Oct 27, 2021 - Economy & Business

UN food chief: 2% of Elon Musk's fortune would help ease hunger crisis

Elon Musk, chief executive officer of Tesla Inc., departs from court for the SolarCity trial in Wilmington, Delaware, U.S., on Monday, July 12

SpaceX and Tesla CEO Elon Musk in Wilmington, Del., in July. Photo: Al Drago/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos and other billionaires should donate 0.36% of their net worth to help save 42 million people from starvation, the UN's World Food Program (WFP) director said in an interview with CNN on Tuesday.

Why it matters: "We have a one-time crisis, a perfect storm of conflict, climate change and COVID" and America's super-rich need to "step up" with a one-time donation to help solve that, WFP chief David Beasley told CNN's "Connect the World."

  • World hunger reached a 15-year-high in 2020, according to a United Nations report this year that outlined how the pandemic has reversed years of progress in global malnutrition.

Driving the news: Beasley said Amazon chief Bezos' net worth rose last year by $64 billion — and that SpaceX and Tesla CEO Musk saw a $6 billion net worth increase in one day last week.

  • "$6 billion to help 42 million people that are literally going to die if we don't reach them," he said to CNN's Becky Anderson. "It's not complicated."

By the numbers: Based on Bloomberg's calculations that Musk has a net worth of nearly $289 billion, CNN noted that this equated to 2% of his wealth.

  • Beasley said the top 400 billionaires in the U.S. saw a net worth increase of $1.8 trillion in the past year.
"The world is in trouble and you're telling me you can't give me .36% of your net worth increase to help the world [that's] in trouble at a time like this?"

Of note: Beasley's comments follow his tweet to Musk calling on him to help last week after the billionaire surpassed Bezos as the world’s richest person last week, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.

  • Representatives for Musk and Bezos did not immediately respond to Axios' request for comment.
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