Dangote’s Creative Capitalism -By Kayode Komolafe

Filed under: Economic Issues,Life And People |

Kayode Komolafe

The N250m-complex built by the Aliko Dangote Foundation at the premises of the University of Ibadan School of Business will be commissioned this morning.
The project is a fulfilment of the pledge made two years ago when the Nigeria’s premier university conferred an honorary doctorate degree on the President of the Dangote Organisation, Alhaji Aliko Dangote.

According to the management of the school, facilities provided would enhance considerably the operations of the Business school while the larger university community would be relieved of some pressures on its structures. The Dangote Foundation has built similar complexes in some other public universities. The significant point to stress here is that part of the profits made by Dangote is used to enhance public institutions with the provision of facilities. That would enable those who cannot afford to pay for similar facilities in private institutions to have the benefits of such facilities.

Some years ago, the American billionaire, Bill Gates, endeavoured to deepen the idea of philanthropy by coming up with what he called “creative capitalism.” According to Gates, embodied in the philosophy of creative capitalism is “an approach where governments, businesses, and non-profits work together to stretch the reach of market forces so that more people can make a profit, or gain recognition, doing work that eases the world’s inequities.” Its focus is on the poorest of the society.

Incidentally, Dangote, Gates and other stakeholders are in partnership in the efforts to tackle some health issues such as polio, malaria and maternal mortality.

Creative capitalists realise the purpose of making billions of dollars as profits should not just be to acquire more private jets, yachts and mansions in all the metropolitan capitals as well enjoy more choice wines and other luxuries of life while pretending to be oblivious of the crisis of their social environment.

It is amazing that Nigerian men of means are not embarrassed when, for instance, it is said that if the non-governmental organisations withdraw their care and support in the northeast, the humanitarian tragedy there would turn to a disaster. A lot of the funds that the Nigerian NGOs seek from the West could actually be sourced internally if most Nigerian billionaires are creative capitalists.

The Dangote Foundation, in the spirit of creative capitalism, has invested billions in the feeding and care of the internally displaced persons in the northeast. You would expect the billionaires from the troubled region to be in the forefront of partnering with government and international donors to alleviate the conditions of those who are in desperate situation in the conflict zone.

In fact, Nigerian foundations should be leading the efforts to provide the succour for the poor in the region.
Those billionaires who think that the only way to intervene in the crisis of public education is to create another market in the sector and turn quality education into another commodity purchasable only by the rich should embrace the example shown by the Dangote Foundation.

For instance, it serves a greater social purpose to develop the business school in the University of Ibadan, a pre-eminent public school, than to establish another mushroom private university in the same city.
That’s the moral in the step taken by the Dangote Foundation in building the complex being commissioned today.