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Aliko Dangote: Giving for the love of humanity

Aliko Dangote. Photo credit: Google

Again, the President of Dangote Group of Companies, Aliko Dangote, has been recognized for his love for humanity- desire to promote the welfare of others, expressed especially by the generous donation of money to good causes.Through unprecedented donations in Nigeria and in Africa in general, the businessman has been helping victims of natural disasters, building schools and hospitals, and supporting initiatives to eradicate poverty and debilitating diseases such as polio.

His guiding mantra is “to whom much is given, much is required.” Such personal conviction has led him to donate US $185 million in two years to various charitable causes, becoming the largest allocation of charitable funds by an individual or company in Africa.And Dangote plans to do more: “I am going to try my best and give part of that money to charity. I am working hard on it… I think from this year, I personally want to take it (philanthropy) very seriously. I want to be much more aggressive than what we have had in the past.”

Alhaji Aliko Dangote, Africa’s wealthiest man is cementing his position as Africa’s most generous philanthropist. With a fully integrated conglomerate—that has operations in 15 African countries—enjoying an annual turnover of over US $3 billion, and with a personal fortune approximated at US $11.2 billion, Dangote has decided to address the suffering of the people of his homeland of Nigeria, Africa, and the world.

Aliko Dangote (GCON), born 10 April 1957, is a Nigerian business magnate, investor, and owner of the Dangote Group, which has interests in commodities in Nigeria and other African countries. As of March 2018, he had an estimated net worth of US$14.1 billion.

Dangote is ranked by Forbes magazine as the 100th-richest person in the world and the richest in Africa, and peaked on the list as the 23rd-richest person in the world in 2014. He surpassed Saudi-Ethiopian billionaire Mohammed Hussein Al Amoudi in 2013 by over $2.6 billion to become the world’s richest person of African descent.

Aliko Dangote, was on Wednesday October 24, 2018, recognised and highlighted by Richtopia, a digital periodical that covers business, economics and financial news, based in the United Kingdom (UK), as the richest man in Africa.He was also named the sixth most charitable man in the world. Dangote recently endowed his foundation to the tune of $1.25 billion.

Warren Buffett, Bill Gates and J.K. Rowlings occupied the first three positions while Oprah Winfrey and Elon Musk were in the fourth and fifth position respectively.Aside from Dangote, Chairman of United Bank for Africa (UBA), Tony Elumelu, was 11th on the list and these two were the only Nigerians on the list.

One of the highlights of Dangote’s contributions has been working with the world’s most respected philanthropist, Bill Gates, through The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to fund efforts that address polio and malnutrition, two of the greatest threats to children in Africa.

The name Aliko Dangote is synonymous with awards. In November 2011, Dangote was awarded Nigeria’s second-highest honour, the Grand Commander of the Order of the Niger (GCON) by the former President, Goodluck Jonathan. Dangote reportedly added $24.2 billion to his personal wealth in 2013, according to the Bloomberg Index, making him the thirtieth-richest person in the world at the time, in addition to being the richest person in Africa.

In 2014, the Nigerian government said Dangote had donated N150 million (US$750,000) to halt the spread of Ebola. Dangote was named as the Forbes Africa Person of the Year 2014. The other nominees were South Africa’s Public Protector, Thuli Madonsela, Nigerian author, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Director-General of the Securities and Exchange Commission, (SEC), Arunma Oteh, and President of the African Development Bank, Donald Kaberuka.

In 2013, Dangote and six other prominent Nigerians were conferred honorary citizenship of Arkansas State by Governor Mike Beebe who also proclaimed 30 May of every year as Nigeria Day in the U.S. The other prominent Nigerians are: Chief Ms. Temditope Ajayi, the President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Nigerian-American Agricultural Empowerment Programme; Governor Rabiu Kwankwaso of Kano State; Dr. Akinwumi Adesina, Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development; Prof. Tajudeen Gbadamosi, a former lecturer of University of Lagos; Prof. Ade Adefuye, the Nigeria’s Ambassador to the United States; Prof. Julius Okojie, the Executive Secretary of the National Universities Commission.

In 2015, Dangote won the Clinton Global Citizen Award. Aliko Dangote started his Foundation, Aliko Dangote Foundation, in 1981 with a mission to enhance opportunities for social change through strategic investments that improve health and well being, promote quality education and broaden economic empowerment opportunities.

The Foundation was, however, incorporated in 1994 as a charity in Lagos, Nigeria. Twenty years later, it became the largest private Foundation in sub-Saharan Africa with the largest endowment by a single African donor.The primary focus of Aliko Dangote Foundation is health and nutrition, supported by wrap-around interventions in education, empowerment and humanitarian relief.

Among many others, it would be recalled that the foundation gave out a whopping N2.5 billion, the same amount the Federal Government also donated for the purpose of ameliorating the sufferings of the flood victims during President Goodluck Jonathan era.The Foundation, in line with its mandate to provide relief in times of disaster, spread its philanthropic works beyond the shores of Nigeria with a donation of $1 million to the government of the Federal Democratic Republic of Nepal. The gesture was meant to support the government’s efforts in providing relief to the victims of the earthquakes that occurred in the country.

The Foundation also recently came to the aid of victims of the communal clash between Yoruba and Hausa traders and residents in Ile-Ife, Osun State. Dangote had in May 2018 said: “I do not only want to be known as African richest man, but the biggest philanthropist in Africa. I will continue to use my resources to help shape a better Nigeria and Africa as a whole.” He vowed that he would continue to use his resources to help shape a better Nigeria and Africa in general.

The Aliko Dangote Foundation, he said, was established in 1993 with the belief that supporting social and economic change through strategic investments and interventions that improve the lives of the less fortunate is what will make positive difference in the nation. Dangote said that the four major goals of the Foundation are health and nutrition, education, economic empowerment, and disaster relief.

With a net worth of $25 billion, Dangote recently became the first African to be ranked by Forbes among the twenty-five richest people in the world. The foundation, which is headed by Adhiambo Odaga, a Kenyan national who previously served as the Ford Foundation’s chief representative in West Africa, plans to grow its team and reorganize its board in 2014.

While most of his charitable work has been concentrated in Nigeria, the generous tycoon has extended his philanthropic initiatives to the rest of Africa and the world, which he says is his ultimate goal.Inspired by the belief in Africans helping Africa, Dangote also expressed his intent not to limit his charity activities to his home country Nigeria: “We already have a foundation which will do all these things (charities), but I am trying to see what we can do to encourage not only Nigerians but other Africans.”

A statement by Dangote Group disclosed, that the conglomerate has spent N30 billion ($185 million) in two years on philanthropic and humanitarian activities.The group mentioned some of its charity programmes such as the Dangote Academy worth about N1 billion ($6 million), through it aims to develop manpower across various disciplines. The group also revealed that it spent N1 billion on the rehabilitation of some Nigerian universities, as part of its contribution to the educational sector.

Dangote also made the donation of N2.5 billion ($15.4 million), two years ago, to cushion the effect of flooding in Nigeria- the single highest donation by a private body in the history of Nigeria. N430 million ($2.8 million) was also given to flood victims, unemployed youths and women in Kogi State in the same year.

In Benue State Nigeria, the group disclosed that it, among other things, electrified 15 villages at the cost of N115 million. It also donated N100million to victims of Lagos flooding, another N100million to those in Sokoto and N60million to victims of flooding in Oyo State, two years ago.

Recently Dangote group also donated N540 million ($3.3 million) to vulnerable women as a result of insurgency in the North East of Nigeria as well as donating, two months ago, 12 trailer-load of relief items worth N40 million ($246,502) to support the government in bringing succour to victims of communal clash.

Outside of Nigeria, he has also extended his charitable contributions to countries like the Republic of Congo, where he donated US $500,000 to victims of a fuel tanker explosion that killed over 220 people in 2012. He has also given US $740,500 to help the people of Niger deal with the effects of famine while contributing US $2 million to the flood victims in Pakistan. Aliko Dangote, an ethnic Hausa Muslim from Kano, Kano State, was born on the 10th of April 1957 into a wealthy Muslim family. He is the great-grandson of Alhaji Alhassan Dantata, the richest African at the time of his death in 1955.

Dangote has said: “I can remember when I was in primary school, I would go and buy cartons of sweets [candy] and I would start selling them just to make money. I was so interested in business, even at that time.”Dangote was educated at the Sheikh Ali Kumasi Madrasa, followed by Capital High School, Kano. He has a bachelor’s degree in business studies and administration from Al-Azhar University, Cairo.

The Dangote Group was established as a small trading firm in 1977, the same year Dangote relocated to Lagos to expand the company. Today, it is a multi-trillion-naira conglomerate with many of its operations in Benin, Ghana, Nigeria, and Togo. Dangote has expanded to cover food processing, cement manufacturing, and freight. The Dangote Group also dominates the sugar market in Nigeria and is a major supplier to the country’s soft drink companies, breweries, and confectioners. The Dangote Group has moved from being a trading company to be the largest industrial group in Nigeria including Dangote Sugar Refinery, Dangote Cement, and Dangote Flour.

In July 2012, Dangote approached the Nigerian Ports Authorities to lease an abandoned piece of land at the Apapa Port, which was approved. He later built facilities for his flour company there. In the 1990s, he approached the Central Bank of Nigeria with the idea that it would be cheaper for the bank to allow his transport company to manage their fleet of staff buses, a proposal that was also approved.

In Nigeria today, Dangote Group with its dominance in the sugar market and refinery business is the main supplier (70 percent of the market) to the country’s soft drinks companies, breweries and confectioners. It is the largest refinery in Africa and the third largest in the world, producing 800,000 tonnes of sugar annually. Dangote Group owns salt factories and flour mills and is a major importer of rice, fish, pasta, cement, and fertiliser. The company exports cotton, cashew nuts, cocoa, sesame seeds, and ginger to several countries. It also has major investments in real estate, banking, transport, textiles, oil, and gas. The company employs more than 11,000 people and is the largest industrial conglomerate in West Africa.

Dangote has diversified into telecommunications and has started building 14,000 kilometres of fibre optic cables to supply the whole of Nigeria. As a result, Dangote was honoured in January 2009 as the leading provider of employment in the Nigerian construction industry.He has said: “Let me tell you this and I want to really emphasise it … nothing is going to help Nigeria like Nigerians bringing back their money. If you give me $5 billion today, I will invest everything here in Nigeria. Let us put our heads together and work.”

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Aliko DangoteDangote Group
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