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We need to do more collectively for Africa at the Africa Business Health Forum – Halima Dangote

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An interview with the Group Executive Director of Dangote Group by Jess Denny, correspondant for APO

ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia, February 12, 2019/ — Q: Your foundation has obviously got a lot of influence in Nigeria, what are your main objectives for this year?

A: One of the main pillars is health. Nutrition determines the state of one’s health and we are investing towards nutrition, specifically primary health care, and most importantly towards eradication of polio, that itself is a good example of what Public Private Partnerships should put on the top of their list. This year’s Dangote Foundation (www.Dangote.com/Foundation/) is partnering with Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the Nigerian government. It is crucial for us to get buy in from each state government that we partner with; so Dangote Foundation, government and B&M Gates Foundation have equal responsibilities and we do really see the impact when we each are accountable. Through impact assessment in the rural areas, studying the root causes, we are able to determine where we want to see results and how to achieve progress. The formula is working and we will keep at it as there is a lot to cover.

Q: Healthcare and infant mortality obviously is a huge issue across the poorest countries in Africa. What could other corporates do to get more involved into helping, following your model?

A: The business sector is the most important in this model, and we put a strong emphasis to really pull the business sector, like the ones here at the Health Business Forum. This thing that we are pushing to get 1% of the tax dedicated to health; we need the support of other businesses do it as well? All of us corporate can just contribute and see this would ultimately help the health sector, and I mean, the way the foundation sees it, when investing in health, it should not be considered a cost, it is a huge investment in the future generations and it’s going to cost us a lot more if we don’t start now, a lot more.

Source: APO Group

Q: What are your proudest moments?

A: I am extremely proud of being able to make a difference in this world, that collectively we are changing and influencing people to keep aiming for a better lifestyle and to take better care of their health and well-being of their loved ones.

Q: If you had one single most important message from you personally to the world, what would it be?

A: I think, every single person has a role to play, and it is important to search deeper and find ways to contribute. Ultimately it can be very little, but you have to make an effort to participate. It’s not just about saying it. It is about being honest with yourself and having the courage to walk the talk.  We all live on the same planet. Our communities within our cities play a strong role in the way we live with one another. Everybody has to participate! Everyone deserves to be healthy and happy!

APO Group – Africa Newsroom.

Corporate Citizenship

GTBank Builds Nigeria’s First Digital Play Centre for Children

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Lagos, Nigeria – March 22nd, 2019: Banks only build branches, or so the story goes. Except for Guaranty Trust Bank Plc; the foremost African financial institution, which has been at the forefront of several innovative products and services, recently completed and opened the first digital playground for children in Nigeria.

Located in Lekki, Lagos State, the GTBank Play Centre is equipped with a wide range of interactive games that will give kids a fun and immersive digital experience whilst aiding their mental and intellectual development. Open from 10am to 3pm on Weekdays, and 10am to 1pm on Saturdays, some of the features of the Play Centre include the Sketch Town, where kids can design cars, launch rockets, and bring all their sketches to life. At the playground, children can also use the wide range of bricks available to build whatever excites their curiosity and also express themselves creatively by scribbling, writing and drawing on a digital chalkboard.

GTBank is renowned for designing innovative and personalized products and services that are tailored to customers’ unique needs and which fit seamlessly with their lifestyles. Recently, the Bank launched Habari, a digital platform that gives customers unlimited access to local and international music, and at the same time, allows them to shop online, split bills with friends and take care of their everyday needs, in one place. Habari, like the GTBank Play Centre, is the first of its kind in Nigeria, reflecting the Bank’s digital drive as well as its focus on creating unique experiences for all segments of its customer base.

Commenting on the launch of the Play Centre, the Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of Guaranty Trust Bank plc, Mr Segun Agbaje said; “How and where children play contributes significantly to their cognitive and intellectual development, helping them build better communication and problem-solving skills. Our new Play Centre will give children a tension-free space to build these critical developmental skills, expose them to new and emerging digital technologies, and, most importantly, give them a wonderful time out.”

He further stated that “At GTBank we are passionate about building the bank of the future, and for us, this means constantly leveraging the best of technology to create amazing digital experiences for all of our customers, in a way that adds real value to their lives.”

Guaranty Trust Bank is one of the best run African financial institutions and serves as a role model within the financial service industry due to its bias for world class corporate governance standards, excellent service quality and innovation. The Bank is also renowned for driving youth empowerment initiatives alongside its business, as seen with the GTCrea8 Account package, which doubles up as a platform for empowering young undergraduates with the resources and networking that they need to develop their skills and talents and build capacity in their careers of choice.

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Corporate Citizenship

Sahara Group Reaffirms Commitment To ‘Water For All’ Campaign

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Lagos, Nigeria, March 22, 2019 – According to a 2017 joint report by WHO and UNICEF, 2.1 billion people lack safe drinking water at home, more than twice as many lack safe sanitation. Some 3 in 10 people worldwide, or 2.1 billion, lack access to safe, readily available water at home, and 6 in 10, or 4.5 billion, lack safely managed sanitation.

The implication of this is that these people are at risk of various water related diseases, many of which are fatal.  At the moment, only 61% of the people in sub-Saharan Africa have access to have access to clean water sources. Similarly, over 40% of all people globally that lack access to drinking water are in sub-Saharan Africa. In these areas, the burden of carrying water falls primarily on women and young girls who are forced to walk several miles in search of water.

The inadequacy of clean water sources have accounted for poor sanitation in the affected areas with rural areas topping the list. A vast majority of rural people still practice open defecation or lack adequate sanitation facilities. The consequences of such practices are very devastating for human health and the environment. Even in more developed areas where household toilets are readily available, a large number of the toilets are either connected to septic tanks that are not safely emptied or use other means that discharge sewage into open drains.

In line with its commitment to promote clean water sources and encourage good sanitation, Sahara Foundation is committed to the donation of boreholes in areas of need. The donation of these boreholes have contributed to the eradication of Guinea-worm disease in Nigeria and Ghana, an achievement which has fueled our desire to do more. We have also promoted good sanitation through the donation of public toilets in rural areas and provided training on how to maintain the facilities.

In alignment with the theme for this year’s World Water Day commemoration, Leaving No One Behind, Sahara Group adds her voice and support to the call for making safe water available for all. We support the human right of all to safe water. We remain committed to efforts geared towards making clean and safe water available to all including the marginalized and poor.

Happy World Water Day.

-SAHARA GROUP

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Corporate Citizenship

Sahara Group Upgrades Computer Center To Promote I.C.T Literacy, Entrepreneurship In South Sudan

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Juba, South Sudan: March 20, 2019 –Leading energy conglomerate, Sahara Group has reaffirmed its commitment to inspiring and empowering future technology entrepreneurs to lead the drive towards sustainable development and economic prosperity in South Sudan.

Working through the Sahara Foundation, Sahara Group has renovated and upgraded the University of Juba Computer Center in South Sudan, a facility that plays a critical role in Information Communication Technology training in South Sudan, the world’s youngest democracy.

Following the intervention, the center now boasts a better learning ambience, brand new computers, central UPS and server, air conditioners, roof mounted projector and furniture.

“The facility will help the 10,000 undergraduates of the institution in designing solutions that will accelerate the growth of their nation and their own careers. We also believe the facility will provide an avenue for young people both within and outside the university community to acquire technology based skills in a country where access to information communication technology is below 30 percent of the population,” said Bethel Obioma, Head, Corporate Communications at Sahara Group.

Sahara Foundation Upgrades ICT Center at University of Juba
Commissioning of the Computer Laboratory at University of Juba, South Sudan

According to Obioma, the success of the Computer Center project would serve as a template for driving other development agenda that Sahara Group is exploring to foster accelerated economic empowerment an growth in South Sudan. “Sahara Group has implemented upgrades in various academic institutions in different nations and we believe the youths in South Sudan can now begin to aspire to become successful entrepreneurs that will compete for laurels globally.”

Founded in 1975, the University of Juba is the oldest university in South Sudan and has a vision to become a dynamic regional and world-class center of excellence in teaching, research, innovation, and service to community by 2030.

University of Juba ICT Center
University of Juba Computer Laboratory

Oluseyi Ojurongbe, Manager, Sahara Foundation, said there are ongoing stakeholder engagements to explore other interventions in line with Sahara Group’s commitment to spearheading the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in Africa by 2030.

Ojurongbe noted that Sahara had made remarkable progress in its contribution to the SDGs, including goals 1,2,3,4,5,6,7 and 17.

He said: “We are delighted at the opportunity to serve in South Sudan and to be part of a growing movement geared towards transforming the nation and empowering her people. The Sahara Foundation will continue to work with all local and global stakeholders to give wings to the aspirations of South Sudan.”

Since inception, Sahara Foundation has implemented projects in the areas of health, education, environment and sustainable community development across Africa, Europe and Asia. More than two million people have directly benefited from the projects, with an estimated 75% of them located across the African continent. These interventions include food preservation/security projects, high school leadership/entrepreneurship projects, skills acquisition/career counseling programmes, upgrade of school libraries and sanitary facilities, scholarships for indigent students, free medical outreaches/surgeries, donation of mobile cancer unit and collaboration with several stakeholders to promote the SDGs.

– SAHARA GROUP

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