Nigerian industrialist and philanthropist, Abdul Samad Rabiu, Chairman of BUA Cement Plc, on Tuesday, launched the Abdul Samad Rabiu African Initiative (ASR AFRICA), as well as a yearly Africa Fund endowment of USD100m which will from this year cater to various interventions in Education Health and Social Development.
According to a statement by the ASR Africa Initiative, half the amount is dedicated to Nigeria yearly, and the other to the rest of Africa, in addition to a grant of N1bn each to Ahmadu Bello University, University of Maiduguri, University of Nigeria, University of Benin, University of Ilorin, and University of Ibadan, drawn from the country’s six geopolitical zones.
The grants, the statement added, will go towards the initiation and upgrading of infrastructure, where applicable, and specifically towards projects that will be delivered by the ASR Africa Initiative for the project duration.
Rabiu, who is the Founder and Chairman of BUA Group, one of Africa’s largest Foods, Mining, Infrastructure and Manufacturing Conglomerates, said the initiative is in addition to his BUA Foundation, which has over the years been actively involved in corporate philanthropy in various sectors – from health, education, community development, water & sanitation, sports, and even more recently, our work on COVID-19.
Continuing, he said with the annual US$100m Africa Fund for Social Development, “we are specifically extending this work to the Education, Health and Social Development sectors, starting with infrastructure and capacity development in these areas and supporting the efforts of various governments in Nigeria and Sub-Saharan Africa.
“Our broad focus is equipping facilities, our researchers, healthcare practitioners and community-level service providers, with the aim of providing sustainable solutions for generations to come,” he added.
Continuing, Rabiu stressed: “they say life begins at 50; what they never tell you is that a pandemic can change your life at 60.
“In that year 2020, when I turned 60, at least two million others turned into memories, taken by this deadly virus. I watched millions become numbers in a global death toll and ancestors in the world beyond. The same pandemic that forced us humans to slow down, now forces our humaneness to square up. The plans I once took time to construct, now take up all my time.
To ensure accountability in universities grants, he said while annual reports will be presented, “with all activities overseen by a sterling board of trustees,” the beneficiaries, and end-users, who are custodians of these projects should hold the Initiative to account.
In his words, “contact, commend, recommend or complain to us on asrafrica.org.”
Over the course of this year, he promised: “to also announce funding opportunities of US$50million for the rest of Africa – we are currently in talks with our stakeholders and other partners.”
With the world trying to resume “business as usual, the Abdul Samad Rabiu Initiative’s Africa Fund for Social Development & Renewal aims to be a modest reminder to us all that until our health, education, and other development issues are fixed, business as usual in these times, means business as brutal. We pledge to continue to do what we can to support ongoing efforts by various governments to bridge the development divide across Africa.”