By Martins Ifijeh
The Dangote Foundation and GBCHealth have joined forces to forge a new model of partnership, African Business Coalition on Health (GBCHealth) for healthcare in Africa .
Chairman of Dangote Foundation, Aliko Dangote, shared plans to build an African Business Coalition on 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 .
According to him, the African-led coalition of companies and philanthropists, will seek to improve the health and well-being of Africans, both within the workplace and within the broader communities. He stated that the partnership will develop and deploy impactful health programmes across Africa , deepening knowledge, building evidence for future investment and strengthening coordination among African philanthropists, business leaders, companies and networks.
The Coalition is building on the leadership, reputation and convening power of the Aliko Dangote Foundation and the experience, reputation and global reach of GBCHealth. Critical issues that will be the focus of the partnership ranges from nutrition to malaria, with priorities identified and agreed by local leadership.
Through his Foundation, 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.
â€œThe time is ripe for the private sector to proactively demonstrate its value in partnering to lead a new era in development,â€ said Dangote. â€œThe 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.â€
Co-chair of GBCHealthâ€™s Board of Directors, Aigboje Aig-Imoukhuede said, â€œThis coalition brings together two heavyweights in the health and development arena. Together we have an opportunity to demonstrate how investing in health and creating healthier populations, can help business maximise shareholder value, accelerate economic growth and make entry into new markets more feasible.
â€œThe coalition will have five primary objectives over its first three years: Incubate partnerships on priority health programmes to enhance and accelerate results; Work directly with companies to optimise workplace and community health programmes; 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,â€ he added.
The programme will kick off in Nigeria and roll out through business regions in Africa and beyond over the next three years.
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. Coupled with these fast-moving regional leaders, small and growing businesses create 80 per cent of the continentâ€™s employment and are stoking the engines of growth.
Against this backdrop, according to Dangote, thereâ€™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 continentâ€™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 supÂport for social programmes has accelerated economic growth and raised incomes which in turn unlocks a wider conÂsumer base and makes entry into new markets more feasible.
In her comments, CEO of the Dangote Foundation, Zouera Youssoufou, said â€œGBCHealth has a strong track record of bringing diverse groups together to improve the health well-being of communities. We look forward to collaborating to build an African business community united as a force for healthier and more inclusive development.
â€œWhat 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,â€ commented Aig-Imoukhuede.
â€œThe 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 programmes in Nigeria and across Africa . We look forward to our collaboration to bring insights from this work to a global audience,â€ 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.
â€œItâ€™s an ambitious and bold project,â€ said Dangote, â€œbut the only way to move Africa forward is to take bold moves, to think big, dream big and do big things together â€“ breaking down silos, working across borders and working across sectors. â€“ with government and each other.â€