Africa: Gates Foundation Wants Global Philanthropists to Give More

The foundation’s CEO suggests that with a little more than $7 billion, philanthropists could get vaccines to 300 million people.

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has called for increased philanthropic giving to advance solutions proven to save and improve millions of lives.

According to the CEO of the foundation, Mark Suzman, in an official statement Thursday, philanthropists need to give more to meet the unprecedented challenges nations across the globe face in combating poverty, eradicating disease, and fighting inequality.

Possible impacts

Citing the Forbes’ 37th annual 2023 World’s Billionaires List, which revealed that the net worth of the world’s 2,640 billionaires is at least $12.2 trillion, Mr Suzman suggests that with just $1 billion in additional giving, philanthropists could save the lives of 2 million additional mothers and babies by 2030.

He noted that with $4 billion, philanthropists could help half a billion smallholder farmers become more climate resilient and reduce greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture by or gigaton a year by 2030.

He also added that with a little more than $7 billion, they could get vaccines to 300 million people, preventing at least 7 million deaths.

“Philanthropy can take risks and help fill gaps that would otherwise be overlooked or underfunded,” Mr Suzman was quoted as saying. “We have the opportunity to realize the full potential of philanthropy at the moment when the world needs it most.”

Improved funding

As part of efforts to respond to compounding global crises and accelerate progress, the Gates Foundation said it is stepping up its funding support, as its board of trustees recently approved a 2024 budget of $8.6 billion.

According to the statement, the 2024 funding is the largest which the foundation will use to fund innovative ways to save and improve lives.

“In 2022, the foundation announced its intent to increase its annual payout to $9 billion by 2026, and it is committed to spending down its endowment within 20 years of its founders’ deaths to focus on solving urgent problems now and helping set up sustainable systems for the future,” the statement read.

Mr Suzman also highlights the growth and evolution of philanthropy globally, citing organisations such as the African Philanthropy Forum which is helping African donors work together to drive inclusive, sustainable development across the continent and foundations based in countries like India, China, and Singapore are taking on more local and global problems.

“The philanthropic ecosystem looks different than it did when I started doing this work over 15 years ago, and that’s a good thing,” he said. “Donors worldwide are bringing bold vision and lived experience to complex challenges.”

Mr Suzman also observed that nearly half the world’s countries participate in Giving Tuesday, a movement that has facilitated more than $13 billion in donations since 2012.

“Today’s world has no shortage of complex problems to be tackled or innovators ready to take them on. But without generous investment and persistent support, great ideas remain just that: ideas,” he said.

“If more people step up their commitments and focus their resources on the areas of greatest need, those ideas can translate to impact.”

About Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation works to help all people lead healthy, productive lives. In developing countries, it focuses on improving people’s health and giving them the chance to lift themselves out of hunger and extreme poverty.

In the United States, it seeks to ensure that all people–especially those with the fewest resources–have access to the opportunities they need to succeed in school and life. Based in Seattle, Washington, the foundation is led by CEO Mark Suzman, under the direction of Co-chairs Bill Gates and Melinda French Gates and the board of trustees.

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