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Lebashe Investment Group chair Tshepo Mahloele. Picture: THAPELO MOREBUDI
Lebashe Investment Group chair Tshepo Mahloele. Picture: THAPELO MOREBUDI

SA’s Tshepo Mahloele is the new patron in Africa for the Global Citizen movement.

The announcement was made in Johannesburg early on Tuesday, with Mahloele accepting the appointment and pledging to work hard to mobilise governments, corporations and other world players to commit to the campaign that is fighting extreme poverty.

Mahloele will serve alongside Sandiaga Uno, Indonesia’s minister for tourism and creative economy, who will head the campaign in his country as part of this year’s Group of 20 (G20) summit.

The campaign will run for a year and will involve many major global events, including the Global Citizen Prize, Global Citizen NOW: Leadership Summit, the Global Citizen Festival 10th Anniversary in New York City and Africa and Global Citizen at the G20 Summit in Bali, Indonesia.

Mahloele will occupy the office for the next three years.

The End Extreme Poverty Now campaign was launched in Johannesburg and Lagos on Tuesday. Mahloele is chair and founder of Lebashe Investment Group and founder of Harith General Partners, the leading pan-African investor and developer of infrastructure across the continent.

We cannot continue to live in a cocoon of privilege and ignore the poor, the hungry, the needy, the thirsty, the disabled and the vulnerable women and children who are at the receiving end of gender-based violence
Tshepo Mahloele

“I am honoured and humbled to play a meaningful role that supports existing global efforts to deal with vaccine equity, challenges poverty and empowers young girls... It is about time these matters are brought back on the global agenda. I am happy that the Global Citizen movement has reignited the debate,” Mahloele said in his acceptance speech.

Mahloele said he was proud to have been selected to be part of a call for immediate action on extreme poverty, climate change and to empower girls across the world.

“I support the concept of being a global citizen — that we are in this together and we all must contribute to the positive changes needed. Africa is sitting on a ticking time bomb — poverty, inequality and unemployment of mostly the young. If we don’t do anything to alter the prospects of African citizens, this massive social bomb will explode on all of us. We are starting to experience the ramifications of the neglect ... especially in SA, where we’ve seen unprecedented unrest and sporadic social instability.”

Mahloele, who has worked in private equity for more than two decades, is ideally placed to mobilise resources and big business in the Global Citizen movement. He leads two platforms that have assets in media, technology, infrastructure development and financial services. Lebashe Investment Group owns Arena Holdings, publisher of the Sunday Times, Business Day and Sowetan. Gallo Music, which he also owns, is one of the oldest record labels in Africa, while Harith General Partners has an established track record of building signature projects across the energy, transport, digital infrastructure, health and water sectors.

“Our group has come to the realisation that we cannot continue to live in a cocoon of privilege and ignore the poor, the hungry, the needy, the thirsty, the disabled and the vulnerable women and children who are at the receiving end of gender-based violence,”  Mahloele said.

This year’s Global Citizen campaign is anchored on three pillars: defeating poverty now, empowering adolescent girls across the world and the vulnerable in Africa, and defending the planet. 

“They say charity begins at home. And my home is Africa. This is why we were moved to direct our platforms to join those who are doing something to fight poverty and inequality,” said Mahloele.

“We commit ourselves to using our voice, as one of Africa’s largest English-language news publishers, to drive the conversation on access to good health care, consistent education, nutritious food and clean water. These are the keys to ending extreme poverty.”

The movement is supported by deputy secretary-general of the UN Amina Mohammed; President Cyril Ramaphosa; Ghanaian President Nana Akufo-Addo, Zambian President Hakainde Hichilema; foreign minister of Nigeria Geoffrey Onyeama, Rwanda’s environment minister, Jeanne d’Arc Mujawamariya, and former executive director of UN Women Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka.

“We join global citizens in continuing our stewardship to ensure a better world and future for all,” said Ramaphosa in announcing his support for the campaign. “The past two years have highlighted the devastating impact on humanity when we choose individual goals over the global good. Together, we have to take concrete actions that will create a better future for our planet and its people, now.”

More information about the policy aims of the End Extreme Poverty NOW campaign can be found in a white paper released on Tuesday. To take action visit, globalcitizen.org/2022 and follow @glblctzn on Twitter.

TimesLIVE

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