The richest man in Africa and the wealthiest man from the United States joined forces Monday in the battle against polio, which has seen a resurgence in Nigeria despite efforts to eradicate it.
Microsoft founder Bill Gates’ foundation and that of Aliko Dangote, the Nigerian businessman labeled Africa’s richest by Forbes, announced an alliance during a ceremony in Kano, Nigeria’s second city.
Nigeria is one of only three countries still considered to have endemic polio, alongside Pakistan and Afghanistan.
Under the four-year alliance, the Bill and Melinda Gates and Dangote foundations would provide funding, equipment and technical support to the Kano state government to strengthen polio immunisation.
Eradicating polio “will be Kano’s gift to Nigeria and Nigeria’s gift to the world,” Jeff Raikes, the head of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, said at the ceremony.
Dangote, whose Dangote Group includes interests ranging from cement to flour and real estate, said “myself and Bill Gates met in New York and agreed to partner and intervene in polio eradication.”
“There is no reason for any one of us not to assist in keeping our people healthy,” said Dangote, who is from Kano.