Microsoft Co-founder and renowned philanthropist Bill Gates has opened up on his close relationship with Dangote Group founder and Africa’s richest man, Aliko Dangote.
According to Gates, their relationship surpasses just business, evident by his attendance at the wedding of Dangote’s daughter a year ago.
The Co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation said that he felt he could talk to Dangote for hours after meeting him in New York.
“Have you ever met someone new and immediately felt like you could talk to them for hours?
“That happened the first time I met Aliko Dangote. A couple of years ago, he and I ended up going to the same event in New York. A mutual friend suggested that I meet him because he knew we were both super interested in global health. So we made sure to sit next to each other at dinner.”
“As soon as we shook hands, it was clear we had a ton in common. We both started successful businesses in the late 1970s. For our second act in life, we both chose to start foundations aimed at improving health and education,” he wrote on his blog, gatesnotes.
That first meeting gave birth to a ‘fruitful friendship’ and in 2016, their foundations jointly committed Sh10 billion to fight malnutrition in Nigeria over a period of five years.
According to Gates, they are fighting malnutrition through food fortification, whereby micronutrients are added to everyday foods consumed by low-income households.
“Nigeria is home to nearly a quarter of all people living in sub-Saharan Africa, and that population is only going to grow in the future. By solving problems in Nigeria, you can have a huge impact on all of Africa.
“Aliko Dangote understands this, and that’s why he’s committed to making progress in his home country. Melinda and I are lucky to have him as a partner (and friend!) in improving health.”
On 23 March 2018, Fatima, who is Dangote’s youngest daughter wedded Jamilu Abubakar, son of Nigeria’s former Inspector General of Police in Lagos, Nigeria.
Gates was among the attendees at the high-profile wedding also attended by Kenyan TV presenter Jeff Koinange.
Guests were entertained by performances from Nigeria’s finest musicians, Wizkid and Davido.