By Franklin Alli
Aliko Dangote Foundation has pledged to expend $100 million (about N36 billion) over the next five years to tackle malnutrition in the worst-affected parts of Nigeria.
The Aliko Dangote Foundation’s Managing Director and CEO, Zouera Youssoufou, disclosed this during the just concluded Global Nutrition Summit 2017, in Milan, Italy.
The event was attended by government officials, international agencies, foundations, civil society organisations and businesses to accelerate the global response to malnutrition, an underlying cause of nearly half of all global child deaths.
According to Youssoufou, through his foundation, since 1993, Aliko Dangote has made significant social investments in health, education, economic empowerment and disaster relief.
“He is now becoming the strongest voice for nutritional leadership nationally and on the Continent of Africa. By making this unprecedented $100 million commitment, the Aliko Dangote Foundation is on a mission to reduce the prevalence of under nutrition by 60 percent in the most needy areas of Nigeria, specifically the North-East and North-West,” she said.
She noted that malnutrition affects every country in the world in various forms, adding, however, that Africa was particularly hard hit and Nigeria, home to the highest number of malnourished children.
She said: “Almost half of the one million children, who die before the age of five every year in Nigeria, die of malnutrition as the underlying cause. Without the proper nutrients during the first 1,000 days of life, starting from conception up to their second birthday, children are less likely to survive childhood diseases such as malaria and pneumonia, and are less likely to escape poverty as adults.
“They become physically and cognitively stunted, a fate that has befallen 11 million of Nigeria’s children under five.”