dangote cartonBy UCHE CHRIS

Alhaji Aliko Dangote, chairman, Dangote Industries Limited, and Dangote Foundation, is a good advertisement – a poster boy – for wealth and riches; and his recent ranking as the sixth Most kind-hearted Man in the world is clear proof of this. He is evidence that it is good to have    wealth, and being wealthy is a social responsibility. Generally, individuals make money but it should be for the benefit of society, not just for them. Wealth is for society.

In most societies, wealthy people are hardly well spoken of; indeed, are hated by the people. Not that it is bad to be wealthy; rather it is due to the way they flaunt their wealth and rob it on the noses of the people. They are not only stingy, unnecessarily ostentatious and flagrantly flamboyant, and oppressive; but also insensitive to the needy and poor, and the demands of society. Most of them forget the admonition of the wealthiest and wisest man that ever lived, Solomon, that ‘when wealth increases, so also increase those that eat from it…’

In the history of Nigeria, and indeed, Africa, no man has affected the lives of people as Dangote. He is not the first man to be rich – there were people like late Chief MKO Abiola, who also made their mark as well as Mo Ibrahim, who is also setting the benchmark for Africa leadership and governance with his annual award and other philanthropic gestures. Neither is it about the size of the wealth.

But all others before him fizzle in significance against him, whose bright light shines across the continent and its peoples giving a glimmer of hope in diverse and immeasurable ways. His philanthropy is simply about the heart; a heart set on the love for humanity. He did not start giving when he became the richest man in Nigeria and Africa, and the 25th in the world worth $20.5 billion in June 2013. He started helping even before most people knew about his wealth.

It is traditional for most socially and spiritually wealthy people to give and help others especially the less privileged. Again, Solomon advised: “There is he that scatters and increases the more; but there is also he that hoards more than is necessary and tends to poverty.” Giving comes from understanding the purpose of wealth, and the end of life that makes the difference.

Many do not understand what makes America great. It is not the resources of the country; neither is it their size. Both they have and it works for them. The secret of its greatness, it has been established, is the attitude of hits wealthy people to their society. It is the belief that America has given opportunity, and to America we should give back the profit. It is the logic behind the American Dream.

The man who embodied this culture, and in fact set forth the philosophy behind philanthropy was the steel billionaire, Andrew Carnegie. He said that any wealthy person who dies wealthy is a fool. He gave out hundreds of millions in his life time and established the Carnegie Centre, Institute and Opera House all in New York, which still impact the world over 100 years after him.

Almost all America’s wealthy people left their wealth for worthy causes: Rockefeller, Ford, Vandervelt and most of the universities were products of their endowments. It is that spirit that drives efforts like the Bill Gates Foundation which gives out billions of dollars annually.

So Dangote is in the best company of the greatest men in the world pursuing the noblest of causes for humanity. One can give back to society in many ways such as business by providing jobs and livelihood for people; health care and disaster relief interventions; poverty alleviation programmes, educational grants and scholarships etc. All these Dangote has done and even more.

Once ranked the 25 the richest man in the world with a net worth of $20.5 billion the down turn in the economy has seen it depreciate to $14.1 billion as at March 2018 and still the richest man in Africa for the seventh year according to Forbes magazine. A major vehicle he has used for philanthropy and social investment is the Dangote Foundation.

Through the Aliko Dangote Foundation (DF), he has helped to combat malnutrition and disease in children. The Foundation in the past few years expended over N10 billion in social intervention programmes such as youth empowerment, resettlement schemes for IDPs, and other disaster victims etc.

“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..,” Dangote said in 2014.

In 2018, his vision changed from taking humanitarian work serious to become the biggest philanthropist in Nigeria and Africa as a whole.

“I do not only want to be known as Africa’s richest man but the biggest philanthropist. I will continue to use my resources and my voice to help shape a better Nigeria, and Africa as a whole,” the businessman said when he flagged off one-off and unconditional micro-grants programme in Niger State, last month.

At the event, the Aliko Dangote Foundation announced that it has disbursed a total of N2.5 billion to 256,500 women across Kano, Lagos, Jigawa, Kogi, Adamawa, Borno and Yobe states.

The Dangote Foundation has worn a new look, giving its entire empowerment initiatives a global look, as it signal a shift towards helping Africans and the world.

The Foundation changed its name to Aliko Dangote Foundation with a new brand logo. The Dangote Foundation which was set up in 1994 is the Corporate Social Responsibility arm of Dangote Group with a vision to see a world where all people have access to a better life.

The Foundation is also an established institution supporting social and economic change through investments and interventions that improve the lives of the less fortunate.

In 2014, Aliko Dangote endowed the Foundation with the equivalent of $1.25 billion, making Dangote Foundation the largest private Foundation in sub-Saharan Africa.

The Foundation defines its strategic focus areas, in Health it tends to minimize disease burden through improved access to quality healthcare and nutrition with a particular emphasis on children. Under Education, the Foundation seeks to improved access to quality education for talented young people to achieve their potential, for Economic Empowerment, to support the poor and enterprising to sustainably increase their income generation capacities, while under Disaster Relief, the Foundation also responsive to people affected by disasters in helping them get back on their feet.

The Foundation is proud to launch a new logo and name, which is aimed at making an Africa whose people are healthier, better educated and empowered. It also illustrates a shift towards Africans helping Africans and sometimes Africans helping the world.

Speaking at the presentation on the new logo and name of Dangote Foundation, the managing director/ chief executive officer of Aliko Dangote Foundation, Ms. Zouera Youssoufou said it is really important that the Foundation get away from the Groups Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), saying that “it is important for us to have a new identity and to build the new awareness.”

She said that “the Foundation is built upon purpose in Africa taking care of Africa through its ability to scale up proven solutions and influence people to adopt smart and relevant interventions,” saying that “we are setting Africans up for success through care, education and employment initiatives.”

Youssoufou said the brand colours on the new logo reflects bold and vibrant, saying that the yellow colour represent optimistic, nourishing, hospitability, comforting, enlightening and illuminating.

The red stands for energetic, dynamic, powerful, courageous, assertive, spontaneous and motivating; blue stand for credible, authoritative, conservative, professional and reliable, while green represents natural, fertile, healthy, frensh, renewal and reassuring, while strength, vision, and dynamism.

The project director of Aliko Dangote Foundation, Zakari Momodu added that the new name and logo is to unlock a global financial commitment, saying the idea is to send a strong Africa message not just Aliko Dangote message, not a Nigeria message but to say that Africa is no longer the basket case of the world, saying that the logo is not for only for Nigeria, it is for global audience.

According to him, the foundation focus will be 70 per cent on Nigeria, 20 per cent on Africa and 10 per cent on the rest of the world.

On the old and the new logo and name, Momodu said “the brand recognition and the philosophy we are moving from what was essentially a small to medium size organisation that was close tied to the business side of Aliko Dangote to now a more global focus Afrocentric, personalised institution.”

Youssoufou noted that the CSR or CSI activities of Dangote Cement Plc is to improve the communities in which they operate, focusing on all projects located in communities in which they have factories, while Dangote Foundation focus projects and funds are allocated based on need.

According to her, the projects are health including nutrition, education, humanitarian crisis and disaster relief. The Foundation has its own identity inspired by its founder.

Speaking on the Foundation economic empowerment, the MD/CEO of Aliko Dangote Foundation said “we have two programme in the economic empowerment initiatives, we have the micro grant, a kind of credit that we put together with Bank of Industry (BoI), where we do a joint programme for micro, small and medium enterprises with zero per cent interest rate.”

She added that, the Foundation also designed a multi-billion naira micro-grants programme to assist the vulnerable women across the 774 local governments in Nigeria conjunction with the state governments.

It is expected that at the end of the exercise, a sum of N10 billion would have been injected to revive the economy of some one million women. Already, the grant has been disbursed in seven states including Federal Capital Territory, Abuja.

Explaining the rationale behind the Foundation’s decision to help women with the grants to do petty business, she said the Foundation believes that empowering women to be key change agents is an essential element to achieving the end of hunger and poverty.

She explained that “when we started in 2012, it was manually done but now we do it in a much technological way, we have data capture device designed by one of the indigenous young IT Firm, they help us capture and collect the data of the beneficiaries, we know who they are, we have their pictures, finger print and the money will be sent to them electronically through banks or mobile money.

Momodu also explained that in addition to the grant given to the beneficiaries, we also provide them with mobile phones.

In conclusion, Momodu said that “Aliko Dangote recognise he will not be here forever but he want the Foundation and its benefit to society to outlive him.”

He added that “this is why he started the endowment rather than the initial annual donation”, saying that “we will be hitting the one million per annual maybe in due course, if the endowment is managed properly, if the demand validate it then so be it. Year-on-year, there will be slight variation depending on demand.”

President of Dangote Group, Alhaji Aliko Dangote has endowed its 24 year-old Foundation with $1.2 billion. Founded in 1994, the foundation supports initiatives in a variety of areas, including education, health, and youth empowerment.

Investment

The businessman spends his money investing in Africa soil and around the world. He owns 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.

He also spends on investments in real estate, banking, transport, textiles, oil, and gas. His 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.

“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 US$5 billion today, I will invest everything here in Nigeria. Let us put our heads together and work,” one of Dangote’s popular quotes read.

Continental investment

He has investments in Benin, Tanizania, Cameroon, Ghana, South Africa, Ethiopia and Zambia. In 2017, he said he is investing $20bn and $50bn in the United States and Europe by 2025 in renewable energy and petrochemicals by partnering with companies in US, Europe and if possible Asia and Mexico.

Dangote is also eyeing the English football team Arsenal.

Political lobbying

The only public political spending made by Kano State-born businessman, Alhaji Aliko Dangote was in 1999 during the PDP Presidential Fundraising Dinner held at the Nicon-Noga Hilton Hotel, Abuja, for the election of Chief Olusegun Obasanjo. It was said he donated N400 million to both candidates in the election. Since then he is known to donate generously to then leading candidates in every election.

Luxury items

Apart from businesses and investments across Africa, the richest man also use his money on some luxury items. According to All Africa, Dangote acquired a private jet in 2010 which costs estimated to cost $45 million and has a $43-million yacht.

Family

On Saturday, March 24, 2018, Dangote held a lavish wedding reception for his beautiful daughter, Fatimah and her husband, Jamil Abubakar. The wedding reception held inside the Conference Centre of the Eko Hotel and Suites.

His daughter’s wedding was the talk of the town in March and have in attendance of one of the world’s billionaires, Bill Gates.

 

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