World leaders pledge $7.2bn at Global Citizen Festival

Beyonce`. (Photo: Getty Images/Gallo Images)
Beyonce`. (Photo: Getty Images/Gallo Images)

Johannesburg – On Sunday, 2 December, the Global Citizen Festival: Mandela 100 featured some of the biggest artists and advocates onstage for the first-ever Global Citizen Festival on the African continent. 

World and business leaders, non-profit organisations, socially conscious artists, and thousands of Global Citizens united and recommitted to achieving the Global Goals for Sustainable Development and ending extreme poverty by 2030. 

The festival featured headlining performances by Beyoncé & Jay-Z, Cassper Nyovest, D'banj, Ed Sheeran, Eddie Vedder, Femi Kuti, Kacey Musgraves, Pharrell Williams & Chris Martin, Sho Madjozi, Tiwa Savage, Usher & Black Coffee, and Wizkid.

Hosted by Trevor Noah, co-hosts included Naomi Campbell, Sir Bob Geldof, Danai Gurira, Gayle King, Bonang Matheba, Tyler Perry, Nomzamo Mbatha, Anele Mdoda, and Dave Chapelle. 

More than 75 000 Global Citizens attended, and millions watched and listened live in over 180 countries through premier broadcast partners SABC, Multichoice, Viacom’s MTV, MSNBC, iHeartMedia and Canal+. 


In the months leading up to the Global Citizen Festival, Global Citizens took over 5.65 million actions leading to 58 commitments and announcements worth R163trn ($7.2bn), which are set to affect the lives of 137.4 million people.

Global Citizens will continue to use these commitments to hold governments and businesses accountable to deliver on their promises in the years to come.

Global Citizen surpassed its goal for commitments of $1bn by seven times, with commitments from the World Bank, Vodacom, PEPFAR, Cisco, the government of South Africa and not to mention co-hosts of Mandela 100, the Motsepe Foundation. These donations alone added $5.4bn on top of projected new commitments. 



Cyril Ramaphosa, President of South Africa, and former anti-apartheid leader alongside Nelson Mandela, addressed FNB Stadium and viewers around the world with a message of Global Citizenship, committing R2m for youth in South Africa, and announcing the government’s intention to spend R6bn to provide free access to school for poor children in South Africa.


In the lead up to the Mandela Festival, the City of Johannesburg wanted to commemorate Nelson Mandela’s legacy by making a commitment to expanding its primary healthcare programmes that provide access to healthcare for the City’s poorest communities. To this end, “in January 2019, the City will be tabling a budget adjustment to increase the allocation to the Department of Health and Social Development by R50m to expand these programmes in order to reach more residents.”


President of Kenya, His Excellency Uhuru Kenyatta addressed the thousands of Global Citizens via video message with one firm answer and pledged to maintain call upon his administration to maintain Kenya's education budget to 30% of its total budget.


In closing the SDG High Level Dinner, and in response to calls to address stunting and malnutrition, the Government General Secretary of Madagascar announced a commitment of $40m towards nutrition over the next 3 years.


At the SDG2 High Level Dinner - Building on Madiba’s Legacy: Ending Hunger and Malnutrition on the African Continent dinner leading up to Mandela 100, Ms. Valerie Guarnieri of the United States - Assistant Executive Director of the World Food Programme addressed the guests and stressed the need for governments to take control of nutrition. On behalf of the Government of Namibia, Ms. Guarnieri announced its commitment to fully fund its school program for 365 000 pre-primary and primary kids in more than 1 400 schools at a cost of $7m a year.


Director General of the Cross River State Primary Health Care Agency, Dr. Chimaobim Betta Edu addressed the thousands of Global Citizens and announced that she would commit $3m for every year for the next five years, for a total of $15m for sanitation in Cross River State. She ended with a call to action for other Nigerian governors to join Cross River to champion this issue.


His Excellency, Julius Maada Bio, the president of Sierra Leone reaffirmed that the country will spend 21% of its total budget on education in 2018 - totalling $165m. He also committed to raising this budget to 21.5% in 2019.


Honourable Minister of General Education and Instruction of South Sudan, Deng Deng Hoc Yai announced that South Sudan will commit to allocating an additional 5% of the annual budget to education in training for civil servants. The Minister also announced that the country hopes to allocate more than 10% of its annual budget in 2019 - aiming to increase to 15% in the next 5 years.


In response to 101 048 actions by Global Citizens since June this year, the Taoiseach of Ireland, Leo Varadkar, via video message announced that the government of Ireland would increase its aid budget by a monumental 15% in 2019.


Addressing thousands of Global Citizens via a video message on Twitter, Chancellor Angela Merkel committed to doubling Germany’s contribution to the Global Partnership for Education and the Education Cannot Wait Fund to a total of €68m.


On the eve of the Mandela 100, The Government of South Africa and the Global Fund, in partnership with Global Citizen held an ‘Investing in Women and Girls: A World AIDS Day Celebration’. At the event, Prime Minister Erna Solberg of Norway committed USD $2.07m to UNFPA Supplies to bring total up to $20 070 000 by 2020. The commitment will go towards closing the international gap to UNFPA Supplies, which we know is important, to bring up the total sum to over $20m and we know that our commitment will reach another 235 000 women and adolescent girls with contraceptive methods.


Alexander De Croo, Deputy Prime Minister of Belgium, announced that they would invest in women and girls an additional €43m. This will go towards sexual and reproductive health and rights and family planning initiatives around the world. Mr De Croo also committed another €5m towards fighting tropical diseases and announced that the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation will be matching this amount.



Significant strides were made to #FundEducation, with Sierra Leone committing to increase its education budget to 21.5%, Canada committing $50 000 000 CAD to Education Cannot Wait, and Germany committing to double its funding of the Global Partnership for Education from €18m to €37m and increase its funding of Education Cannot Wait by €15m for a total of €31m. The government of Kenya also made a bold commitment to spend close to 30% of its budget on education.


A number of significant pledges were made in the fight against HIV/AIDS. Ambassador Deborah Birx, on behalf of the United States, made an historic commitment of $1.2bn channelled through The United States President’s Emergency Plan for Aids Relief (PEPFAR) on Global Citizen’s stage. The $1.2bn pledge over two years will help to address the largest HIV epidemic in the world and cements the United States as a global leader in the fight against HIV/AIDS. It is the largest pledge the US government has made to HIV/AIDS. Alongside this pledge, the Global Fund committed $369m.


Prime Minister of Mozambique, Carlos Agostinho do Rosário, announced a pledge of $30m as a result of a public-private partnership between the governments of Mozambique, Eswatini, South Africa, Global Fund, BMGF, and Goodbye Malaria. 


The fight to end debilitating, disfiguring, and fatal Neglected Tropical Diseases took a big step forward with impressive commitments from the END Fund, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, UK Aid, Virgin Unite, the Children's Investment Fund Foundation, the Alma Foundation, Ghana, and Belgium worth $139.3m.



On behalf of Will Smith, Honourable Minister Deng Deng Hoc Yai also announced a $750 000 USD commitment to the Education Cannot Wait fund. Will Smith “understands the importance of education, and bravely bungee jumped over the Grand Canyon in September for the Education Cannot Wait initiative to help countries like mine provide education in emergencies.”


Trevor Noah announced that the Trevor Noah Foundation, which has renovated schools and provided access to technology and career training for young people, would start providing support to teachers as well. In a commitment to last until the end of the month, Trevor Noah pledged to match every dollar donated to the Foundation up until R2m.


Dr. Jim Kim, on behalf of the World Bank Group, made a significant commitment of an additional $1bn next year for health and education in Africa.


The hosting and presenting partner of the Global Citizen Festival: Mandela 100 announced a series of massive commitments totalling over $104.4m. These commitments, announced by Dr. Precious Motsepe and Patrice Motsepe are set to advance education, economic inclusion, and equality of women and girls, as well as ensure that current land discussions and processes in South Africa will result in land being made available to black people living in rural and urban areas.


President Akufo-Addo of Ghana stated that 57 governments endorsed a new international declaration, the Paris Call for Trust and Security in Cyberspace to work collectively towards a common goal of protecting cyberspace. The President announced Ghana's support for the Paris Call and urged other nations to join.Commonwealth Secretary-General, Baroness Scotland also announced that as of today 8 Commonwealth countries had joined the Paris Call and the “leaders of all 53 members had unanimously adopted the Commonwealth Cyber Declaration - strengthening their individual and collective capability to tackle threats to cybernsecurity.”P&G:P&G announced that they would triple their spending in South Africa with women-owned businesses and spend $30m over the next three years.HP:Managing Director of HP Inc., Nigeria Ify Afe announced that with partners like the UN Industrial Development Organisation, it has established technology-enabled innovation centres in Africa so that entrepreneurs are able to learn the skills needed to build a business or to find employment. However, Johannesburg served as the perfect place for HP to commit to empowering another 100 000 learners over the next 3 years. CISCO:Cisco’s Networking Academy has helped to create opportunities for people around the world through training that helps train individuals with important 21st century skills. To date, Cisco has trained over 9 million people with technical skills; and at Global Citizen Festival Mandela 100, Cisco committed to preparing 10 million people worldwide to work and thrive in the digital economy over 5 years.


Vodacom CEO Shameel Joosub and GCO, Corporate Affairs for Vodacom Takalani Netshitenzhe announced that Vodacom will be supporting South African President Ramaphosa’s investment in digital technologies by “pledging $34 813 367 in fighting gender-based violence;enhancing sanitation in schools; and enhancing digital literacy for teachers, learners, youth, and in early childhood development centres.” Takalani also announced that Vodacom will be partnering with the South African Government to ensure that children have access to safe pit latrines. 

Additionally, Nomzamo Mbatha presented the first Call-To-Action for the evening announcing for every retweet of her post, Vodacom would donate R1 to the issue of pit latrines, up to R500 000. 


Nedbank committed R5m towards the vaccination of children through its partnership with the Nelson Mandela Children's Fund.


In response to the President Ramaphosa Investment Drive, Vodacom committed R50bn over the next five years to go towards deploying a fibre network, 4G and 5G technologies around the country. Half of this will be spent on rural under-served communities in South Africa.


Through WEConnect International, Intel, Procter & Gamble, and Accenture all committed to focusing on spending more on women-owned businesses, and especially those in developing countries including South Africa.

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