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Telecoms and tech groups pitch in to help pandemic response

Bnamericas Published: Saturday, April 18, 2020
Telecoms and tech groups pitch in to help pandemic response

Over the last three weeks donations in Brazil to help the fight the coronavirus crisis surpassed 2.2bn reais (US$418mn), with 94% of resources stemming from companies and entrepreneurs and the remainder from individuals and artists.

Of the companies’ donation, the financial services accounted for 72% of the total. Itaú Unibanco, Latin America’s largest private bank, alone donated 1bn reais, the largest sum of a private company in Brazil ever.

TELCOS

Meanwhile, Grupo Carso and Fundación Carlos Slim, owned by the controller of Latin Ameríca’s largest telecom group América Móvil, announced the donation of US$42mn for medical equipment and health to handle the COVID-19 pandemic in Mexico.

Carlos Slim is Mexico’s richest man, with an estimated fortune of US$52bn, according to Forbes.

América Móvil’s main rival in Latin America, Spain’s Telefónica, joined compatriots BBVA, Iberdrola, Inditex and Santander in donating 150mn euros for public health in their home country.

US-based AT&T set up US$10mn fund to help citizens weather the coronavirus pandemic. In Latin America, AT&T provides pay-TV services via DirecTV across 11 countries and territories, and wireless services to consumers and businesses in Mexico.

Nokia also announced the creation of a fund to help fight the pandemic. The Coronavirus Global Donation Fund will raise and direct financial resources to charities, hospitals, health clinics and other non-governmental organizations that are working to mitigate the effects of the disease. 

Huawei gave to the government of the Federal District in Brazil around 12,000 surgical-type masks, as well an artificial intelligence (AI) system capable of producing a quick COVID-19 diagnosis.

TECH

Visa Foundation announced two donations for a total of US$210mn, part of it aimed at supporting charitable organizations on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic, including in Latin America.

Movile's IFood, the main food delivery platform in Latin America, created a fund of 50mn reais to help struggling restaurants in Brazil. 

Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey announced US$1bn donation to efforts to combat the effects of the pandemic. Dorsey said the amount represent about 28% of his fortune and will be donated to the charity fund he co-created, Start Small.

Amazon’s founder and the world’s richest man Jeff Bezos announced the donation of US$100mn to Feeding America. 

Michael and Susan Dell, controllers of Dell Technologies, handed out US$20mn for the Covid-19 Therapeutic Accelerator, an initiative focused on supporting healthcare, education, nonprofit organizations and small businesses. The donation was channeled through the Michael & Susan Dell Foundation.

Another foundation, the Bill & Melinda Gates, managed by Microsoft’s founder and philanthropist Bill Gates, announced US$100mn to help in the development of a vaccine and treatment efforts, as well as helping public health authorities in emerging nations.

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