Aliko Dangote Foundation and GBCHealth Join Forces to Build African Business Coalition for Health

Sep 20, 2017 10:00 AM ET

NEW YORK, September 20, 2017 /3BL Media/ - Aliko Dangote today announced that the Aliko Dangote Foundation and GBCHealth have joined forces to forge a new model of partnership in Africa. Aliko Dangote, the foremost African industrialist and philanthropist, known for his commitments to health and development, shared plans to build an African Business Coalition for Health (ABCHealth), during the Bloomberg Global Business Forum, he was co-hosting, and which took place alongside the United Nations General Assembly this week in New York.  The Forum focused on global leadership, new and innovative partnerships between government and business, and sustained, targeted investment in critical sectors and economies throughout the world in support of social and economic progress. 

Building on the leadership, reputation and convening power of the Aliko Dangote Foundation and the experience, reputation and global reach of GBCHealth, the African-led coalition of companies and philanthropists, will seek to improve the health and wellbeing of Africans, both within the workplace and within the broader communities. The partnership will develop and scale impactful health programs across Africa, deepening knowledge, building evidence for future investment and strengthening coordination among African philanthropists, business leaders, companies and local business networks.

Critical issues will range from nutrition to malaria, with priorities identified and agreed by local leadership.

Through his Foundation, Aliko Dangote has made an unprecedented grant and seed contribution to GBCHealth of US$ 1.5 million over three years as a call to action and a signal to the African business community of the importance of working together and investing in health. 

“The time is ripe for the private sector to proactively demonstrate its value in partnering to lead a new era in development,” said Aliko Dangote. “The coalition can provide much needed guidance to ensure activities and investments are driving results in areas where the private sector can have real impact, focusing on holistic and integrated solutions that cross borders.  We look forward to working with other business leaders as partners in development to drive this impact.”

“This coalition brings together two heavyweights in the health and development arena,” said Aigboje Aig-Imoukhuede, Co-chair of GBCHealth’s Board of Directors. “Together we have an opportunity to demonstrate how investing in health and creating healthier populations, can help business maximize shareholder value, accelerate economic growth and make entry into new markets more feasible.”

The coalition will have five primary objectives over its first three years:

  • Incubate partnerships on priority health programs to enhance and accelerate results;
  • Work directly with companies to optimize workplace and community health programs;
  • Advocate for policies and initiatives that drive system-level changes;
  • Create a hub of data and insights specific to Africa and African business; and
  • Curate leadership events to convene and drive action around common health issues, across sectors.

The program will kick off in Nigeria and roll out through business regions in Africa and beyond over the next three years.

Why now?

The continent currently has 400 companies with revenue of more than $1 billion per year, and these companies are growing faster, and are more profitable in general, than their global peers[1]. Coupled with these fast-moving regional leaders, small and growing businesses create 80% of the continent’s employment and are stoking the engines of growth[2].

Against this backdrop, according to Aliko Dangote, there’s a new cadre of responsible business leaders and philanthropists who understand the value and promise of sustainable large-scale investments in African countries, and are poised to make an even bigger impact on the continent’s people and economies.

Investments in better training, healthcare and supply chain accountability have demonstrated direct financial return through gains in productivity and efficiency, while sup­port for social programs has accelerated economic growth and has raised incomes, which in turn unlocks a wider con­sumer base.

“GBCHealth has a strong track record of bringing diverse groups together to improve the health and wellbeing of communities,” said Zouera Youssoufou, CEO of the Dangote Foundation. “We look forward to collaborating to build an African business community united as a force for healthier and more inclusive development.”

What next?

“What is needed now is an approach that combines the value of local insights and trusted networks with the leverage of a global platform and expertise to support the more coordinated and impactful involvement of the African private sector across the continent and within the global development community,’ commented Mr. Aig-Imoukhuede.

“The coalition builds on the local-to-global business approach we have developed in Nigeria through our work with the Corporate Alliance on Malaria in Africa (CAMA). The Aliko Dangote Foundation has demonstrated expertise in implementing result-oriented health programs in Nigeria and across Africa. We look forward to our collaboration to bring insights from this work to a global audience,” said Nancy Wildfeir-Field, President of GBCHealth.

Immediate plans include hiring an African based CEO for ABCHealth, and building a support base for the coalition working towards a launch in early 2018.  The foundation is generously providing office space and support for coalition staff over the first three years of development.

 “It’s an ambitious and bold project,” said Mr. Dangote, “but the only way to move Africa forward is to take bold moves, to think big, dream big and do big things together – breaking down silos, working across borders and working across sectors – with government and with each other.”

For Inquiries:

Ian Matthews, GBCHealth (Global)
+1 415 645 3854

Ochuko Keyamo-Onyige, GBCHealth (Nigeria)
+234 803 232 0678

Uduak Ndiokho, Aliko Dangote Foundation (Nigeria)
+234 803 555 3875

About Aliko Dangote Foundation

Aliko Dangote Foundation is the private philanthropic foundation of Aliko Dangote, established with a mission to enhance opportunities for social change through strategic investments that improve health and wellbeing, promote quality education, and broaden economic empowerment opportunities. Dangote Foundation was incorporated in 1993 as a charity in Lagos, Nigeria. The Foundation has now become the largest private foundation in sub Saharan Africa, with the largest endowment by a single African donor. The Foundation has contributed over $250 million in charitable funds to several causes in Nigeria and Africa over the past four years. The activities of the Foundation revolve around the four pillars of health, economic empowerment, education and disaster relief.

Aliko Dangote, was named to the 2016 Forbes list of the world’s top 100 most powerful people and is known for his commitments to health and development.  He is the Founder, President/Chief Executive of the Dangote Group, the largest conglomerate in West Africa, based in Nigeria. The Group, which has subsidiaries that cut across cement production, sugar refining and flour milling, is present in 17 other African countries. It has also diversified into other sectors including agriculture and energy, and is building the largest refinery, petrochemical and fertiliser complex in Africa. One of the Group’s subsidiaries, Dangote Cement Plc, is the largest listed company in West Africa and the first Nigerian company to join the Forbes Global 2000 Companies list.

About GBCHealth

GBCHealth is dedicated to leveraging the resources and expertise of the private sector to meet today’s most pressing health challenges. Founded in 2001, under the leadership of Ambassador Richard C. Holbrooke, GBCHealth has built a strong track record of mobilizing business action to address workplace and community health issues. Today, the organization works with a network of more than 300 organizations globally to drive collective action in areas of greatest need. 

Mr Aig-Imoukhuede has served on the GBCHealth Board since 2011 and is widely recognized as a successful entrepreneur, business leader and proponent of corporate social responsibility in the African business community.


Additional Context

Importance of Health to the Workplace

Investing in key health areas enables businesses, regardless of industry, to improve their bottom line.   A recent study suggests that presenteeism (working while sick), absenteeism and early retirement due to illness conspired to reduce South Africa’s GDP by 6.8% in 2015[3], and this number is on track to get worse, increasing to 7.0% by 2030.  

Estimates suggest that if the West Africa Ebola outbreak had not been contained by 2015, it would have cost affected-countries a total of $30 billion in lost GDP. As it was, core affected-countries lost approximately $1.6 billion[4]. Beyond epidemics, investments in resilient health systems, preventive treatment and insurance can drastically reduce downstream costs of treating employees or losses from absenteeism. 

According to Ms. Wildfeir-Field, President of GBCHealth; “the workplace is the single most prominent communications channel to influence employee behaviour. And further, workplace health programs play a significant role in reducing the risk of epidemics, providing the first line of surveillance for emerging threats. We saw this years ago during the height of the HIV/Aids crisis and more recently with the Ebola outbreak.”


[1] Bughin, J. et al. (2016). “Lions on the move II: Realizing the potential of Africa’s economies” Mckinsey Global Institute

[2] Filomeno de Sousa dos Santos, J. (2015). “Why SMEs are key to growth in Africa” World Economic Forum

[3] Rasmussen, B., Sweeny, K. and Sheehan, P. (2016). “Health and the Economy: The Impact on Wellness on Workforce Productivity in Global Markets” U.S. Chamber of Commerce Global Initiative on Health and the Economy

[4] World Bank (2015). “Ebola: Most African Countries Avoid Major Economic Loss but Impact on Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone Remains Crippling”