By Boma Benjy – Iwuoha
Aliko Dangote has remained consistent in mobilizing private capital in the fight against COVID19 in Nigeria in particular and across Africa. The Nigerian billionaire businessman and Africa’s richest man Aliko Dangote, President and Chief Executive Officer of Dangote Group, in early March 2020 pledged the sum of N200million to support the effort of the Nigerian government towards curbing the spread of Corona Virus or Covid-19 after the country recorded its first index case.
Later in March, the Central Bank of Nigeria and the private sector, led by Aliko Dangote Foundation a philanthropic endeavour of Aliko Dangote, and Access Bank, set up a coalition aimed at raising N120bn towards the fight against COVID-19 in Nigeria. The Nigerian Private Sector Coalition Against COVID-19 – CACOVID, which was created to aid the country’s efforts towards combating the COVID-19 pandemic.
Since then, through the Aliko Dangote Foundation, he has made several donations towards the cause, including, the donation of ambulances to the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control, and N1.5 billion ($3.8 million) to the ‘Nigeria/United Nations COVID-19 Basket Fund’ to boost the fight against the coronavirus disease.
Most recently, the Aliko Dangote Foundation – ADF, contracted 54Gene, a molecular diagnostics company specialized in the research, and diagnostics, to set up a 400 test/day capacity laboratory in Kano State. 54Gene has accredited by the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) and has already set up labs in Lagos and Ogun States.
The laboratories which was inaugurated on May 3rd in Kano will start with a testing capacity of 400 tests a day, increasing to 1,000 tests a day by May 10th.
The lab will be set up at Muhammadu Buhari Hospital in Kano, where an isolation Centre is currently operational.
The President/Chief Executive of Dangote Group, Aliko Dangote in his address, said the Foundation is directly supporting the Nigerian government’s COVID-19 containment efforts in Kano State. According to Dangote, this new investment in support of increasing nation-wide testing comes in addition to ADF’s support through the Private Sector Coalition Against COVID-19 (CACOVID).
Dangote continues to show leadership and inspire other business leaders to not give one-off support, but continually stand to help with critical moments of national crises, giving hope in moments of hopelessness.