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U.N. official
says private sector must help Global Fund

U.N. official
says private sector must help Global Fund

Multinational private sector firms, particularly those that profit from business ventures in developing nations, have an obligation to help the cash-strapped Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria, says Stephen Lewis, United Nations special envoy for AIDS in Africa, Agence France-Presse reports. The Global Fund needs to close the gap between the $3.8 billion pledged to it for 2006-2007 and the $7.1 billion it needs, and private sector firms should pony up some of the money, Lewis says.

"The multinationals in oil, minerals, and diamonds who've benefited so much from the African continent, and the pharmaceutical industry that was so slow to reduce its prices," should be among the first to contribute to the Global Fund, Lewis says. He notes if these companies contributed just 0.7% of their pre-tax profits to the fund, billions could be raised.

"I am more than ready to acknowledge the important work that the resources companies do now in providing treatment for their workers and their families," Lewis told the news agency. "But if corporate social responsibility is to mean anything, it must be reflected in direct contributions to the fund." (

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