Billionaire George Soros will invest up to $500 million in startups, businesses and ‘social impact initiatives’ in a bid to ease the refugee crisis.
Soros, who has a net worth of $24.9 billion, made the announcement on Tuesday to coincide with a meeting led by President Obama one day after the first-ever UN summit on migrants and refugees.
‘Our goal is to harness the private sector for public good,’ Soros said. ‘These investments are intended to be successful. But our primary focus is to create products and services that truly benefit migrants and host communities.’
On Tuesday, he explained the rationale behind his generous investment in the Wall Street Journal.
He wrote: ‘Our collective failure to develop and implement effective policies to handle the increased flow has contributed greatly to human misery and political instability–both in countries people are fleeing and in the countries that host them, willingly or not.’
While he acknowledged the need for government policies, Soros is turning his attention to the private sector in the hopes that he can ‘inspire other investors to pursue the same mission’.
Soros cited the incredible bounds made by emerging digital technology, whether it’s helping people transfer money through their phones, or allowing greater access to healthcare.
‘Customizing and extending these innovations to serve migrants will help improve the quality of life for millions around the world,’ he wrote.
U.N. refugee chief Filippo Grandi said the investments ‘will help refugees become self-reliant.’