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29 Apr 2020

African Business Magazine

Nigeria: Group forms coalition to mobilize business sector to provide resources in efforts fight against Covid-19

‘Nigerian private sector donates more than most other African countries in fight against COVID-19’ 15 April 2020

…The severity of the pandemic and its devastating effect on the limited resources available – daily laboratory testing capacity is around 1,500 day – have pushed the private sector in the West African nation to step up and help the government to fight the virus. On March 26, the Coalition Against COVID-19, known as CACOVID, was formed. Led by Aliko Dangote, Africa’s wealthiest man, the coalition is backed by Access Bank Group, Zenith Bank, Guaranty Trust Bank, and several others. The mission is simple: mobilize private sector leadership and resources to support health facilities to respond to the crisis but also to use their reach to increase awareness about the pandemic.

…The group, a mix of corporations, philanthropists and donors, is already providing thousands of beds to Lagos, Kano, Rivers, Abuja, Enugu and Borno states and is hoping to quickly set up testing facilities and treatment centres in some states.  It aims to get private labs involved in testing to speed up the process. The ultimate goal is to test at least two million people, the group’s website notes. Total donation to the CACOVID relief fund totalled over $55.7m as of April 6, with Dangote and the Central bank donating $5.1m each.

Other major private players such as Segun Agbaje (Guaranty Trust Bank), Jim Ovia (Zenith Bank), Herbert Wigwe (Access Bank), Tony Elumelu (United Bank for Africa), Abdulsamad Rabiu of  BUA Group, Folorunsho Alakija of Famfa Oil Limited, Oba Otudeko (First Bank), Femi Otedola of Amperion Power, billionaire businessman Mike Adenuga of Globacom and the Nigeria Deposit Insurance Corporation have provided $2.59m each. The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation alongside some oil companies has pledged $30m to the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control to improve patient care, medical supplies and equipment. A top official at Guaranty Trust Bank told African Business that the private sector’s support is mainly driven by genuine philanthropy.