Gates Calls for Collaboration Between Businesses, Governments, Not-For-Profits To Help Curb Poverty, Improve Health WorldwideProduct RED -- which benefits the Global Fund To Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria -- exemplifies a new kind of "creative capitalism" that could help eradicate poverty worldwide, Bill Gates, co-founder of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, said on Thursday at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, the Seattle Post-Intelligencer reports. "We have to find a way to make the aspects of capitalism that serve wealthier people serve poorer people as well," Gates told an audience of corporate executives and politicians at the forum, adding, "I like to call this idea creative capitalism." Gates explained how businesses can expand the reach of market forces to provide the benefits of science and technology to people worldwide.
Gates at the forum said that the newly launched partnership between Dell, Microsoft and Product RED illustrates this new kind of capitalism, the Post-Intelligencer reports (Moore, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, 1/24). Dell and Microsoft earlier this week announced that on Friday, they will begin selling two Product RED laptops and one desktop computer that run Microsoft Windows Vista. The companies will provide the Global Fund with $50 for each laptop sold and $80 for each desktop. The computers were designed in part by Irish musician and Product RED co-founder Bono.
Microsoft said that it expects "several hundred thousand" of the Dell computers to be sold in 2008. After the computers go on sale on Jan. 25 in the U.S., they will be available in 30 additional countries on Jan. 31 (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 1/24).
According to Gates, RED-branded products have generated about $50 million for the Global Fund during the last year and a half. "As a result, nearly two million people in Africa are receiving lifesaving drugs today," Gates said (Seattle Post-Intelligencer, 1/24). He added that the "world is getting better in many crucial ways. I am an optimist. But I am an impatient optimist. Things are not getting better fast enough, and they are not getting better for everyone" (Elliott, Guardian, 1/25).
Gates also on Friday announced that his foundation will award $306 million in grants to fund projects to improve soil quality, milk production, irrigation and seed development in a number of African and Asian countries, AFP/Economic Times reports (AFP/Economic Times, 1/25). "If we are serious about ending extreme hunger and poverty around the world, we must be serious about transforming agriculture for small farmers -- most of whom are women," Gates said in a statement (Heim, Seattle Times, 1/25).
Business coalitions have become highly effective in helping companies address the challenges of HIV/AIDS in the workplace, according to a report released on Thursday by WEF's Global Health Initiative, Xinhuanet reports. The report is the first to examine global business coalitions and their role in supporting the private sector to combat HIV/AIDS, Xinhuanet reports. More than 40% of business coalitions have launched during the past two years, and more than 60% have launched during the last five years, according to Xinhuanet. The WEF report includes reviews of different coalition's organizational, governance, membership and financial models. It also outlines best practices and highlights the challenges in supporting the private sector.
According to the report, four regional and 47 national business coalitions have been formed, and when combined, they are helping more than one million companies implement workplace HIV/AIDS programs. The report highlights five points for current and developing coalitions to effectively support businesses in fighting HIV/AIDS:
- Establish a coalition based on national HIV prevalence and the effect on local businesses;
- Involve all relevant stakeholders up front;
- Provide continued private sector engagement and investment;
- Tailor the business model and services to the changing environment; and
- Seek to build skills and expertise within the company.
"By placing a spotlight on the increasingly important role that business coalitions are playing in the response to AIDS around the world, we hope that this global report will spur further engagement and action by businesses," Richard Samans, managing director at the forum, said, adding, "Business coalitions help individual companies respond to the pandemic more effectively through collaboration, in particular by providing them with tools and processes that have been developed and tested in practice by their peers" (Xinhuanet, 1/25). This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.