Indonesian billionaire chips in to help Global Fund | Asia Pacific

Indonesian billionaire chips in to help Global Fund

Indonesian billionaire chips in to help Global Fund

Updated 22 October 2013, 13:52 AEDT

Indonesia's Health Minister says she hopes a large private charity donation by one of the country's richest men will inspire others to follow his lead.

Dr Tahir has donated 75 million US dollars towards programs for Indonesia's most needy, with the bulk of it going to The Global Fund to fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria.

The billionaire's gift is the largest donation the Fund has ever received from an individual in a developing country... and its already been matched by another billionaire.

Presenter:Bill Birtles

Speakers: Nafsiah Mboi, Indonesia's Health Minister and chair of the Global Fund to fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria; Nua Amalia, Indonesia Philanthropy Association

BIRTLES: The Indonesian banking and property mogul Dato Sri Tahir is no stranger to giving away money. The 62-year-old's wealth is estimated to be around 2 billion US dollars, and he's previously donated more than 50 million dollars to universities across Asia and in the US.

But his latest donation is aimed squarely at Indonesia's most vulnerable.

Tahir has announced a 75 million US dollar donation, ten million for family planning, and 65 million for The Global Fund to fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria.

Dr Nafsiah Mboi is Indonesia's Health Minister and the Global Fund Chair.

MBOI: I think outside of the US this is the first time there's been this sort of donation and also the largest, but we're looking forward to more contributions from the private sector, because this is exactly the time for us to be optimistic that we can defeat the three diseases'.

BIRTLES: And what sort of work does that money go directly towards, can you give me an idea on the ground how that money will be spent?

MBOI: For instance, against HIV and AIDS, we have prevention, structural intervention working with men, high risk men, and also working with the sex workers in brothels. Besides that we also have prevention activities that we call harm reduction among people who inject drugs. Since 2003, the Global Fund has already supported indonesia for HIV and thousands of people are on anti-retroviral treatment. For malaria, 8.8 million bednets distributed; and for TB, for instance, during the same years 1.3 million been detected as well as treated.

BIRTLES:Tahir's donation is being matched by a slightly more famous billionaire. Bill Gates through the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is also donating 65 million dollars to the Global Fund.

Mr Gates has been leading a push in recent years to encourage Asia's emerging billionaires to donate more money to charity.

Nua Amalia from the Indonesia Philanthropy Association says there's a strong Islamic tradition of giving to the poor in Indonesia.

AMALIA: 'The subject of philanthropy isn't too familiar in Indonesia, particularly for social welfare. In Indonesia almost more than 50 per cent of philanthropy goes to religious activities, but for us as the Indonesia Philanthropy Association, we try to encourage wealthy people not just to give for religious activity but also for welfare activities of the people'.

BIRTLES:She says a large private donation to an international charity is unusual for Indonesia.

But international NGOs may come to rely on these sorts of contributions more and more.

Nafsiah Mboi says as sluggish growth continues in Europe and the US, wealthy individuals in Asia will be encouraged to give more generously.

MBOI: 'There are still people who are doing well, and are still willing to contribute if they see their contribution is being put to good use'.

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