Business mogul and foremost philanthropist, Alhaji Aliko Dangote, is set to endow the Dangote Foundation, a foundation he set up 20 years ago, with N200 billion ($1.25 billion).
This is just as the industrialist, according to the latest Forbes magazine's rich list, marked another milestone yesterday when he became the first black man to break into the league of the top 25 richest people in the world with a personal wealth of $25 billion, up from $16.1 billion in 2013.
Speaking to THISDAY yesterday, Dangote said the N200 billion would come from personal contributions as well as shares of his publicly quoted companies, which would be transferred to the foundation for onward disbursement to beneficiaries.
He said: "Since the Dangote Foundation is now 20 years old, this initial endowment will assure that the foundation has secure and steady funding to carry out its mission as we significantly scale up our work."
He disclosed that the reconstituted board of trustees would include himself; his brother, Sani; his daughter, Halima Aliko Dangote; Chief Operating Officer, Dangote Industries Limited, Olakunle Alake; A.B Mahmoud (SAN); former Group Managing Director/CEO, Access Bank Plc, Aigboje Aig-Imoukhuede; wife of the former Ekiti State Governor, Angela Adebayo; wife of the former Managing Director/CEO Guaranty Trust Bank Plc, Hajara Adeola; and Group Chief Executive Officer, Renaissance Capital West Africa, Mrs. Yvonne Ike-Fasinro.
"Last year, we appointed Adhiambo Odaga as the managing director to grow the Dangote Foundation team. The stage is set now for the next stage of our institutional growth," he added.
He said from the second quarter of this year, the foundation would lay greater emphasis on youth and women empowerment through large-scale efforts that cultivate meaningful change in their lives.
The Dangote Foundation was set up by the business mogul in 1994 to extend the impact of his growing business operations. Current interventions that focus on youth and women include a national cash transfer programme designed to complement state governments' poverty alleviation programmes by providing N10,000 grants to at least 1,000 women and youths in each of Nigeria's 774 local government areas.
The foundation has already reached 256,500 women and youths across the 157 local government areas in Kano, Jigawa, Kogi, Adamawa, Yobe and Borno States. The next phase of cash disbursements will target select states in the South-west geopolitical zone. In addition, the N10 billion Dangote Foundation/Bank of Industry's (BoI) micro, small and medium enterprises fund stimulates economic growth and job creation.
Dangote Foundation funds are offered at zero per cent interest rate while BoI's funds are offered at 10 per cent interest rate, resulting in an effective interest rate of five per cent, which is the lowest interest rate available for credit in the country.
One hundred and thirty six businesses in 27 states have accessed the fund so far. In addition to his foundation, Dangote made history yesterday when he became the first black man to break into the league of the top 25 richest people in the world with a fortune of $25 billion.
For the fourth year running, Dangote retained his position in Africa as the richest man of the continent. Dangote, who was number 43 on the top 100 world billionaires Forbes magazine's rich list in 2013, took a quantum leap, when he moved up 20 spots to retain his position in Africa and also became the 23rd richest man in the world.
Speaking on his climb in the ranking, Dangote thanked God and gave credit to his rise to Nigeria and Africa, saying: "Without the support of Nigerians and the rest of Africa, I won't be where I am today."
He also congratulated Mrs. Folorunsho Alakija, who has lucrative oil stake in the deep water Agbami oil field, and fellow industrialist, Abdulsamad Rabiu, for making the Forbes list of global billionaires.
Also, after a four-year hiatus, Bill Gates reclaimed the title of world's richest man from telecom mogul Carlos Slim Helu of Mexico, who ranked number one for the past four years. Gates, whose fortune rose by $9 billion in the past year, has held the top spot for 15 of the past 20 years. Spanish clothing retailer Amancio Ortega (best known for the Zara fashion chain) retained the number three spot for the second year in a row, extending his lead over Warren Buffett, who remained in the fourth position.
In Nigeria, Mike Adenuga was ranked next to Dangote on the list with a wealth of $4.6 billion, maintaining the 325th position in the world; Alakija with $2.5 billion was 687th in the world, while Rabiu ranked 1372th in the world with an estimated net worth of $1.2 billion.
The year's biggest dollar gainer was Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg, whose fortune jumped by $15.2 billion, to $28.5 billion, as shares of his social network soared.
Similarly, the company's chief operating officer, Sheryl Sandberg, joined the ranks for the first time, as did Facebook's longtime Vice-President Jeff Rothschild.
In terms of countries with the most billionaires, the US once again led the world with 492 billionaires as a result of the tech boom and the strong stock market. The US was followed by China with 152 and Russia with 111.
Also, for the first time in the history of Forbes' ranking, billionaires were found in Algeria, Issad Rebrab, who is in the food industry with an estimated net worth of $3.2 billion; Rostam Azizi from Tanzania estimated at $1 billion; and Sudhir Ruparelia from Uganda put at $1.1 billion.