UAE’s 1 Billion Meals: New board to invest assets, ensure highest returns to feed the hungry

Sheikh Mohammed announces body that will create ‘modern investment strategy’ to provide food safety net for millions around the world


Sahim Salim

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Photo: Supplied
Photo: Supplied

Published: Sun 30 Apr 2023, 6:23 PM

Last updated: Sun 30 Apr 2023, 10:26 PM

A board of trustees for the ‘1 Billion Meals Endowment’ initiative will manage and invest assets of the largest food aid endowment project to ensure the highest recurring returns and create a sustainable source of giving. It will create a “modern investment strategy” to ensure highest possible returns and will oversee and review investment policies to ensure compliance with approved processes.

His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, issued directives to form the board on Sunday. He posted on Twitter that creating the board is a “key step” to reaching the largest possible segment of underprivileged individuals and providing a food safety net for tens of millions of people around the world.

“The board of trustees will be tasked with growing and investing the endowed capital, creating plans to ensure a return on investment and informed spending towards sustainable food aid sites. The aim is to sustain the impact of this initiative for years to come, and to create a better future through ongoing initiatives,” he added.

Over 180,000 contributors helped exceed the target to establish the largest food aid endowment, raising over Dh1.075 billion during the holy month of Ramadan. As reported by Khaleej Times, the campaign will continue throughout the year, raising more funds to aid those in need around the world.

What the board will do

The board will be responsible for growing and investing the endowed capital in a way that ensures its sustainability, expands the scope of charity and extends its reach. It will endeavour to achieve the highest recurring return on investments of the endowment’s assets by focusing on feasible sectors in line with economic growth through a Sharia-compliant contemporary Islamic approach.

It will also be responsible for analysing cash requirements and cash flow. It will examine and analyse investment risks to minimise exposure by examining the feasibility of potential investments and opting for high-return diversified investments, while ensuring compatibility with relevant regulations.

The board will work closely with relevant authorities, private sector, international organisations and charities working to fight hunger around the world. It will be responsible for the establishment of sustainable food aid sites, as well as implementing feeding programmes in underprivileged communities around the world, based on data collected from relevant organisations.

It will create processes and formulate regulations in accordance with international best practices, opening the door for the contribution of individuals, institutions, businesses, businessmen and influential philanthropists in order to maximise contributions.

It may form specialised committees as needed to support its work and enhance the endowment’s impact and wider reach.

The board members

The 1 Billion Meals Endowment aims to mobilise local, regional and international efforts to implement sustainable programmes to fight and eradicate hunger within an institutional framework. The Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Global Initiatives (MBRGI) has collaborated with a specialised agency to prepare a comprehensive governance framework that ensures sustainability of the endowment.

The board of trustees will be chaired by Mohammad bin Abdullah Al Gergawi, secretary-general of the MBRGI. It will have eight members: Hesham Abdullah Al Qassim, vice-chairman and managing director of Emirates NBD and chairman of Emirates Islamic Bank; Dr Ahmad bin Abdulaziz Al Haddad, grand mufti and director of the Ifta Department of the Islamic Affairs and Charitable Activities Department in Dubai; Fadel Al Ali, chairman of Dubai Financial Services Authority; Saeed AlEter Al Dhanhani, assistant secretary-general of MBRGI; Ali Al Mutawa, secretary-general of Dubai's Endowments and Minors' Trust Foundation; Dr Mohammed Suhail Al Muhairi, CEO and managing director of Dar Al Ber Society; Ali Al Obaidli, division director, Engineering Office, Private Office of HH Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum; and Dr Abdulrahman Al Sharif, managing director at Al Sharif Advocates & Legal Consultants.


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