JOHANNESBURG, South Africa — The Global Citizen Festival is an annual event that is part of a movement to end extreme poverty. Since 2012, contributors who have performed acts of charity on the Global Citizen’s website, like watching videos and signing petitions, are entered in a lottery-style competition to win a chance to attend the festival. The pledges at the Global Citizen Festival, Mandela 100, reached a record high as the 2018 festival brought its largest contingency of heads of state, dignitaries, artists and thousands of global citizens to celebrate the centenary of political leader and philanthropist Nelson Mandela.
Each year, festival-goers, both Global Citizen-selected charity participants as well as notable supporters like Barack Obama and Hugh Jackman, are treated to live performances and speeches from some of today’s most popular performers and biggest influencers. The annual event attunes to a theme, like equality and education, and sets a goal for charitable pledges.
The 2018 Global Citizens Festival
The Mandela 100 set a historic stage with music power couple Beyonce and Jay-Z headlining, as well as with other performances from Ed Sheeran, Pharrell and Chris Martin. The pledges at the Global Citizen festival surpassed the original goal of one billion dollars for women and children by seven times, aligning with Mandela’s passion for the future well-being of African countries.
The pledges at the Global Citizen Festival in South Africa will be used to combat the inequality that plagues Africa. Key speakers, like comedian Trevor Noah, reminded the crowd that the event was about more than the entertainment; it’s about honoring Mandela’s vision of eradicating poverty and bringing about change. Festival attendees did just that. The top donors include:
The Top 5 Donors of the 2018 Global Citizens Festival
Canadian Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau: Trudeau pledged $50 million to fight against poverty in Africa, setting a precedent as the first major leader to commit to Global Citizen’s cause. The donation will go towards EduCannotWait: The first global fund to ensure the availability of education during emergencies and times of crises.
Bill and Melinda Gates: Multi-billionaire and founder of Microsoft added $17 million to the pledges at the Global Citizen Festival. The Gates have an ongoing goal of raising awareness about and fighting neglected tropical disease in Africa. They anticipate that this donation will help 20 million people in countries like Nigeria and Ghana.
Denmark’s Ambassador to Southern Africa, Tobias Elling Rehfeld: Rehfeld was essential to the success of a campaign to not only improve but also ensure sexual and reproductive rights are improved for women across Africa in 2019. As a result, the Danish government pledged $7.6 million.
Vodacom: The African mobile communications company spotlighted some of Africa’s most predominate issues outside of health with their $3.5 billion pledge. The company used Twitter to raise awareness for pledges at the Global Citizens festival as well as problems gripping South Africa like gender-based violence, sanitation in schools and introducing digital literacy in education.
World Bank: The president of the World Bank, Jim Yong Kim, announced that the World Bank would donate $1 billion to health and education projects throughout Africa. Kim has long been a supporter of issues dealing with health and education. Previous to being president of the World Bank, Kim was the director of the World Health Organization’s HIV/AIDS department.
The pledges at the Global Citizen Festival reached an all-time high with donations soaring above the organization’s goal into the billions. Thanks to involvement from both on-ground volunteers to highly influential performers, the fight against global poverty will continue to strengthen.