By Oluwafunke Ishola
Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF) has urged philanthropists to increase giving to meet the unprecedented challenges nations across the globe face in combating poverty, eradicating disease, and fighting inequality.
The Chief Executive Officer of the foundation, Mark Suzman, made the call in the foundation’s annual letter published on Thursday.
Suzman noted that since COVID-19 pandemic struck, the world has seen a backslide in progress at a time when low-income countries have fewer resources to meet basic human needs.
“And yet, there is a robust pipeline of health and technological innovations and proven solutions that could be scaled up or catalysed with the advent of additional philanthropic dollars.
“Philanthropy can take risks and help fill gaps that would otherwise be overlooked or underfunded.
“We have the opportunity to realise the full potential of philanthropy at the moment when the world needs it most,” Suzman said.
He cited a Forbes report that revealed that the net worth of the world’s 2,640 billionaires was at least $12.2 trillion.
Suzman points out that with just $1 billion in additional giving—a tiny fraction of that amount — philanthropists could fund a set of high-impact, low-cost interventions that could save the lives of two million additional mothers and babies by 2030.
“With $4 billion, they could help half a billion smallholder farmers become more climate resilient and reduce greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture by one gigaton a year by 2030.
“With a little more than $7 billion, they could get vaccines to 300 million people, preventing at least seven million deaths,” he said.
Suzman said the Gates Foundation had stepped up its funding support to respond to compounding global crises.
“Earlier this month, the Gates Foundation’s board of trustees approved a 2024 budget of $8.6 billion—the largest ever—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,” he said.
Suzman highlights the growth and evolution of philanthropy globally, citing organisations such as the African Philanthropy Forum that is helping African donors work together to drive inclusive, sustainable development across the continent.
He said 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.
“Donors around the world are bringing bold vision and lived experience to complex challenges,” he said.
According to him, small donations made by millions of people worldwide are also having an enormous impact.
Suzman noted that nearly half the world’s countries participate in Giving Tuesday, a movement that facilitated over $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.
“If more people step up their commitments and focus their resources on the areas of greatest need, those ideas can translate to impact,” he said.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the Gates Foundation is guided by the belief that every life has equal value, and 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. (NAN)(www.nannews.ng)
Edited by Chinyere Joel-Nwokeoma