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Not Rocket Science

Musk and Bezos make separate grand gestures over global hunger

Amazon founder Jeff Bezos has also offered millions to tackle desertification

BILLIONAIRES ELON MUSK and Jeff Bezos have made separate offers worth billions of dollars to help tackle desertification and world hunger. 

Tesla founder Musk has said he will sell six billion dollars (£4.4 billion) worth of the company’s stock and donate the proceeds to the United Nations’ food agency if it can show how the money would solve world hunger.

His statement came after UN World Food Programme executive director David Beasley challenged Musk, Amazon founder Jeff Bezos and other billionaires in a CNN interview last week, calling on them to step up on “a one-time basis” to help end starvation.

Beasley said billionaires could give “six billion dollars to help 42 million people that are literally going to die if we don’t reach them”.

“It’s not complicated,” he said.

Musk, the world’s richest person, posted on Twitter: “If WFP can describe on this Twitter thread exactly how $6B will solve world hunger, I will sell Tesla stock right now and do it.”

He added: “But it must be open source accounting, so the public sees precisely how the money is spent,” he added.

Beasley responded on Twitter that six billion dollars will not solve world hunger, “but it WILL prevent geopolitical instability, mass migration and save 42 million people on the brink of starvation”.

It’s unclear whether a meeting will be set.

Land pledge

Meanwhile, Amazon’s Bezos is set to pledge £732 million for land restoration in Africa.

At an event at COP 26 in Glasgow alongside the Prince of Wales, French President Emmanuel Macron and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, the billionaire said he would match a previous donation made through his Bezos Earth Fund.

The fund has pledged 10 billion dollars (£7 million) to tackle climate change. 

The event focuses on the Great Green Wall initiative, which aims to plant more than 20 million trees across 8,000 kilometres the width of Africa, to tackle desertification.

He told attendees, who also included the president of Nigeria, the president of Mauritania and representatives of the World Bank and African Development Bank, action must be taken to ensure the next decade is not one that is seen as “indecisive”.

“Last month, I committed a billion dollars in grants to support nature conservation and will be starting with the Congo basin countries and the tropical Andes,” he said.

“Tomorrow we will be making an equivalent commitment to landscape restoration with a major focus on Africa.

“We want to work with the major platforms that are already established and ready for scaling, including Africa 100 and the Great Green Wall.”

He added: “We all know that this is the decisive decade, but without action, it will become the indecisive decade.

“We can’t let that happen.

“Please consider us an ally for this important cause.”

Bezos drew criticism from climate activists earlier this year after using a project he funded to go to space.

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