Aliko Dangote: Founder of Aliko Dangote Foundation

Alhaji Aliko Dangote operates the largest private philanthropic foundation in sub Saharan Africa, having the largest endowment by a single African donor. Organized as Aliko Dangote Foundation (ADF) in 1994, he is on a mission to enhance opportunities for social change through strategic investments.

The activities of the foundation are quite diverse, covering various aspects of lives and living conditions in society locally and internationally. There is a primary focus on child nutrition with wraparound interventions centered on health, education and empowerment as well as disaster relief. ADF also supports stand-alone projects with the potential for significant social impacts.

The foundation works with state and federal governments and many highly reputable international and domestic charities, non-governmental organizations and international agencies to advance its humanitarian course. Its biggest collaboration to date happened in 2013 when ADF entered into a partnership with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation for polio eradication in northern Nigeria and to strengthen routine immunization in the region.

Health is one of the key segments of ADF’s operations under which the foundation has strengthened primary healthcare and routine immunization across northern Nigeria towards the eradication of polio. Total spending on the projects under the partnership of ADF and Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is in excess of $10 million, according to ADF.

ADF has built primary healthcare centers in seven local government areas in Kano State and two local government areas in Yobe State at a total cost of N127 million. This is to complement what the governments are able to do in providing access to quality healthcare services at the grassroots. Provision of water and sanitation is an integral part of ADF’s polio eradication and other health initiatives. The foundation has constructed more than 220 boreholes in 220 rural communities across northern Nigeria.

The foundation has spent N7 billion in its various intervention projects at Murtala Mohammed Specialist Hospital, Kano – the largest government owned hospital in northern Nigeria with over 1.5 million patient visits and counting annually. The intervention projects include three new specialist units, covering maternity wards, accident/emergency and surgery and diagnostics. It also includes improvement of water supply, drainage and electricity.

Supply and installation of critical equipment, tools, fittings and consumables for the operations of the new units as well as capacity development within the affected departments and units on the use of the elements are also part of ADF’s intervention projects. Pending the completion of the main works, the foundation renovated maternity wards, and provided medical equipment and aids, blood bank and a laboratory, boreholes and medical supplies.

Improvement in nutrition is another major area of ADF’s intervention in response to Nigeria’s high rate of malnutrition that is blamed for slow progress towards improving child health and survival. Nutrition has become a core focus of ADF in recognition that it is a cross-cutting issue affecting other critical development goals. Mr. Zouera Youssoufou, managing director/CEO, ADF said “by investing in nutrition, we aim to directly improve the lives of Nigerian families and to empower our citizens to reach their full potential”.

In partnership with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, ADF launched a community-based nutrition programme in 2016. It uses proven interventions linked to behaviour change, fortification of staple foods with essential micronutrients, community management of acute malnutrition as well as local production of ready-to-use therapeutic and nutritional foods.

A new flagship programme for ADF came on stream in 2017 when Dangote announced a $100 million ADF Integrated Nutrition programme at the UN Global Nutrition Summit. With the investment, ADF has promoted nutritional interventions such as breast feeding, healthy sanitation practices, disease prevention, food fortification and supplementation. These activities have gone a long way to complement other programmes of the foundation in education, empowerment, food security, water, sanitation and healthcare. The target of the programme, according to Dangote, is to reach one million malnourished children in Nigeria by 2021.

Other activities of the foundation in the area of nutrition include a N1.2 billion annual spending on daily feeding of people in Kano, collaboration with international agencies to spur investments that generate nutritional benefit for children and $100,000 spending on malaria control and elimination effort under End Malaria Council – which Dangote is one of the nine founding members.

In partnership with Global Business Coalition for Health, ADF built the African-led coalition of companies and philanthropists on Health in 2017 with a target spending of $1.5 million. The coalition seeks to improve the health and wellbeing of Africans within the workplace and the broader communities through impactful health programmes across Africa. The foundation also provided a $500,000 funding for a pilot test of Seasonal Malaria Chemoprevention undertaken by Clinton Health Access Initiative in select local government areas in northern Nigeria.

Education is another key aspect of ADF’s operations where it has carried out extensive infrastructure developments in a number of universities and other institutions of higher learning. Top on the list of key development projects include a N1.2 billion Dangote Business School in Bayero University Kano, construction of N880 million dormitories in Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria and a N500 electric power supply project in Kano University of Science and Technology.

In the area of economic empowerment, ADF operates a N10 billion micro-grant programme designed to provide a N10,000 one-off grant to at least 1,000 vulnerable women and in some cases, youth in each of the 774 local government areas across Nigeria. The records from the foundation show that N3.34 billion has been disbursed so far across nine states with Kano leading with the sum of N880 million disbursed to 88,000 women, followed by N540 million to 54,000 women and youth in Borno State and N400 million disbursed to 40,000 women in Lagos State.

ADF has a N10 billion joint micro, small and medium enterprises fund with Bank of Industry with a N5 billion initial provision to create one million direct jobs. The fund is available for lending to groups/business owners in the informal sector of the economy across Nigeria’s six geo-political zones. It serves as take off fund and working capital to support small businesses. The first phase of the project is expected to impact directly on up to 13,000 business groups. Each group is expected to have an average of 20 entrepreneurs, thus impacting the lives of up to 250,000 micro-entrepreneurs through job creation.

Disaster relief is another major aspect of ADF’s operations, which is its vehicle for fighting poverty, homelessness and loss of economic opportunities caused by any forms of disasters. It provided relief for victims of Kano market fire disaster in 2017 and Ile-Ife communal clash in the same year.  The foundation has spent over N7 billion in feeding, clothing and general welfare of internally displaced persons in the northeast of Nigeria in the past seven years.

It has built 200 housing units for internally displaced persons in Maiduguri, Borno State. It is providing a cash grant of N100,000 each to the beneficiaries of the housing units and has undertaken to foot the running cost of the school set up in the housing estate for the next five years. ADF is also committed to working with the Borno State government in reconstruction of schools across the state. Its hands are also on deck to the tune of N2 billion in-kind for the second phase of reconstruction of key infrastructures within the state. 

ADF made a quick response to the Ebola outbreak in West Africa in 2014 with a total spending programme of N906 million. This covered funding support for the establishment of the National Ebola Emergency Operations Centre in Yaba, Lagos, 12 units of thermal cameras mounted across Nigeria’s international airports and training of health officials on the use of the cameras. The foundation also provided WHO-certified PPEs against Ebola, $3 million donation to support African Union’s intervention against Ebola in West Africa and logistics support for the returnee volunteers on Ebola intervention. 

Special grants/programmes are yet another major arm of ADF’s operations. Activities here include a N100 million funding support for Federation of Muslim Women’s Mosque Project and  a N19 million support for Central Mosque & Islamic School Projects for Nigerian Army 65 Battalion, Bonny Cantonment.

ADF also carries a big intervention portfolio on the international scene. Activities here include $750,000 Children of Africa Foundation in Cote d’Iviore, $25,000 Grand Heart Foundation in Chad, $250,000 ONE Campaign and WEF Young Global Leaders involving CHF 390,000 annually.

Others include Global Business Coalition for Education, $500,000 emergency response to meningitis outbreak in Niger Republic and $575,000 mobile clinics in Kenya. The rest are $1 million emergency response to victims of earthquake in Nepal and Global Business Coalition for Education of $60,000 annually.