Gates Foundation CEO: Just 0.5% of world billionaires’ wealth prevents 7 million deaths 


Shafi Musaddique


Gates Foundation CEO Mark Suzman has urged the world’s richest to give up more of their wealth to fight poverty, inequality and disease. Just an extra 0.5 per cent of billionaire giving could prevent 7 million deaths from the most extreme diseases and climate challenges.  

An increase of $1 billion in additional giving from the wealthiest could save the lives of 2 million additional mothers and babies by 2030, while $4 billion could help half a billion smallholder farmers become more climate resilient and reduce greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture by gigaton a year by 2030, according to Suzman. 

In his annual letter, Suzman said one of the “most exciting parts” of philanthropy is that “it has the flexibility to adapt quickly and take risks others can’t, which can accelerate progress.” 

The Gates Foundation plans to spend $8.6 billion in 2024, a 4 per cent rise. Its board has pledged to increase the annual payout to $9 billion by 2026. 

The foundation is expected to spend its $67.3 billion endowment after the deaths of Bill Gates and Melinda French Gates, reiterated by Suzman in his letter.  

Bill Gates says he expects to have given away all his personal fortune over the next 20 years. His personal net worth is $142 billion. 

Forbes’ 37th annual 2023 World’s Billionaires List recently revealed that the net worth of the world’s 2,640 billionaires is at least $12.2 trillion. 

Suzman cited Irish-American philanthropist Charles “Chuck” Feeney as an inspiration for the foundation’s spending goals.  

Feeney died last year aged 92, after giving his $8 billion wealth, keeping $2 million to himself. He was known to have lived modestly and took part in cross-community work leading to the Good Friday Agreement in Northern Ireland.  

Shafi Musaddique is news editor at Alliance magazine.

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