Why Ghana Needs Its Own ‘Dangotes,’ ‘Jack Mas’

The world has never been short of givers.

From the precious gift of life itself through knowledge to wealth, numerous people across the world have given a piece of themselves to help create a better society for others and the rest of the world.

While this gesture is self-gratifying, not all are able to do it.

The reasons may vary but the central point is who gives what he or she does not have?

Thus, is it strange that at a time when our government is looking for funds and resources to enhance the country’s fight against the spread of the novel Coronavirus (COVID-19), not a single individual had been able to reach out with support yet?

Philanthropy during crisis

An age-old gesture, philanthropy is timeous and more humane when carried out in a time of need; a time like this when a strange ailment has emerged and is threatening to put all lives on hold and suffocate individual economies and the global economy as a whole. 

In the wake of the novel COVID-19, many individuals and institutions across the world have voluntarily put their best feet forward to help contain the spread of the viral disease, make live less bearable for those infected, contain its impact on countries or find a cure for it.

Mr Aliko Dangote is one of those people.

Our Nigerian neighbour and Africa’s richest man, Mr Dangote, on March 4, donated the equivalent of $550,000 to the Nigerian government to be used to support the government’s efforts to curb the spread of the COVID-19 in his home country.

The amount was pledged to the government by the Aliko Dangote Foundation (ADF), the philanthropic wing of the billionaire’s chain of businesses under his Dangote Group.

According to Nigerian media, the donation was the first of its kind and the biggest so far by a corporate institution and citizen towards supporting the country’s efforts to curb the spread of the viral disease.

Sharing to Africa

Elsewhere, Mr Jack Ma of Alibaba and Mr Bill Gates of Microsoft, among other wealthy persons, are making lofty donations to help their countries and other countries fight the pandemic.

Beyond donating $14 million to fight the disease globally, Mr Ma has promised to supply a total of 1.1 million testing kits, six million masks and 60,000 protective suits and face shields to African countries.

Under his gesture, each African country could get 100,000 face masks, 20,000 testing kits and 1,000 protective clothing to boost their right against the virus.

 The case of Ghana

Here in Ghana, President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has announced that the government had allocated $100 million to be used to enhance the country’s preparedness and response plans to the COVID-19.

But unlike Nigeria where Mr Dangote has supported the government’s efforts with the sizeable amount of cash, here in Ghana, not a single Ghanaian has been able to donate a penny to support the cause.

This loud silence of citizen’s support through financial donations to the country’s fight against the COVID-19 spread begs the question: where are Ghana’s ‘Dangotes’ and ‘Jack Mas’ and how do we create some in preparedness for the next crisis?