Africa’s richest man, Aliko Dangote, and tech billionaire Bill Gates on Thursday announced plans for a $100-million scheme to cut malnutrition in the continent’s most populous nation, Nigeria.
Dangote and Gates announced in Abuja that they hope to help at least five million families by 2020.
Africa’s richest man said his partnership with the Gates Foundation would enable Nigeria find solutions and strategies to the problem of under nourishment in the country.
“The Dangote and Bill and Melinda Gates partnerships now have clear and feasible nutrition strategies and will work collaboratively to address the problem of under nutrition in Nigeria until the year 2020 and beyond. The partnership will commit the sum of 100 million dollars to addressing malnutrition in Nigeria between now and 2020.”
The US philanthropist said Nigeria’s key resource was its young population, adding that 44 percent of the 170 million population is aged under 14.
“For every child who dies, there are four to five children who survived and yet because of malnutrition they never developed physically and mentally and so the key resource of Nigeria which is its young population and the incredible capabilities that can be unleashed from all those people is greatly damaged if we don’t solve malnutrition.”
The new scheme will fund programmes to 2020 and beyond, using local groups in the northwest and northeast, which has for the last seven years been ravaged by Boko Haram’s Islamist insurgency.
Dangote and Gates have previously worked together on polio eradication programmes, which resulted in the country being taken off the global list of endemic countries last year.
Nigeria is Africa’s leading economy and number one oil exporter.