By Daniel Anazia and Margaret Mwantok
Following the endowment to the tune of $1.25 billion by the founder/President of Dangote Group, Alhaji Aliko Dangote, the Dangote Foundation has unveiled a new name and logo, and it is now called Aliko Dangote Foundation.
The foundation, which previously focused on projects such as construction of boreholes and Kano feeding programme, has defined to a new strategic focus, which includes health, education, economic empowerment and disaster relief.
Speaking at the unveiling, which held at the Foundation office in Victoria Island Lagos, the MD/CEO of the Foundation, Ms. Zouera Youssoufou said the $1.25billion endowment, which is for the period of 10 years has made the foundation the biggest in the sub-Saharan Africa.
According to her, the foundation, which largely depended on funds from Dangote group — Dangote Cement, Dangote Sugar, and corporate social responsibility initiatives from the group as well as the founder’s goodwill at a time, will now run its operation independently.
“The actual change happened in 2014; we went from an organisation that is sometimes funded by cement, sugar and CSR projects from the group and sometimes the one Aliko do by himself.”
“To move away from companies within the group to fund the operation of the foundation, we wanted to really focus on the project Aliko wants to do that actually separate his philanthropy from these organisations’ CSR.
Youssoufou explained that in 2014, Alhaji Aliko Dangote endowed the Foundation with the equivalent of $1.25billion, making the Foundation the largest private foundation in sub-Saharan Africa.
She further explained that the focus on health is to minimize disease burden through improved access to quality healthcare and nutrition with a particular emphasis on children, while the focus on education is to improve access to quality education for talented young people to achieve their potential.
On economic empowerment, the foundation will support the poor and enterprising talents to increase their income generation capacities, while the disaster relief is defined to be responsive to people affected by disasters by helping them get back on their feet.
Commenting on the difference between Dangote Cement CSR focus and Aliko Dangote Foundation, Youssoufou said “all projects of Dangote Cement CSR are located in communities in which they have factories, and such CSR initiative include community relations, health, education, employment, infrastructure, water, electricity, roads and buildings (schools, hospitals).
“Aliko Dangote Foundation projects and funds are allocated based on need such as health (including nutrition), education, empowerment, humanitarian crisis and disaster relief,” she stated.
According to Youssoufou, going forward, Aliko Dangote Foundation is designed to function like the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and other endowed foundation across the world. She noted that the Foundation, from inception, had used the Dangote Group logo and colour.