad array of financial services. A pivotal figure behind UBA‘s success is its real owner, Tony Elumelu, a prominent Nigerian entrepreneur, economist, and philanthropist.

The History of United Bank for Africa

Founded in 1948 as the British and French Bank Limited (BFB), UBA has evolved through various phases to become a Pan-African financial institution. The bank underwent a significant transformation in 1961 when it was incorporated as UBA, a Nigerian entity, following Nigeria’s independence. Over the decades, UBA has expanded its footprint beyond Nigeria, establishing a presence in 20 African countries, with branches in the United States, the United Kingdom, and France.

Tony Elumelu: The Visionary Leader

Tony Elumelu is the real owner of UBA, a name synonymous with entrepreneurial success in Africa. Born on March 22, 1963, in Jos, Nigeria, Elumelu‘s rise to prominence is a testament to his business acumen, leadership skills, and philanthropic endeavors.

Early Life and Education

Tony Elumelu hails from a modest background. He earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Economics from Ambrose Alli University and an MBA from the University of Lagos. His educational foundation laid the groundwork for his future achievements in the financial sector.

Career Beginnings and Heirs Holdings

Elumelu’s career in banking began in 1985 when he joined Union Bank as a Youth Corp member of the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC). His significant break came in 1997 when he led a small group of investors to take over a struggling commercial bank, Standard Trust Bank. Under his leadership, Standard Trust Bank grew to become one of the top financial institutions in Nigeria.

In 2005, Elumelu orchestrated one of the largest mergers in the banking sector in Sub-Saharan Africa by merging Standard Trust Bank with United Bank for Africa. This merger transformed UBA into a Pan-African institution, solidifying its position as a leading financial services group on the continent.

In addition to his role at UBA, Elumelu is the chairman of Heirs Holdings, a family-owned investment company with interests in various sectors, including financial services, power, oil and gas, real estate, and hospitality. Heirs Holdings’ diverse investment portfolio underscores Elumelu’s strategic vision and commitment to driving economic growth across Africa.

Net Worth and Business Ventures

Tony Elumelu’s net worth is a reflection of his business success and strategic investments. As of 2024, his estimated net worth is around $1.4 billion, according to Forbes. This wealth stems from his ownership stakes in UBA, Transcorp, and Heirs Holdings, as well as other business ventures.

United Bank for Africa

UBA remains a cornerstone of Elumelu’s wealth. As one of Africa’s largest banks, UBA serves over 21 million customers and operates in 23 countries globally. The bank’s extensive range of services includes retail banking, commercial banking, and corporate and investment banking. UBA’s significant market capitalization and profitability have been key drivers of Elumelu’s net worth.


Transnational Corporation of Nigeria (Transcorp) is another vital component of Elumelu’s business empire. Transcorp is a diversified conglomerate with interests in power generation, hospitality, agribusiness, and oil and gas. Elumelu’s investment in Transcorp has been instrumental in driving the company’s growth and expanding its influence in the Nigerian economy. As the chairman of Transcorp, Elumelu has overseen strategic acquisitions and expansions, further bolstering his financial standing.

Heirs Holdings and Africapitalism

Through Heirs Holdings, Elumelu has championed the concept of Africapitalism, which posits that the private sector can drive economic and social development in Africa. Heirs Holdings invests in sectors that have the potential to create economic value and improve lives. This philosophy underpins Elumelu’s investments in energy, healthcare, real estate, and technology.

One notable venture is Heirs Oil & Gas, which acquired a 45% participating interest in Oil Mining Lease (OML) 17, located in Nigeria’s Niger Delta region. This acquisition, valued at over $1 billion, is one of the largest oil and gas transactions in Africa and demonstrates Elumelu’s commitment to the continent’s energy sector.

Philanthropy and The Tony Elumelu Foundation

Beyond his business endeavors, Tony Elumelu is renowned for his philanthropic activities, primarily through the Tony Elumelu Foundation (TEF). Established in 2010, TEF is dedicated to promoting entrepreneurship in Africa. The foundation’s flagship program, the Tony Elumelu Entrepreneurship Programme (TEEP), aims to identify, train, mentor, and fund 10,000 entrepreneurs across Africa over ten years.

TEEP provides seed capital, training, and mentorship to aspiring entrepreneurs, empowering them to transform their ideas into sustainable businesses. This initiative reflects Elumelu’s belief in the power of entrepreneurship to drive economic growth and reduce poverty in Africa.

Recognition and Awards

Tony Elumelu’s contributions to business and philanthropy have earned him numerous accolades. He has been named among the “100 Most Influential People in the World” by Time magazine and included in Forbes’ list of “Africa’s 50 Richest.” Additionally, Elumelu has received several honorary doctorates and awards from prestigious institutions worldwide, acknowledging his impact on business and society.

Tony Elumelu’s ownership of United Bank for Africa and his substantial net worth are testaments to his entrepreneurial spirit, strategic vision, and dedication to economic development in Africa. Through his leadership at UBA, investments through Heirs Holdings, and philanthropic efforts via the Tony Elumelu Foundation, Elumelu continues to play a pivotal role in shaping the future of Africa’s economic landscape. His legacy serves as an inspiration to aspiring entrepreneurs and a beacon of hope for sustainable development on the continent.

Top 10 Leading Banks in Africa

Africa’s banking landscape has evolved significantly over the past few decades. Today, the continent boasts a robust financial sector, marked by a mix of traditional banking giants and innovative new players. The top banks in Africa are recognized for their substantial assets, expansive networks, and significant contributions to economic growth. Here, we explore the top ten leading banks in Africa, highlighting their histories, operations, and impact.

1. Standard Bank Group (South Africa)

Overview: Standard Bank Group, headquartered in Johannesburg, is Africa’s largest bank by assets. Established in 1862, it has grown to operate in 20 African countries and various international markets.

Operations: The bank offers a wide range of financial services, including personal and business banking, corporate and investment banking, and wealth management. It has a robust digital platform, catering to the needs of a tech-savvy customer base.

Impact: Standard Bank is a pivotal player in Africa’s economic development, funding large-scale infrastructure projects and supporting SMEs. Its commitment to sustainability and community development is also notable.

2. FirstRand Bank (South Africa)

Overview: FirstRand Bank is another heavyweight in the African banking sector. It was founded in 1998 and is headquartered in Johannesburg. The bank operates under several brands, including First National Bank (FNB), Rand Merchant Bank (RMB), and WesBank.

Operations: FirstRand provides comprehensive financial services, from retail and commercial banking to investment banking and insurance. Its innovative approach, especially in digital banking, has earned it a reputation for excellence.

Impact: FirstRand is known for its entrepreneurial culture and strong performance. It plays a crucial role in funding entrepreneurship and economic activities across the continent.

3. Absa Group Limited (South Africa)

Overview: Absa Group Limited, previously known as Barclays Africa Group Limited, is one of the largest financial services groups in Africa. It is headquartered in Johannesburg and operates in 12 African countries.

Operations: Absa offers a diverse range of financial services, including personal and business banking, credit cards, corporate and investment banking, and wealth and investment management. The bank has a strong digital presence and a customer-centric approach.

Impact: Absa’s extensive reach and comprehensive service offering make it a key player in Africa’s financial ecosystem. It is also involved in numerous community and sustainability initiatives.

4. National Bank of Egypt (Egypt)

Overview: Founded in 1898, the National Bank of Egypt (NBE) is the oldest and one of the largest banks in Egypt and Africa. It is headquartered in Cairo and has a vast network of branches across the country.

Operations: NBE provides a wide array of banking services, including retail, corporate, and investment banking, as well as treasury and international services. The bank is a leader in digital banking in Egypt.

Impact: NBE plays a significant role in Egypt’s economy, financing large-scale infrastructure projects and supporting various sectors. Its historical significance and ongoing contributions to economic growth are substantial.

5. Attijariwafa Bank (Morocco)

Overview: Attijariwafa Bank, headquartered in Casablanca, Morocco, is one of the leading banks in North Africa. It was established in 1904 and has a strong presence in 26 countries, primarily in Africa.

Operations: The bank offers comprehensive financial services, including retail, corporate, and investment banking, insurance, and asset management. It is known for its extensive network and customer-focused services.

Impact: Attijariwafa Bank is a key driver of economic development in the regions it serves. It supports trade and investment across Africa, contributing to the continent’s financial integration.

6. Banque Misr (Egypt)

Overview: Banque Misr, established in 1920, is a major Egyptian bank headquartered in Cairo. It was founded by the pioneer of modern Egyptian banking, Talaat Pasha Harb.

Operations: Banque Misr provides a wide range of banking services, including retail, corporate, and Islamic banking, as well as investment and treasury services. It is a leader in promoting financial inclusion and innovation in Egypt.

Impact: Banque Misr is deeply involved in financing development projects and supporting various economic sectors in Egypt. Its historical legacy and continued contributions to the economy are noteworthy.

7. Nedbank Group (South Africa)

Overview: Nedbank Group, headquartered in Johannesburg, is one of the largest banks in South Africa. It was founded in 1888 and has a strong presence in southern Africa.

Operations: Nedbank offers a full range of financial services, including retail and commercial banking, wealth management, and investment banking. It is known for its focus on sustainability and green finance.

Impact: Nedbank is a major player in promoting sustainable development in Africa. Its commitment to environmental and social governance (ESG) principles sets it apart in the financial sector.

8. Ecobank Transnational Incorporated (ETI)

Overview: Ecobank, founded in 1985 and headquartered in Lomé, Togo, is a pan-African banking conglomerate with operations in 36 African countries. It is one of the largest and most widespread banks on the continent.

Operations: Ecobank provides comprehensive banking services, including retail, corporate, and investment banking. It is a leader in digital banking and financial inclusion, with a focus on reaching underserved populations.

Impact: Ecobank’s extensive network and commitment to financial inclusion make it a vital player in Africa’s banking landscape. Its innovative services have expanded access to banking for millions of Africans.

9. Zenith Bank (Nigeria)

Overview: Zenith Bank, established in 1990 and headquartered in Lagos, Nigeria, is one of the largest and most influential banks in Nigeria. It has a significant presence across West Africa.

Operations: Zenith Bank offers a wide range of financial services, including retail, corporate, and investment banking, as well as trade services and treasury operations. The bank is renowned for its robust technology platform.

Impact: Zenith Bank is a key driver of economic growth in Nigeria and beyond. Its contributions to the financial sector, through innovation and strategic investments, are significant.

10. United Bank for Africa (UBA)

Overview: United Bank for Africa (UBA), headquartered in Lagos, Nigeria, is a leading pan-African financial institution with operations in 20 African countries. It was established in 1949 and has grown to become a major player in Africa’s banking sector.

Operations: UBA offers a comprehensive suite of financial services, including retail and commercial banking, investment banking, and asset management. The bank is known for its strong digital banking capabilities.

Impact: UBA’s extensive network and innovative services make it a cornerstone of Africa’s financial landscape. It is deeply involved in promoting economic development and financial inclusion across the continent.


The top banks in Africa play a crucial role in the continent’s economic development and financial stability. They are leaders in innovation, sustainability, and financial inclusion, driving growth and supporting communities. These banks are not only financial institutions but also pivotal players in the journey towards a prosperous and inclusive Africa.



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