Wealthy philanthropists have the potential to do more than the Group of Eight leading nations to lift Africa out of poverty, according to Jeff Sachs, special adviser to the United Nations secretary-general.
Mr Sachs told the Financial Times that the financial clout of the likes of Microsoft’s Bill Gates and international investor Warren Buffett, who have pledged billions of dollars to global health and education, could eclipse flagging governmental initiatives.
“The Rockefeller Foundation was the world’s most important development institution of the 20th century, and the Gates Foundation can be that of the 21st century,” he said. “Gates can make a huge difference if they hit the right model.”
Mr Sachs proposed that other, less wealthy people could contribute to a new private sector foundation that could help speed the elimination of diseases and tackle specific challenges.
“There are 950 billionaires whose wealth is estimated at $3.5 trillion [$3,500bn]. An annual 5 per cent ‘foundation’ payout would be $175bn per year – that would do it. Then we don’t need the G8 but 950 people on the Forbes list,” said Mr Sachs.
[Excerpt of an article by By Leyla Boulton and James Lamont, The Financial Times]