Gates, Dangote team up against malnutrition in Nigeria

Abuja – Africa’s richest man Aliko Dangote and tech billionaire Bill Gates yesterday announced plans for a $100-million scheme to cut malnutrition in the continent’s most populous nation, Nigeria.

Dangote said the partnership between his Dangote Foundation and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation would address the problem, which affects some 11 million children in northern Nigeria.

The announcement was made in Abuja, a day after both men signed a deal to ramp up immunisation programmes in the northern states of Kaduna, Sokoto and Kano, where Dangote is from.

US philanthropist Gates, who also met President Muhammadu Buhari, told reporters Nigeria’s key resource was its young population. Some 44 percent of the 170 million population are aged under 14.

The Microsoft founder said their prospects would be “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. – AP


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