NEW YORK – Bill Gates and Bono, the richest man in the world and the world’s most famous rock star, made an appearance on Wednesday at the Forbes 400 Summit on Philanthropy and to discuss their joint efforts to combat global poverty. The pair met and answered questions from a forum of their peers including some of the world’s richest philanthropists.
The pair reminisced over the beginnings of their relationship, in which they agreed that at first Gates did not take Bono seriously as a philanthropist and admitted that he “did not make [meeting Bono]a top priority.”
Bono asserted that he first contacted Gates in an attempt to add professional credibility to his nonprofit organization and give it a more business-like structure. He recounted that he was shocked to learn at how important commerce and entrepreneurship are to addressing global poverty.
Bono recalled a meeting with Robert Rubin, the former U.S. Secretary of the Treasury, in which Rubin told him that to address global poverty the rock star would need a vast marketing campaign similar to advertising campaigns used by Nike and other large retail companies. Bono formed his nonprofit (RED), which has raised $207 million for HIV medication, by following this philosophy.
Both men stressed the idea that, while necessary, money alone is not the key to solving global poverty. They called on the members of the Forbes 400 Summit to use their brainpower for innovative entrepreneurial solutions, and emphasized the importance of technological innovations and collaboration with government as well.
When asked about concerns of corruption in the countries receiving aid, Gates said that corruption can be easily gauged in areas where there are measureable outcomes, such as health and agriculture. Aid in these areas will produce concrete outcomes, such as increased food production and healthier citizens. Gates also stated that in areas where philanthropists do not have to rely on the local government, they can operate with little to no corruption.
Gates and Bono are two wealthy, famous philanthropists who have dedicated a large portion of their lives to helping the world’s poor. The Forbes 400 Summit on Philanthropy gave Bono and Gates an opportunity to share their successes as philanthropists to encourage others to join in the fight to end poverty.
– Martin Drake
Photo: Huffington Post