How poor people help the billionaires

The billionaire Nathan Kirsh knows what to do. When he couldn't find good bread in the USA, he set up his own bakery called "Hot and Crunchy". Perhaps he could also help an entire state: The 84-year-old native of South Africa is a citizen of Swaziland. 41 percent of the people there suffer from extreme poverty, have to survive on less than 1.90 dollars a day - or die.

Kirsh made his fortune in real estate and retail business. Bloomberg estimates his fortune at $ 5.6 billion, Forbes to $ 3.6 billion. If he donated half of it, as other billionaires do with The Giving Pledge initiative, the sum would be enough to end extreme poverty in Swaziland. The US think tank Brookings did the math. Although this is only a rough calculation, it should spark a debate at the meeting of the business elite in Davos, write the Brookings analysts.

Philanthropists wanted

You have drawn up a list of developing countries - and compared the richest people from the respective countries. In three countries it would be sufficient in this calculation if the richest billionaires in each case provided half of their wealth. With the money, the poorest could get so much money for 15 years that they would no longer have to live below the limit of 1.90 dollars a day.

According to the Brookings authors, this could be enough for people to escape the poverty trap and be able to build a livelihood and be able to stand economically on their own two feet in the long term.

In addition to Swaziland, it would also be enough in Colombia and Georgia to convince just one donor to use his money against poverty. In Brazil, Peru and the Philippines, a single donation of 50 percent of the wealth of the richest citizen would at least halve the country's extreme poverty.

The list of countries would be extended if all billionaires of a country could be brought together in a donor club. That would end the extreme poverty in China and India, for example - the two densely populated countries have the highest number of extremely poor people.

However, this step would not work in many African countries. In Nigeria, Tanzania, Uganda and Angola, even a mega-donation from all the super-rich would have only a very minor impact. The poverty in these states is simply too great.