Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook’s chief executive, and his wife, Dr. Priscilla Chan, last year said they would give 99 percent of their Facebook shares to charitable causes. Now they are putting a large chunk of that money to work.
The Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, the limited liability company into which Mr. Zuckerberg and Dr. Chan put their Facebook shares, on Wednesday said it would invest at least $3 billion over the next decade toward preventing, curing or managing all diseases by the end of the century.
While the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative has already made investments in charter schools and education start-ups, the money toward curing diseases represents the group’s first major initiative in science. The announcement was also a coming out of sorts for Dr. Chan, who has a big interest in health and was trained in pediatrics.
In a speech to introduce the health initiative at an event in San Francisco on Wednesday, Dr. Chan said the work to cure disease was in keeping with her organization’s mission to advance human potential and promote equality. She gave an emotional preamble, describing how a high-quality education helped her succeed as the daughter of Chinese and Vietnamese immigrants.
“We want to dramatically improve every life in Max’s generation and make sure we don’t miss a single soul,” Dr. Chan said, referring to her and Mr. Zuckerberg’s infant daughter, Maxima. “We’ll be investing in basic science research with the goal of curing disease.”
The event was attended by Mayor Ed Lee of San Francisco; Janet Napolitano, the president of the University of California and former secretary of homeland security; and investors including Yuri Milner, who backed Facebook before it went public. About 63,000 people watched the event on Facebook Live and there were about 450 attending.
Several of Mr. Zuckerberg’s Facebook co-founders or early executives have also pledged money to charity or specifically toward health initiatives. Dustin Moskovitz, a Facebook co-founder, is part of the Giving Pledge, through which the world’s wealthiest individuals and families have dedicated a majority of their wealth to philanthropy. Sean Parker, who was president of Facebook when the company was still a start-up, earlier this year said he would give $250 million to six cancer centers nationwide.
Other tech billionaires have also given to public health, including Bill Gates, Microsoft’s co-founder. His Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation gave $10.2 billion through 2014 to global health initiatives like fighting AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria.
Mr. Zuckerberg and Dr. Chan, who are also part of the Giving Pledge and have looked up to Mr. Gates, announced the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative at the end of last year. At the time, their Facebook holdings were valued at around $45 billion.
The Chan Zuckerberg Initiative’s structure as a limited liability company gives it freedom to also spend on for-profit companies and political donations. Some traditional philanthropies, which have spending restrictions and targets they must meet, disapprove of the L.L.C. structure.
The Chan Zuckerberg Initiative’s science work will be led by Cori Bargmann, a neuroscientist at Rockefeller University in New York. The first project will be the Chan Zuckerberg Biohub, an independent research center in San Francisco that will bring together engineers, computer scientists, biologists, chemists and others. Formed in partnership with Stanford, the University of California, Berkeley, and the University of California, San Francisco, it will receive initial funding of $600 million over 10 years.
At the event Wednesday, Mr. Zuckerberg said that if his organization’s plan to cure or manage all disease worked, it should increase human life expectancy to 100 years.
“That doesn’t mean no one will ever get sick,” he said. “But they should be able to treat it and manage it.”
Brent Crude Oil Extends Gain to $86.66 a Barrel Amid Tight Supply
Tight global oil supply pushed Brent crude oil, against which Nigeria oil is priced, to a multi-year high of $86.66 per barrel on Monday at 3:30 pm Nigerian time.
Oil price was lifted by rising fuel demand in the United States and tight global supply as economies recover from pandemic-induced slumps.
“The global energy supply crunch continues to show its teeth, as oil prices extend their upward march this week, a result of traders pricing in the ongoing rise in fuel demand – which amid limited supply response is depleting global stockpiles,” said Louise Dickson, senior oil markets analyst at Rystad Energy.
Goldman Sachs on the other hand is predicting a further increase in Brent crude oil to $90 a barrel, citing a strong rebound in global oil demand due to switching from gas to oil. This the bank estimated may contribute about 1 million barrels per day to global oil demand.
The investment bank said it expects oil demand to reach around 100 million barrels per day as consumption in Asia increases after the devastating effect of COVID-19.
“While not our base-case, such persistence would pose upside risk to our $90/bbl year-end Brent price forecast,” Goldman said in a research note dated Oct. 24.
Earlier this month, the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, Russia and their allies, known as OPEC+ agreed to continue increasing oil supply by 400,000 bpd a month until April 2022 despite calls for an increase in global oil supplies.
The decision bolstered the price of Brent crude oil above $84 per barrel and expected to push the price even further to $90 a barrel. Low global oil supply amid rising demand for crude oil will continue to support oil prices in the near term.
“Despite the recent power cuts and impacts to industrial activity in China, oil demand is likely instead supported by switching to diesel powered generators and diesel engines in LNG trucks, as well as by a ramp up in coal production,” Goldman Sachs stated.
U.S. and Ghana Inaugurate New $64.7 Million Energy Infrastructure Investment at Pokuase
U.S. Ambassador to Ghana Stephanie Sullivan joined the President of Ghana H.E. Nana Akufo-Addo and other Ghana government officials to formally inaugurate the Pokuase Bulk Supply Point (BSP) in Accra today. The U.S. Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) funded the $64.7 million (GH₵ 391.9 million) electrical infrastructure project under the Ghana Power Compact.
“The Pokuase Bulk Supply Point represents sustainable infrastructure investment by the United States with Ghana that will benefit hundreds of thousands of Ghanaians now and into the future,” remarked Ambassador Sullivan at the inaugural event. “It will help deliver more reliable power to the people, places, and businesses of Accra that drive increased economic activity benefitting families, businesses, and communities.”
This represents a flagship investment under the Millennium Challenge Corporation’s Ghana Power Compact. The Pokuase BSP will reduce outages in the power system, help stabilize voltages, and improve the quality and reliability of power supplied to the northern parts of the capital city of Accra. It will also reduce technical losses in the power transmission and distribution system, contributing to the financial viability of the Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG) and the Ghana Grid Company (GRIDCo) in the long term. The Pokuase BSP is now the largest-capacity BSP in Ghana at 580 megavolt amperes (MVA) and will directly benefit 350,000 utility customers.
The Government of Ghana implemented the project through the Millennium Development Authority (MiDA). MiDA formally handed over the new power substation to ECG and GRIDCo in today’s ceremony.
The Pokuase BSP is the first major construction project to be completed under the Ghana Power Compact. The $316 million compact is helping the Government of Ghana improve the power sector through investments that will provide more reliable and affordable electricity to Ghana’s businesses and households. The compact is also funding a BSP at Kasoa and two primary substations at Kanda and Legon, in addition to other power sector investments, energy efficiency programs, and women’s empowerment programs within the power sector. The compact program will officially close on June 6, 2022.
Oil Falls Slightly as China Steps in to Curb Rising Coal Prices
Global oil prices moderated slightly on Wednesday following the Chinese government’s decision to curb high coal prices and ensure coal mines function at maximum capacity.
Brent crude, against which Nigerian oil is priced, dropped to $83.98 per barrel at 11:00 am Nigerian time. While the U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude fell by 80 cents or 1 percent to $81.20 a barrel.
“China is planning to take steps to combat the steep rises in the domestic coal market … which could put considerable pressure on the coal price there and reverse the fuel switch to oil,” Commerzbank said.
Prices for Chinese coal and other commodities slumped in early trade, which in turn pulled oil down from an uptick earlier in the day.
China’s National Development and Reform Commission said on Tuesday it would bring coal prices back to a reasonable range and crack down on any irregularities that disturb market order or malicious speculation on thermal coal futures. read more
Oil markets in general remain supported on the back of a global coal and gas crunch, which has driven a switch to diesel and fuel oil for power generation.
But the market on Wednesday was also pressured by data from the American Petroleum Institute industry group which showed U.S. crude stocks rose by 3.3 million barrels for the week ended Oct. 15, according to market sources.
That was well above nine analysts’ forecasts for a rise of 1.9 million barrels in crude stocks, in a Reuters poll.
However, U.S. gasoline and distillate inventories, which include diesel, heating oil and jet fuel, fell much more than analysts had expected, pointing to strong demand.
Data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration is due later on Wednesday.
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