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Apr 21, 2021

Jacqueline Novogratz – ‘If the pandemic has shown us anything, it is how wholly interdependent we are as a world.’

Cutting overseas aid programmes to developing countries is ‘a terrible idea,’ even in this Covid crisis, says Jacqueline Novogratz, CEO of pioneering non-profit venture capital fund  Acumen,  which uses business strategies to solve problems of poverty around the world.

‘If the pandemic has shown us anything, it is how wholly interdependent we are as a world. Particularly when it comes to issues of climate change, health, refugees and immigration. Our action - and our inaction - impact people we might never know across the world.’

Jacqueline Novogratz will be speaking about her book, Manifesto for a Moral Revolution, via a live video link as part of the Guernsey Literary Festival at Les Cotils on Tuesday 11 May at 7.30pm. The talk, which will be chaired by Literary Festival board member Tony Gallienne, will also be live streamed.

‘While it may be easier short term for our politicians in this time of pulling inward to choose this position [of cutting aid], it is long term blind. If we don’t find ways for people to solve their own problems in their own nations, what choice do they have but to try and come to other countries to gain their agency and dignity? Anyone with a child to care for or a family to protect would do the same,’ she says.

Since 2001, Acumen and its investments have brought critical goods and services to hundreds of millions of low-income people worldwide. In her book Manifesto for a Moral Revolution, Novogratz outlines the essential leadership practices needed for anyone who seeks to leave this world better than they found it. Novogratz is also the author of the New York Times bestseller, The Blue Sweater, which looks at traditional practices of charity and proposes a form of philanthropic investment she calls “patient capital”.
In these difficult times, she is still optimistic about the work of her organisation and others like it.

‘Absolutely. For twenty years, we have used the tools of business and finance to solve our toughest issues of poverty.  For twenty years, we’ve seen how business as usual is not the answer. Business must move away from defining success based only on how shareholders fare, and instead focus on the good all stakeholders achieve,’ she says. 

‘The world is readier than it has ever been, at least in my lifetime, for this message - and even more so, for new business models that help build a new economy.  This is also the moment to begin redefining success away from money, power and fame to one that puts our shared humanity and the sustainability of the earth at the center of our systems.’

‘I am thrilled to be part of that change and even more thrilled to see how many people already are doing the work of bringing a new morality to business.’

Tickets for the talk at Les Cotils, which is sponsored by Dorey Financial Modelling are priced £10 (£5 for under-18s) and can be purchased at the Festival website, guernseyliteraryfestival.com. People who want to hear the talk but are unable to go will be able to live-stream the event free of charge. More information on this link is on the website.


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