KEY POINTS

  • Musk has a net worth of $274.4 billion
  • 811 million people are going hungry around the world
  • Between 2019 and 2020, the proportion of undernourished people around the world grew by 161 million

Tesla CEO Elon Musk could be the key to resolving the hunger crisis around the world, according to the director of the United Nation’s World Food Programme. 

During an interview on CNN’s Connect the World, UN Director David Beasley called on billionaires, specifically Tesla’s Musk and Amazon’s Jeff Bezos, to help end world hunger by using just a fraction of their net worth. 

"$6 billion to help 42 million people that are literally going to die if we don't reach them. It's not complicated," Beasley said. 

During the interview, Beasley also suggested that only 0.36% of the total net worth increases of the world’s top 400 billionaires could prevent famine in the future. 

As of Wednesday, Musk’s net worth stood at $274.4 billion, according to Forbes’ Real-Time Billionaires List. Based on Beasley’s statement, the director is asking Musk to donate 2% of his fortune to end the acute hunger crisis and save several nations from experiencing famine amid climate change and the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Across the globe, it is estimated that as many as 811 million people are going hungry even as enough food is being produced to feed the global population. But between 2019 and 2020, the proportion of undernourished people around the world grew by 161 million.

Countries caught in the middle of conflict have also seen a rise in hunger rates in 2020, according to Action Against Hunger.

Half of Afghanistan’s population, or 22.8 million Afghans, are at risk of suffering from acute hunger as the country faces surging unemployment rates and a liquidity crisis. Of the total number of Afghans facing acute hunger, 3.2 million are children under the age of five.

In Haiti, roughly half of the population is suffering from food insecurity amid political and economic instability, gang violence and rising food prices.

“Hunger is rising and children are dying. We can’t feed people on promises – funding commitments must turn into hard cash, and the international community must come together to address this crisis, which is fast spinning out of control,” Beasley warned in a WFP report released Monday.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk at the 2019 unveiling of the new Tesla Model Y in Hawthorne, California Tesla CEO Elon Musk at the 2019 unveiling of the new Tesla Model Y in Hawthorne, California Photo: AFP / Frederic J. BROWN