The Gates Foundation, one of the world’s most powerful philanthropic organisations, has appointed Zimbabwean billionaire businessman Strive Masiyiwa to its board of trustees.
The foundation on Wednesday also named two other new members to its board of trustees: Thomas Tierney, the co-founder of Bridgespan Group, one of the nonprofit industry’s most powerful consultants; and Minouche Shafik, a former World Bank official who’s now director of the London School of Economics.
The establishment of the board was heralded last year as a necessary step after U.S. mega-mogul Bill Gates, and his estranged wife Melinda French Gates announced that they were divorcing. Warren E. Buffett resigned as the third trustee because he had an “inactive role.”
Furthermore, the foundation put in place measures to ensure it would continue to function, announcing that the ex-couple would add $15 billion to the $50 billion endowment over the next few years and added a nuclear option: French Gates would step down after two years if the two couldn’t work together, Al Jazeera reported
Mark Suzman, CEO of the $50-billion foundation, announced in the foundation’s inaugural annual letter that the creation of the board “represents an explicit recognition by Bill and Melinda, especially in the wake of their divorce, that the foundation will be well served by the addition of strong, independent voices to help shape our governance.”
“We are honoured that these three deeply knowledgeable and respected individuals have agreed to join the foundation board. They bring an incredible track record of impact across global business, philanthropy and development,” he added.
The foundation noted that they could add as many as nine members to the board of trustees in the future. “Talks are ongoing about adding to the initial slate to enhance representation across gender, geography and expertise,” the letter read in part.
The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, one of the world’s largest with its $50 billion endowment has been operating across the globe, focusing on health, gender and education. Over its 21 years of operation, the foundation has given out more than $60 billion in grants in areas like global public health and agriculture. It recently donated over $2 billion to combat the deadly Covid-19 pandemic and paid out $6.7 billion in 2021, the most ever in a single year.
Masyiwa, the founder of Econet Group and Liquid Intelligent Technologies, said in the statement that he’s worked with the foundation for 20 years, “beginning with efforts to improve agricultural production for more than 400 million smallholder farmers in Africa, to improving livelihoods for the poorest people across Africa and the world.”
The Zimbabwean billionaire who became the first black billionaire to enter the Sunday Times Rich List with a net worth of £1.087 billion last year, recently signed the Giving Pledge, a pledge created by Gates and Buffet to give away more than half of their wealth.
source: Business Insider Africa