Microsoft Founder Bill Gates, has lauded Nigerian businessman Aliko Dangote for his ‘generous contribution to global health’.
The former richest man in the world made the statement while speaking ahead of the release of the 2018 Bill and Melinda Gates Annual Letter to a group of journalists from different African countries in a telephone conference, Gates said he is amazed by Dangote’s generosity with his resources and time, The Nation writes.
“I am always amazed how generous he has been both with his resources and his time,” he said.
“Just last month, he and I spent six hours on video conferences with six of the northern states where we, twice a year, check in with them and look at their primary healthcare quality in terms of the staff, the location, the supply chain and the results they are getting in terms of vaccination and other interventions.”
Asked what he would say to convince billionaires in Nigeria to consider the commonwealth in their country instead of acquiring wealth and stashing it offshore, Gates said:
“In the entire world, Mr. Dangote has been a very key partner (of the Gates Foundation in funding global health). And the big challenge of improving the primary healthcare, particularly in the North, I know we would not have a chance of doing that without him.
“I have had a chance to meet with other Nigerians but, in fact, he is the only one who I am personally aware of his significant activities that is working in this key sector.
“There may be other people working in sectors like education or other environments that we don’t work in.
“Whenever I travel, I try to sit down with successful people and encourage them that philanthropy can be a great thing.
“I was looking over the Nigeria purported list of wealthy people and it was interesting that a number of those seem to be based in London.
“But I am always interested in suggestions about how we draw more people in. We need lots and lots of partners, particularly if they understand the local issues and how the government works locally.
“They have credibility and understanding that we don’t have. And so we would love to have more partnerships like we have with Mr. Dangote.
“The companies we work with have a presence in Africa and there are certainly smaller organisations, profit and non-profit like eHealth in Nigeria, or some of the scientific companies in South Africa.
“One of the two philanthropists that we work with is Patrice Motsepe in South Africa. Aliko Dangote who has been an incredible partner in Nigeria works with us on things like nutrition and the primary healthcare sector.”
Gates, co-Chair of the Gates Foundation, was in Kano on Friday to attend the wedding of Dangote’s daughter, Fatimah and Jamil Abubakar, son of former Inspector-General of police, Mohammed Dahiru Abubakar.