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Nigeria, Ghana first beneficiaries of $100m ASR Africa development grant

Nigeria, Ghana first beneficiaries of $100m ASR Africa development grant

Nigeria and Ghana are the first African countries to benefit from the yearly $100 million Abdul Samad Rabiu Africa Initiative (ASR Africa) designed to propel sustainable development in African countries.

The ASR Africa Initiative, which is the brainchild of Nigerian businessman and philanthropist, Abdul Samad Rabiu, Chairman of BUA Group was recently set up with an annual set aside of $100million to be used to improve health, education and social development in the African continent.

Under what is arguably the largest private philanthropic fund by an African, $50m will be spent in Nigeria annually while $50m will be spent in the rest of Africa on the identified sectors.

For Nigeria, ASR Africa is close to exhausting the $50m for the country for 2020 in tertiary education grant projects, health interventions and other development projects. It also provided direct support for building teaching hospitals in states in Nigeria, Ubon Udoh, the Managing Director/CEO of the Initiative told BusinessDay recently.

According to Udoh, six Nigerian universities were set to receive N1 bn each, as part of the ASR Africa tertiary grant scheme – of which four have already been presented their grant award letters while work has commenced in three.

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The Initiative also gave N5 bn to the Akwa Ibom state government to build a teaching hospital and the ground-breaking was done early in June by the Governor of the State. “We are giving N2.5 bn each to four other states each and Kwara has committed theirs to develop a multi-billion Naira Cancer treatment centre. We also have some interventions for the social development sector side which will be announced soon”.

Last week, Udoh, on behalf of the chairman of the Board of ASR Africa granted $3 million to the Government of Ghana to improve the standard of education in the country. On his delegation was Otega Ogra, communications director for BUA Group of Companies and the Ghanaian Delegation was led by the chief of staff in the Office of the President, Akosua Frema Opare Osei with the minister of education, Yaw Adetwum signing on the Government’s behalf.

Making the donation, Udoh, who has the necessary expertise with years of top-level development experience needed to drive the ASR Africa mandate, pleaded with the Ghana government to quickly identify the primary schools and locations for the intervention. He also requested that implementation plans for projects must be deployed to commence together and conclude within given time-frames.

“We also like to have a situation where all the schools you want to intervene start at the same time so that we can complete implementation at the same time”.

Udoh further added that about five other African countries are on the queue for the grant which would be made soon to fast-track some projects in those countries for necessary impact in their communities.

Receiving the $3m grant on behalf of the Ghana government, Akosua, Frema Opare Osei who is the chief of staff to the Ghanaian President, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, was pleased that Ghana has been fortunate to be chosen as one of the recipient countries outside of Nigeria.

While appreciating the ASR Africa for the grant, she described the intervention as aligning with the country’s development needs and desires particularly in the areas of health and education.

She said that Ghana is embarking on aggressively ramping up its delivery of primary educational infrastructure to ensure that children get value for education believing that education in Africa can change things for the continent and opportunity must be given to all citizens’ right from the early stage.

“We believe that Africa has a lot of potentials and if we educate our people, it will be a foundation for growth. It is also important that ASR Africa has therefore chosen these areas to support African countries”.

ASR Africa also granted $500,000 to the Rebecca Foundation, an education development initiative of the Ghanaian first lady, Rebecca Akufo-Addo.

Also receiving the grant for Rebecca Foundation, Ghana’s first lady assured that the foundation will apply the fund appropriately and it will go a long way in changing many lives.