January 17, 2007

GLOBAL GIVING

Questions for Gates Foundation, Nigeria Funds

Although the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation spends millions on health and anti-poverty campaigns in Africa, the charity also derives almost half of its $35 billion endowment from investments in oil companies blamed for widespread pollution and health problems there.

In a letter to the Los Angeles Times, CEO Patty Stonesifer defended the investments, saying that it is “naive” to think that stockholders can affect corporate practices.

In Nigeria, presidential candidate Atiku Abubakar was indicted for his alleged role in the disappearance of $125 million meant to combat a “brain drain” of oil and gas industry experts; he claims outgoing president Olusegun Obasanjo spent it to illegally bankroll a third elected term.

Sources:

“Gates Foundation may shift billions into ethical stocks”
Guardian (U.K.), January 12, 2007

“Gates Foundation to keep its investment approach”
Los Angeles Times, January 14, 2007

“Science and technology millions missing in Nigeria”
SciDev.Net (U.K.), January 13, 2007

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