Former U.S. President Bill Clinton hopes his philanthropic “summit” this week will help press governments to honor their aid commitments in rebuilding quake-ravaged Haiti.
Discussing Haiti’s rehabilitation “might help shake loose some of the donor commitments from the governments,” Clinton told Reuters in an interview. Clinton will hold a special session on the recovery of Haiti with Haitian President Rene Preval and Prime Minister Jean-Max Bellerive at the Clinton Global Initiative 2010 annual meeting, which kicks off today (Sept. 21) and runs through Wednesday.
Heads of state such as U.S. President Barack Obama, business leaders including Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates, as well as humanitarians and celebrities will attend the CGI meeting in New York.
Clinton said: “There is a lot of money that has been promised to Haiti, but not much has been given. Almost all that has been given has been for the emergency phase. Now we’re into rebuilding … but we need the donors to come up with the money.”
The former U.S. president also hopes to secure pledges for flood-hit Paksitan during the meeting.
“They didn’t get the response that Haiti got partly because of donor fatigue and partly because there’s apprehension in our part of the world about whether the money could be effectively spent,” he said.
Meanwhile, billionaire Richard Branson urged the world to assist Zimbabwe, which is reeling from political woes.
Virgin Unite, the philanthropic arm of Branson’s Virgin Group, has helped establish Enterprise Zimbabwe, a nonprofit group that links philanthropists and commercial investors with business and social development opportunities.
The CGI meeting in New York will see the official launching of Enterprise Zimbabwe.
“Zimbabwe is a magnificent country that has had a really rough few years and either the world can continue to wait and see and not invest … or the world can help (Prime Minister) Morgan Tsvangirai and the coalition government get Zimbabwe back on its feet,” Branson told Reuters in an interview.