Two of the world’s billionaires and leading investors, Alhaji Aliko Dangote and Bill Gates, are teaming up to boost healthcare in Nigeria. This was announced during the recent visit of the American billionaire to Nigeria.
The influential business leaders met with the newly elected President of Nigeria on Monday, June 19, in a closed-door meeting at the Aso Rock Presidential Villa, Abuja.
Gates was part of the delegation of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation who met national and regional leaders in the West African nation to promote the urgent need for investments and policies that will support and advance innovations and equitable opportunities to accelerate development on the continent.
The President of Nigeria, Bola Ahmed Tinubu, commended the American billionaire for his commitment and courage in working for humanity, and Aliko Dangote, for his new partnership with the foundation. He also reiterated his administration’s commitment to transforming Nigeria and pledged to offer any required assistance to make the effort of the partnership in Nigeria and Africa successful.
The President also lauded Bill Gates for his efforts in climate change, as well as the eradication of polio, measles, malaria, and other diseases in Africa; while reminding the philanthropist that the Western world needs to do more concerning the plight of developing nations.
Although the details and programs of the partnership were not made known to the public, Aliko Dangote, while responding to questions from State House Correspondents after the meeting, said, the visit was to brief the President on the programs of the Aliko Dangote Foundation and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. He also expressed the willingness of the two Foundations to cooperate more with the government of Nigeria in achieving the administration’s goals.
Part of the agenda for Bill Gates’s visit was to also participate in a youth program dubbed “Advancing Africa: Unleashing the Power of Youth in Science and Innovation.” The developmental program, held in Lagos, offered the opportunity to discuss with students and young leaders to gather insights and share perspectives on how science and innovation can accelerate positive change and contribute to a brighter outlook for Africa.
Speaking at the Lagos event, Bill Gates admonished the new administration in Nigeria to prioritize healthcare services, further stating that the issues he raised five years ago when he visited Nigeria – healthcare, security, and economic stability still remain serious issues. He also added that smart and promising individuals abound in Nigeria, but it might be difficult for them to realize their potential without the most fundamental necessities of life.
“The last time I visited Nigeria in 2018, I spoke to government leaders about your country’s potential for growth. This time, I wanted to speak also with you – Nigeria’s next generation of innovators.”
“It may not surprise you that Nigeria’s state and federal governments only spend the equivalent of $10 on health per person each year, compared to $31 in sub-Saharan Africa as a whole. Leaders need to make a much bigger financial commitment, focused most of all on improving primary health systems,” the billionaire remarked.
“Making sure clinics are well-staffed and supplied, making sure children get the vaccines they need, all of this is absolutely essential to improving health and opportunity and unlocking all of Nigeria’s potential,” he added.