– Alhaji Aliko Dangote, The Philanthropist –
Self-made Nigerian business magnate, Alhaji Aliko Dangote, is well renowned as Africa’s richest man. He’s been ranked by Forbes Magazine as the 43rd richest person in the world because of his immense success as head of the Dangote Group, a conglomerate specializing in cement manufacturing, sugar refinery, food processing, and freight. The Dangote Group has operations in South Africa, Zambia, Benin, Cameroon, Togo, Ghana and of course Nigeria, making it the largest conglomerate in all of West Africa.
Born in Kano State to parents Mohammed Dangote and Mariya Sanusi Dantata, Dangote has decided it is time to give back to the northern Nigeria state in a big way via his company’s philanthropic arm, the Dangote Foundation. On the 2nd of this month, he announced at a ground breaking ceremony his intentions to build a 1000 bed state-of-the-art hospital named after his mother. The Mariya Sanusi Dantata Ultramodern Theatre Complex wing will be annexed to the Murtala Muhammad Specialist Hospital. According to the foundation’s official statement, the project is estimated to cost 2 billion naira (the equivalent of $12.4 million dollars) and is said to consist of 10 operating rooms, 3 intensive care units, patients’ wards, and administrative rooms for doctors and nurses.
“It is not just about creating a modern medical facility in this great city of ours. It is about our commitment to systematically improving the health and well-being which is one of our areas of focus. We believe that every Nigerian has a right to quality healthcare. We also believe that it is our collective duty to rally our resources to improve health infrastructure, support the development of health care professionals and improve preventive health measures in Nigeria,” Dangote said.
Dangote goes on further to explain that one of his primary motivations for building the facility is to put an end to expensive foreign health tourism trips. Like the seasoned businessman that he is, he saw a gaping hole in the healthcare sector and came up with a solution that serves both a business initiative and a charitable one. No one can deny that a fully functional well-equipped hospital is a much needed necessity in a country like Nigeria, and what better way to kill two birds than with one stone.
Over the past ten years Dangote has given out over $100 million dollars to education, health, and social causes. The Dangote Micro-grants Programme, a micro-loan lending program, targets and seeks to empower impoverished women and children across the Nigeria’s 700 plus local governments. “Our Programme provides a one-off grant that enables recipients to grow or start an enterprise, invest in product assets, improve the health of their families, and/or take on new activities that reduce their vulnerability and enhance their economic standing. It has successfully assisted women and their families in Kano and Jigawa states.”
Where there is a need Dangote lends a hand. In November of last year, he gave an estimated $16 million dollars to flood relief efforts in Nigeria after the natural disaster killed approximately 400 people. He has also donated untold sums to several Nigerian universities, victims of munitions blasts in Congo, persons displaced by Nigeria’s recent elections, and to low-cost housing for Nigeria’s urban poor.
Here from the man himself and why he has decided to increase his philanthropic efforts.
“To whom much is given, much is expected”