“Have you ever met someone new and immediately felt like you could talk to them for hours?” American’s business magnate and principal founder of Microsoft Corporation, Bill Gates wrote on his personal blog Gates notes, narrating how he became good friends with Aliko Dangote, Africa’s wealthiest man.
Bill Gates who published the story on the 1st of October, 2019, said that he met Dangote a couple of years ago when they both attended the same event in New York.
A mutual friend of Gates had suggested they both meet after spotting a mutual interest in global health so they arranged to sit next to each other at dinner.
Gates wrote; “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. (Today, the Dangote Foundation is the largest such organization in sub-Saharan Africa.)
“More importantly, we both love to geek out over things that make some people’s eyes glaze over, like cement, fertilizer, and iodized salt”.
According to Gates, the first meeting marked the start of a fruitful friendship and in 2016, both foundations, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and Aliko Dangote Foundation announced a joint five-year $100 million commitment to reducing malnutrition in Nigeria.
He said both foundations are working together to fight malnutrition through food fortification.
The principal founder of Microsoft in explaining the root causes of Malnutrition said that “Kids often become malnourished when they don’t get enough micronutrients—vitamins and minerals—to digest their food properly. One way to correct this is by adding micronutrients to the food that families—especially those from low-income households—are purchasing every day”.
He said that grocery stores in the U.S. have a lot of food with the fortification which contains iodized salt or milk that comes with extra vitamin D and calcium.
Gates also disclosed that both his foundation and Dangote’s are now working together to find other staple foods and condiments that could be used to deliver more micronutrients to more people in Nigeria, like fortified bouillon cubes.
Speaking on the health condition of Nigeria, Gates held that Improving health in Nigeria is critical to making progress in sub-Saharan Africa because Nigeria is home to nearly a quarter of all people living in sub-Saharan Africa, and the population is only going to grow in the future. Solving problems in Nigeria 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.” Gates said.