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Dangote named among world’s greatest leaders - BUSINESSDAY

MAY 21, 2019

…Gates, Bono, other global leaders extol his public spirit 


Foremost philanthropist and Africa’s richest man, Aliko Dangote, has been rated 11th of the 50 World’s Greatest leaders for 2019.

The rating carried out by the Fortune Magazine, an American multinational business magazine headquartered in New York City, United States, was released recently and focused mainly on the businesses run by the men and how they have used it to impact their society positively.

The time-tested magazine, which first edition was published in February 1930, said the world’s greatest leaders both men and women are transforming the world and inspiring others to do so in business, government, philanthropy and the arts.

“These thinkers, speakers, and doers make bold choices and take big risks – and move others to do the same,” the magazine said.

This is the first time Fortune Magazine is recognising and including Aliko Dangote in the annual ranking. Specifically, Dangote, having popped up in the magazine’s radar, earned nomination after being adjudged as having used business to acquire wealth and is now converting his wealth into impactful philanthropy through his Aliko Dangote Foundation.

The top 10 greatest men and women, according to Fortune, are Bill and Melinda Gates, Jacinda Ardem (Prime Minister, New Zealand), Robert Mueller (special counsel, Department of Justice), Pony Ma (founder and CEO, Tencent), Satya Nadella (CEO, Microsoft), Greta Thunberg (student and climate activist, Sweden), Margrethe Vestager (commissioner for competition, European Union), Anna Nimiriano (editor-in-chief, Juba Monitor), Jose Andres (chef/founder, World Central Kitchen), and Doug Mcmillon and Lisa Woods (CEO; senior director, Strategy & Design for U.S. Benefits, Walmart).

The ranking of Dangote as one of the greatest business leaders has attracted comments by eminent persons around the world, who described him as worthy of the nomination going by his business acumen and philanthropic gestures.

Bill Gate, global business giant and founder of Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, extolled the efforts of Dangote in making businesses play roles in provision of sound public health through his various interventions in health care issues, especially in the fight against malnutrition and routine polio.

“Aliko Dangote, through his leadership at the Aliko Dangote Foundation, is a key partner in the polio eradication effort, strengthening routine immunisation and fighting malnutrition in Nigeria and across Africa,” said Gates, who himself was ranked along with Dangote. “Aliko bridges the gap between private business and public health in a unique way and our shared belief that Nigeria will thrive when every Nigerian is able to thrive drives our partnership.”

Renowned activist and co-founder of ONE, Paul David Hewson, popularly called Mr. Bono, said he was not surprised at Dangote’s feat globally, saying his vision is as big as the African continent.

Bono, a global campaigner on taking action to end extreme poverty especially in Africa, said Dangote “has a vision just the size of his continent, but with humility of somebody who has just started his first job”.

“It’s no surprise to me that Fortune would recognise his leadership because we have seen first-hand, through his service on ONE’s Board, the benefits of his wise counsel and grace,” he said. “Aliko remains understated but very potent and Africa’s most successful and decorated entrepreneur. He is a global financial and managerial behemoth,” said Bismark Rewane, economist and CEO of Lagos-based Financial Derivatives Company.

Dangote as the Africa’s richest – worth $16.4 billion, according to Bloomberg – and the four publicly traded companies under the umbrella of his Dangote Industries now account for about a third of the value of the Nigerian Stock Exchange.

That wealth is based on a big bet on Nigeria’s economic independence: Dangote’s peers give him credit for helping the country become self-sufficient in the sectors in which his companies compete (cement, agriculture and mining).

The Aliko Dangote Foundation (ADF) is the philanthropic endeavour of Aliko Dangote. The main objective of the Foundation is to reduce the number of lives lost to malnutrition and disease. The Foundation is poised to combat Severe Acute Malnutrition (SAM) in children as the core of its programming. It has also resolved to use its investments in health, education, and economic empowerment to help lift people out of poverty.

It would be recalled that Dangote was last year ranked among 75 most powerful persons on the planet, ahead of the Vice President Mike Pence of the United States.

Aliko Dangote has been named among most powerful persons in the world for the past five consecutive years. According to the Forbes 2018 ranking of the World Powerful People, Dangote ranked among world leaders like Chinese President Xi Jinping, Russian President Vladimir Putin, and US President Donald Trump, who were ranked first, second and third, respectively.

He was the only Nigerian on the list and one of the only two Africans who made the list with the other being the Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, who was ranked 45th most powerful. In the same vein, Dangote was named among the 100 most influential personalities in the world in 2018 by Time Magazine. The CNBC had earlier in same year ranked Dangote as one of the 25 people who have had most profound impact on business and finance worldwide.

He was rated the most influential African by Jeune Afrique in its classification of the most influential 50 Africans in 2018, and was also named the 6th most charitable person in the world in the same year, according to Richtopia, a United Kingdom-based digital platform. He is, in addition, the richest African, according to Forbes.

Dangote stepped up his humanitarian activities recently, spending billions of naira to build hospitals and critical hospital equipment, the lack of which has forced Nigerians of means to seek medical attention abroad.

He also donated a N1.2 billion business school complex to Bayero University in Kano and another one for the University of Ibadan. Last month he donated 10 blocks of hall of students’ hostel that can accommodate 2,160 beds to the Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, Kaduna State The business mogul has through the Foundation disbursed N10 billion to vulnerable women across the 774 local governments in the country.

Dangote made a donation of $2 million to the World Food Programme as part of efforts to help Pakistani nationals devastated by floods in the year 2010.

Aliko Dangote was made the chairperson of the Presidential Committee on Flood Relief, which raised in excess of N11.35 billion, of which he contributed N2.5 billion, an amount higher than the entire contribution from the 36 state governors in Nigeria.

So far, the Foundation has spent over N7 billion in the troubled northeastern part of Nigeria to see that the Internally Displaced Persons as a result of the activities of insurgents are re-integrated back to the bigger society.

SEGUN ADAMS


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