Khalaf Ahmad Al Habtoor says he believes poverty is one of the world’s biggest threats. The well-known businessman and philanthropist is taking action into his own hands by leading a global fight against poverty. Joanna Andrews reports.
Khalaf Ahmad Al Habtoor launched a foundation in his name several years ago - the Khalaf Ahmad Al Habtoor Foundation (KAHF). The Foundation’s mission is to promote peace and improve living standards around the world. Alleviating poverty is one of its main goals.
Through the Foundation the Chairman has extended an invitation to well-known philanthropists around the world to join him in the fight against poverty. The invitees include the likes of Warren Buffett, Sir Richard Branson, Carlos Slim Helú and Bono, as well as world-renowned organisations directly involved in combating poverty - like the United Nations Development Program, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, World Economic Forum, The Ford Foundation, The Carter Center and others. Al Habtoor is also reaching out to top universities and academic institution who can assist him with implementation and research.
Khalaf Al Habtoor said, “We need to find ways to tackle this global problem which world leaders have ignored for far too long. Poverty is one of the biggest threats we face. So many of the world’s problems today are as a result – directly or indirectly – of poverty.”
Nearly half of the world’s population – roughly three billion people – live on less than $2.50 a day, and more than 1.3 billion people live on less - in extreme poverty. The United Nations predicts that the world’s population is expected to grow from around seven billion people today to 11 billion people by 2050, placing an even bigger burden on governments and the world’s ever scarcer natural resources.
Al Habtoor said, “Poverty is the root cause of many of the world’s problems; it breeds crime, and extremists are using it to their advantage by offering financial rewards to recruit people to commit acts of terror. Young, impressionable people, who are being denied a proper education, are being drawn into gangs and terror groups, with no chance of ever leaving. Until we get to grips with the issue of global poverty the world has little hope of winning the war on terror.”
Al Habtoor said he is looking at conducting a ‘Poverty Alleviation Roundtable’ event to gather information, share ideas and help identify the key issues on global poverty.
“My plan is ambitious, but it is something that we cannot ignore any longer,” he said, “All the world’s greatest faiths teach us to take care of the poor. This is something that benefits the entire world irrelevant of religion, race or geographic location. I welcome feedback from everyone as it is not something that can be done by one person alone.”