Aliko Dangote donates N1.5 billion to Nigeria/UN coronavirus basket fund

Africa’s richest businessman, Aliko Dangote, has donated a mobile testing centre with the capacity to test 400 people for COVID-19 daily, to the Kano State Government.

The Aliko Dangote Foundation (ADF) has donated N1.5 billion ($3.8 million) to the ‘Nigeria/United Nations COVID-19 Basket Fund’ to boost the fight against the novel coronavirus disease.

The UN in Nigeria announced the donation in a statement issued on Wednesday in Abuja.

According to the statement, the ADF collaboration with the UN will boost the Nigerian Government’s efforts at strengthening the functional capacity of the healthcare systems and support to those affected by the novel coronavirus.

The statement quoted Aliko Dangote, President and Chief Executive of Dangote Group and Chairman of the ADF, as saying that the contribution would support in the procurement of medical supplies.

“The contribution will go toward the procurement of the much-needed testing, medical supplies and equipment to aid the healthcare response against the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The impact of COVID-19 pandemic on Nigeria is enormous and affects us all as no institution can battle it alone.

“It is, therefore, critical that we act in solidarity as a private sector actor and as a foundation, to beat this common enemy.

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“Our goal is to contribute to government’s ongoing efforts in tackling the spread of the coronavirus and the arising challenges,’’ Mr Dangote was quoted as saying.

The UN in Nigeria, is working closely with the government to accelerate response to the pandemic, tackle the spread of the virus and ensure optimum care for those affected.

The Nigeria UN COVID-19 Basket fund was designed to serve within the “One COVID-19 Financing and Investment Platform”, through which stakeholders, including the private sector could contribute.

Concerned parties could channel their financial assistance to the multi-sectoral efforts of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19.

The UN strategy used the pooled fund arrangement to support the rapid implementation of Nigeria’s National COVID-19 Multi-sectoral Pandemic Response Plan in the ten functional areas.

It is done through a bilateral Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) or Contribution Agreement between individual donors and the fund.

A dedicated fund and project management structure for the Nigeria UN COVID-19 basket fund managed by UNDP acts as the secretariat to the project board and oversees disbursement of funds, procurement of services and goods as well as accountability.

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While receiving the contribution on behalf of the UN in Nigeria, Mr Edward Kallon, UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator for Nigeria was quoted as saying that, winning the war against the virus would require the support of all.

He said Nigeria’s win against the coronavirus, required a whole-of-society approach that would bring all stakeholders on board to support the national response.

He further commended the Nigerian private sector for its active role in supporting the government, to mobilise the critical resources to tackle COVID-19.

“We need all hands on-deck to help the government to keep the healthcare systems working and be able to address the development challenges exacerbated by the pandemic,’’ the statement quoted him as saying.

According to it, the ADF is also a founding member of CACOVID, the Nigerian private sector coalition against COVID-19 besides partnering with the UN in Nigeria in support of the government’s COVID-19 response.

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