Aliko Dangote Donates $20M To New York’s Africa Center To Change How Africa Is Perceived

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Written by Peter Pedroncelli
Aliko Dangote
Hadeel Ibrahim, co-chair, The Africa Center (far left); Aliko Dangote, chairman, Aliko Dangote Foundation (left of center); Mo Ibrahim, chair, Mo Ibrahim Foundation (center); Bill Gates, co-founder, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (right of center) and Halima Dangote, board president, The Africa Center (far right) cut a cake at the Future Africa Forum at The Africa Center in New York, where a $20 million donation by the Aliko Dangote Foundation was announced. Image supplied by the Dangote Group

Nigerian billionaire Aliko Dangote is on a mission to change the perception of Africa by giving financial backing to a New York-based organization that aims to showcase positive African stories.

Africa’s richest man, Dangote has donated $20 million to the nonprofit Africa Center in New York through his charitable foundation, according to a press release.

The 70,000-square-foot center on Fifth Avenue at 109th Street in East Harlem promotes creative expression and interaction with the public to challenge historical stereotypes of Africa.

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Mainstream media have traditionally been accused of portraying Africa with negative stereotypes, paying little attention to the many positive developments happening on the continent.

Aliko Dangote committed to improving how Africa is portrayed

Dangote is determined to change the narrative and wants to see Africa portrayed in a balanced and fair manner. 

He pledged $20 million to support the Africa Center’s work in altering the global understanding of Africa and promoting collaboration between Africa and the rest of the world. 

The center aims to do that through performances, installations, talks, readings, book signings, and film screenings.

The donation is expected to help build the last phase of the museum in New York, Wall Street Journal reports.

In recognition of his donation, the main hall of the Africa Center is named after Dangote and will be known as “The Africa Center at Aliko Dangote Hall”.

A Nigerian businessman, Dangote maintained his position as the richest person in Africa in 2019 thanks to his $17 billion net worth. In March, he was considered the 64th richest person on the planet, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index

Dangote’s business interests include cement, agricultural commodities, real estate, oil and gas.

In a statement from the Dangote Group, he explained why the donation to the Africa Center is important to him. 

“The Africa Center is showcasing Africa in a contemporary, multifaceted manner as a center of innovation, growth, and limitless potential, which makes this project extremely important and worthy of support through my foundation,” Dangote said in the press statement.

“There is an opportunity to establish new narratives about Africa today, with its unrivaled mix of people, ideas, and resources, which are both its greatest strength and the basis for its tremendous, untapped promise.”

Other donors to the Africa Center include the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, which pledged a $5 million donation, and the family of Sudanese-British billionaire businessman Mo Ibrahim, which has given more than $7 million, according to PhilanthropyNewsDigest.