We think that the emergence of heavyweight philanthropy in the developing world is a major part of the philanthrocapitalism revolution. Two big recent announcements caught our eye.
First, that the 2008 Mo Ibrahim Prize for African leadership has gone to Festus Gontebanye Mogae, the former president of Botswana, a country that has managed its natural resource wealth better than most and has long been seen as an African success story. The citation pays particular attention to President Mogae’s leadership in tackling HIV and AIDS – while Botswana’s HIV prevalence rate remains above 30%, it actually started to fall last year – although his term in office was not entirely without controversy, according to the BBC.
Second the Indian industrialist Ratan Tata, whose family has a long tradition of philanthropy, has just announced a $50 million donation to Cornell University to support research into agricultural development in India. Given that one of the great successes in philanthropy was the Green Revolution in agriculture in Asia led by the Rockefeller Foundation, it’s an interesting development for an Asian philanthropist to be funding a US University to build on this achievement (although Rockefeller also announced two new grants last week as part of its new programme to launch a Green Revolution in Africa).