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UN food director says he’s ‘not picking on’ Elon Musk in new plea for financial help

The director of the United Nations’ World Food Programme, David Beasley (left), says he isn’t trying to ‘pick on’ Elon Musk (right), whom he is asking to help the world’s hungry (Pictures: Getty Images)

The director of the United Nations’ food program says he isn’t trying to pick on billionaires like Elon Musk – he’s just pleading for them to use their wealth to help the world’s hungry.

UN World Food Programme (WFP) Director David Beasley chastised billionaires like Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk and Amazon founder Jeff Bezos last week during an interview with CNN. In the interview, Beasley asked the world’s wealthiest men to help combat world hunger.

‘I’m not picking on them,’ Beasley said in a second interview with CNN on Tuesday. ‘I’m saying, “Great, you made money. Please, please help share right now in a one-time crisis”.’

Beasley had said that giving $6million, which is about 2% of Musk’s net worth, could help solve world hunger. He challenged the two billionaires to ‘step up now, on a one-time basis’ to help the 42million people that will starve if not given proper aid soon.

Musk responded to the request in a tweet on Sunday: ‘If WFP can describe on this Twitter thread exactly how $6B will solve world hunger, I will sell Tesla stock right now and do it.’

‘But it must be open source accounting, so the public sees precisely how the money is spent,’ Musk added.

Beasley replied to Musk’s tweet by promising that the WFP has the systems in place for transparency and open source accounting.

The UN food director told CNN on Tuesday that Musk even having this conversation with them was an exciting prospect.

‘For him to even enter into this conversation is a game-changer because simply put, we can answer his questions, we can put forth a plan that’s clear,’ Beasley said. ‘Any and everything he asks, we would be glad to answer. I look forward to having this discussion with him because lives are at stake.’

Before the coronavirus pandemic, the world’s hunger crisis was already exacerbated by climate change and conflict.

The pandemic only made existing issues worse though, according to Beasley, who says there are 42million people ‘literally knocking on famine’s door’.

‘This is a worst-case scenario,’ Beasley said.

Musk currently has a net worth of $335billion, making him the richest man in the world, according to Bloomberg’s Billionaire index.

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