American billionaire and co-founder Microsoft, Bill Gates has identified the similarity in the burning desire of seeking better lives for the fewer privileges in Africa as a major boost in establishing his friendship with Africa’s richest man, Aliko Dangote.
Recalling how he met Dangote in United State, Gates said it was some years back when he and Dangote ended up going to the same event in New York which his mutual friend suggested that he should meet him that he knew we were both super interested in global health, so we made sure to sit next to each other at the dinner.
‘’As soon as we shook hands, it was clear we had a ton in common. We both started successful businesses in the late 1970s,
For our second act in life, we both chose to start foundations aimed at improving health and education. That first meeting sparked the beginning of a fruitful friendship. In 2016, our foundations announced a joint, five-year $100 million commitment to reducing malnutrition in Nigeria. Gates said.
However, malnutrition is the greatest health inequity in the world. In Nigeria, it’s responsible for nearly half of all under 5 deaths and around the world. Even with survival to adulthood, one’s chances of dying are much higher, and quality of life is greatly reduced.
Speaking on how their foundations are working to fight malnutrition in Nigeria, Gates highlighted one of the ways the foundations fight malnutrition is through food fortification.
According to him, kids often become malnourished when they don’t get enough micronutrients—vitamins, and minerals—to digest their food properly. One way to correct this is by adding micronutrients to the food that families—especially those from low-income households—are purchasing every day, he said.
In his words, introducing additional micronutrients to the food people are already eating can improve health without changing any habits. Our foundations are now working together to find other staple foods and condiments that could be used to deliver more micronutrients to more people in Nigeria, like fortified bouillon cubes.
Gates also stressed that Improving health in Nigeria is critical to making progress in sub-Saharan Africa. He said the country is home to nearly a quarter of all people living in sub-Saharan Africa, and that population is only going to grow in the future. By solving problems in Nigeria, a huge impact can be achieved in Africa.
Aliko Dangote understands this, and that is why he is committed to making progress in his home country. Melinda and I are lucky to have him as a partner and friend in improving health. Gates said.
In one of its collaborations to date, Aliko Dangote Foundation started working in partnership with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and key northern State Governments in Nigeria from 2013 to focus on child nutrition and eradicate polio and strengthen routine immunization in Nigeria.
Aliko Dangote Foundation has become the largest private Foundation in sub–Saharan Africa, with the largest endowment by a single African donor. The primary focus of ADF is child nutrition, with wraparound interventions centered on health, education and empowerment, and disaster relief.
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