By Hillary Latos
Billionaires, Presidents & Prime Ministers of leading nations, political, economic and social entrepreneurs all working to improve the state of the world gathered at the World Economic Forum’s annual meeting in Davos Switzerland. In total there were 309 private jets flying to Davos with 119 billionaires and 53 heads of state, including US President Trump and German Chancellor Angela Merkel attending. According to a report published by Oxfam International ahead of the World Economic Forum’s annual meeting, the worlds 2,153 billionaires have more wealth than the 4.6 billion people who make up 60% of the global population.
The World Economic Forum is known for attracting billionaires who are committed to helping improve the world. Bill Gates and Warren Buffet are regular attendees and have initiated the “Giving Pledge” and are encouraging other billionaires to give away most of their assets in their lifetimes such as George Soros, Stephen Schwarzman & Mark Zuckerberg. Mark Zuckerberg has pledged to give away over 99% of his Facebook shares valued at over $45 billion in his lifetime and made the following comment on his Facebook page after doing so “Our society has an obligation to invest now to improve the lives of all those coming into this world, not just those already here.” Bill & Melinda Gates have set an example for other billionaires to follow with their efforts to solve global problems using the Gates Foundation with $40 billion of assets, making it the largest endowment of any foundation.
The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, like the World Economic Forum, is a global organization set on solving global problems with the foundation being a leader in combating the spread of infectious diseases including malaria, polio and HIV. Bill and Melinda Gates believe strongly that every life has equal value, irrespective of wealth, location or influence and the foundation works to help people lead healthy productive lives by improving their health and giving individual’s opportunities to lift themselves out of a cycle of hunger, poverty and disease.
The week in Davos had global leaders focused on solving other issues including climate change, eliminating plastic in the oceans, achieving gender parity, and encouraging leaders of countries and corporations to set sustainable goals to solve the looming ecological crisis facing the planet. Impact investing for both profit and the good of the world as well as stakeholder capitalism were some key themes discussed at Davos with the World Economic Forum formally releasing a new Davos Manifesto stating that “Companies should pay their fair share of taxes, show zero tolerance for corruption, uphold human rights throughout their global supply chains, and advocate for a competitive level playing field – particularly in the “platform economy.”
At the end of a busy week in Davos much was accomplished by world leaders. Billionaire Sandro Salsano, sometimes known as the Warren Buffet of Central America, gave a short interview from Davos on his efforts to solve global problems. You can watch that video above or through this link – https://vimeo.com/387595721.