PHILANTHROPISTS Bill Gates, Mo Ibrahim and Aliko Dangote took to the stage at Africa Centre in New York to chat about the future of business on the continent. African heads of state, business leaders and celebrities, including supermodel Naomi Campbell, were in attendance at the gathering held on the sidelines of this year’s UN General Assembly (UNGA).
Bill Gates brought up the challenge of climate change. ‘Africa is where we are going to meet some of our toughest challenges. Sadly, the impact climate change [is very severe in Africa], although Africa had the least to do to cause climate change. The actual difficulties will first be felt by the farmers of Africa,’ he said.
On his part, Mo Ibrahim touched on corruption, saying the stereotype of African corruption is an issue. ‘Let’s be frank, there is a lot of minds in the West here – people think Africa is a very corrupt place. Corruption is a problem, a global problem. I don’t think it is an African problem,’ he said.
Aliko Dangote spoke about Africa’s rising wealth. ‘Today when you look at it you are thinking about the five fastest-growing economies in the world – four are in Sub Saharan Africa.’
Formerly known as the Museum for African Art, the Africa Centre’s work is premised on the idea that this emerging market of one billion people, characterised by extraordinary diversity and complexity, is inescapably relevant to building a prosperous and secure future for the world.
The Centre has received a financial boost of $25 million in donations, including $20 million from the Aliko Dangote Foundation to complete the next phase of construction of its building.