The Clinton Foundation has announced that the CGI Middle East and Africa conference in Marrakech, Morocco, concluded with twenty-nine new commitments aimed at positively affecting the lives of more than eight hundred thousand people.
The event, which drew leaders from business, government, philanthropy, and the nongovernmental sector, highlighted pressing challenges confronting the region and the globe in areas such as energy, food and water, and youth development. When fully implemented, the initiatives funded by CGI commitment makers will provide education and skills development programs to more than 132,000 women and girls, enable over 123,000 people to access training programs, and enroll more than 60,000 students in school.
New commitments include those made by Education for Employment (EFE), which is working to create lasting economic opportunity for youth in the Middle East and North Africa by providing demand-driven training to more than thirteen thousand young people; Hult International Business Schools, which will create a hands-on entrepreneurship program as part of a new Master of Entrepreneurship Degree Program at its business school in Dubai; TidWit, which pledged to provide a fully digitized Lebanese curriculum for fifty thousand Lebanese public school students and Syrian refugees in response to the challenges posed by the crisis in Syria; and the Zakoura Foundation, which committed to creating a hundred new preschools in rural Morocco while boosting the capacity of the fifty existing preschools in the country.
According to an investigative report by ABC News and Yahoo News, OCP, a Moroccan government-owned mining company that paid $1 million to co-host the event, where it committed to forming a new business unit dedicated to enhancing the productivity of ten thousand smallholder farmers in six African countries, has come under fire for removing resources "from disputed international territory in a remote part of the Sahara Desert…without adequately compensating the impoverished people who live there."
Earlier, the foundation announced that the Marrakech conference would be the last CGI international event for the foreseeable future — a decision related to Hillary Clinton's announcement that she is running for president and a recent spate of news stories questioning the nature of the foundation's and Clintons' relationships with several CGI donors.
"We started CGI by asking people to make commitments. After a decade, there have been more than thirty-two hundred such commitments, which have improved the lives of more than four hundred and thirty million people in a hundred and eighty countries," said Bill Clinton. "Just by getting people to do what they can — by putting people in the frame of mind that they should do something even if they can’t do everything."