Philanthropist and richest man in Africa, Nigeria's Aliko Dangote, has been ranked 11th out of the 50 World's Greatest leaders for 2019. The ranking carried out by Fortune magazine, 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 declared.
This is the first time Fortune is recognising and including Aliko Dangote in the annual ranking. Specifically, Dangote popped up on the magazine’s radar after being adjudged as having used business to acquire wealth and who 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, US 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 Dough Mcmillon and Lisa Woods, CEO and senior director, Strategy & Design for US Benefits, Walmart.
Bill Gates, who himself was ranked along with Dangote, said, “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. 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, also known as Bono, said he was not surprised at Dangote’s feat globally, saying his vision is as big as the African continent.
Dangote is Africa’s richest man, worth $16.4 billion according to Bloomberg, with four publicly traded companies under the umbrella of his Dangote Industries which now account for about a third of the value of the Nigerian stock exchange.
The Aliko Dangote Foundation (ADF) is his philanthropic endeavour. 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.
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 Business School. Last month he donated 10 blocks of students’ hostel halls that can accommodate 2,160 beds, to the Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, Kaduna state.
The Foundation has disbursed N10 billion to vulnerable women across the 774 local governments in the country. Dangote was made the chairperson of the Presidential Committee on Flood Relief, which raised in excess of N11.35 billion, of which Dangote himself contributed N2.5 billion. The Foundation has also spent over N7 billion in the troubled North Eastern part of Nigeria to enable internally displaced persons, as a result of the activities of insurgents, are re-integrated back to the bigger society.
Aliko Dangote has been named among most powerful persons in the world for the past five consecutive years. He was the only Nigerian on the list and one of only two Africans who made the list, with the other being the Egyptian President, Abdel Fattah el-Sisi. In the same vein, he was named among the 100 most influential personalities in the world in 2018 by Time magazine. CNBC had earlier in same year ranked Dangote as one of the 25 people which have had most profound impact on business and finance worldwide.
He was rated the most influential African by Jeune Afrique in their 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.
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