Second Plenary – generating profits, jobs and equitable growth

Well, this morning’s plenary session was really pretty amazing – on stage, the Queen of Jordan, the President of Liberia, the Chairman of Coca Cola, Bono and Al Gore. All had some really interesting and inspiring stories to tell (save maybe for the chairman of Coke, who merely encouraged MNCs to continue investing and engaging in emerging markets). Al Gore pleaded with the youth to take part in acts of civil disobedience if the authorities weren’t changing course – his entire intervention, as well as that of Bono, was incredible.

Bono reminded us that we managed to find $700 billion last week to rescue Wall Street, but that we were having a hard time scrounging the $25 billion it would take to make a huge difference in the fight against AIDS, malaria and TB. While drawing this kind of comparison is a bit of a cheap shot (the stakes of non-intervention in Wall Street are different – and one could argue higher – than the stakes of saving the lives of children), the whole point of this first plenary (and I’d say of this entire conference) is to motivate and inspire those who have the ability to make things happen. I suppose that’s the reason that first session was entitled ” A Call to Action” and not “Deep Thoughts on Development Strategy”.

I unfortunately missed the working sessions, as I was called into some meetings for the Clinton Giustra Initiative, but now I’m back in the midst of it – another plenary is about to begin, and then, “A Conversation between Bill Gates and Bill Clinton about Giving”. Should be great.

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