Africa’s biggest humanitarian Aliko Dangote has assured Nigerians and Africans on hope and eventual victory over the coronavirus global pandemic, if all stakeholders join hands to fight against the scourge, which has also hit Nigeria and the continent on several fronts.
Dangote, Africa’s richest man, at 63, remains grand, like the nurturant custodian, whose tenderness and warmth blesses the land. In a goodwill message released on the occasion of his 63rd birthday on April 10, 2020, the foremost entrepreneur commended the efforts of the organised private sector, which through an initiative tagged the Coalition Against Covid-19 (CACOVID) has donated over N21 billion to support government efforts to tackle the pandemic in Nigeria.
Dangote, who through his philanthropic organisation, Aliko Dangote Foundation (ADF) has donated N2 billion in cash and other materials to the CACOVID Fund, also saluted the efforts of the governments at all levels and those on the frontline of the fight against COVID-19, which is ravaging the economic, health and social sectors of the country.
In the message issued by the Groups chief corporate communications Officer of Dangote, Mr Anthony Chiejina, Dangote noted that, “All hands must be on deck to help fight the coronavirus pandemic, and every gesture of support from other stakeholders outside government and the business community in Nigeria and Africa, would go a long way to help tackle an issue which has assumed a global dimension, with its impact felt all over the world. If we all work together to combat this virus, then there is light at the end of the tunnel.”
To demonstrate his commitment to the anti-coronavirus cause, the business tycoon had set stage by donating N2 billion to the CACOVID Fund to support the government’s efforts at tackling the pandemic. He also donated four ambulances to the Lagos State Government to support its efforts.
Dangote and the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) are the biggest donors to the Coalition Against Covid-19 account domiciled in the CBN. In the wake of the pandemic, he had earlier announced an initial donation of N200 million during a meeting with NCDC, international stakeholders and donors in Abuja.
Dangote has also been in the fore front of galvanizing individual entrepreneurs and corporate bodies to contribute to the Coalition. Under his leadership, CACOVID is building isolation centres in some states which include: 500-bed temporary medical facility in Kano which is near completion, 1,000-bed facility in Lagos, 210-bed isolation centre in Rivers, 200-bed facility in Abuja,200-bed facility in Enugu and another 200-bed facility in Borno States respectively.
The second phase will see CACOVID-19 building isolation centres in Katsina, Ogun, Bayelsa, Anambra, Bauchi and Plateau States respectively. Other donors to the CACOVID-19 account are: BUA Group, Access Bank, Zenith Bank, Guaranty Trust Bank, Unity Bank, SunTrust Bank, Union Bank, UBA, GTB, FCBM and former Vice President Atiku Abubakar, among others.
Chiejina said the company is not resting on its oars and that philanthropy, and especially healthcare support has been part of the core mandates of the Aliko Dangote Foundation. He said Dangote has been working with other private sector operators, stakeholders and relevant government authorities in the fight against the pandemic.
As part of CACOVID activities, media campaigns and outdoors advertisements are being launched across the states in the country. Interventions by Aliko Dangote Foundation shows that the Foundation which was at inception was endowed with $1.25 billion had supported the Federal Government of Nigeria with over N1 billion and medical facilities to fight the now rested Ebola disease. It also donated $3 million to support AU’s intervention against Ebola in West Africa and logistics support for the returnee volunteers on Ebola intervention.
It would be recalled that his Foundation had expended millions of dollars on polio eradication and routine immunisation, as well as strengthening the Primary Health Care in Nigeria. The project which commenced in Kano and Bauchi states, was later expanded to include: Sokoto, Yobe, Kaduna and Borno States and $10 million was voted for the projects.
ADF had supported the anti-malaria war with $100,000.00, following the End Malaria Council convened on the sidelines of the 2017 UNGA by 9 founding members. It also partnered Global Business Coalition for Health (GBC Health) to build African Business Coalition on Health and $1,500,000 was donated to the cause.
Other health sector interventions by the ADF across Africa include: the $750,000 earmarked for Children of Africa Foundation in Cote d’Ivoire, $25,000 for the Grand Heart Foundation in Chad, $250,000 for the ONE Campaign in Africa, $500,000 for the emergency response to meningitis outbreak in Niger Republic and $575,000 donation of mobile clinics to serve counties in Kenya.
Alhaji Aliko Dangote represents what African businessmen should be. He is an example for aspiring entrepreneurs across the continent. Start small, aim very high, identify and take advantage of opportunities. Do not be discouraged by challenges. Give, and give generously to help others make progress.
Born on April 10, 1957 in Kano State, right from childhood, he had his eye on business. We could say, he probably discovered his destiny early enough and keyed into it. In one of his words, “I can remember when I was in primary school, I would buy cartons of sweets (sugar boxes) and I would sell them just to make money. I was so interested in business, even at that time.”
Dangote, right from when he was young had his eyes on business. He had always, as all real entrepreneurs do, seen opportunities where others see high risk and failure.
In an atmosphere of difficulty, when others would have given up, he took the risk. He is known for taking great risks in a highly risky environment. He has grown to have a Midas touch in every business he ventured into. He started as a commodity trader, he made success of it, he entered into sugar refining, and he made success of it. He set up cement manufacturing; he has made a huge success of it. Now he is venturing into petroleum product refining. His hard work has set him apart to the envy of his detractors who only see him as a beneficiary of government waiver and concession.
He has invested in the various sectors of the Nigerian economy and across the African continent thus creating millions of direct and indirect jobs in the continent of Africa. He has become a business colossus that bestrides the global business environment, making him the richest African today.
The Dangote Group is a Nigerian multinational industrial conglomerate, founded by Aliko Dangote. It is the largest conglomerate in West Africa and one of the largest on the African continent. The company was founded in 1981 as a trading enterprise, importing sugar, cement, rice, fisheries and other consumer goods for distribution in the Nigeria market. The group moved into manufacturing in the 1990s, now owns and operates over 18 subsidiaries, Dangote Cement, the largest cement production company in Africa, with the highest market capitalisation on the Nigeria Stock Exchange (NSE), Dangote Sugar is another major subsidiary of Dangote, Dangote Flour Mills, NASCON Allied Industries, Dangote Refinery, among others.