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The Clinton Foundation: The Clinton Guistra Enterprise Partnership
The story of the Clinton Giustra Enterprise Partnership began on a private plane. In 2005, billionaire Canadian mining magnate Frank Guistra let President Clinton borrow his jet on a trip to South America. On the way there, Giustra asked President Clinton what the Clinton Foundation does, and from there, Giustra became a Friend of Bill (FoB) and the Clinton Giustra Enterprise Partnership was born.
The Clinton Giustra Enterprise Partnership, funded by a Giustra’s generous $100 million donation to the Clinton Foundation, strives to build social enterprises utilizing a market based approach to charity. Instead of, say, giving money to farmers in Latin America, the Clinton Enterprise Partnership seeks to fund social enterprises, a type of business that seeks a profit to further a philanthropic interest, giving people a chance at a sustainable living.
The Partnership operates in Latin America, the Caribbean, and India with plans to expand in East Africa and is divided into three types of enterprises: Distribution Enterprises, Supply Chain Enterprises, and Training Center Enterprises.
The efficient distribution of products is often a problem in rural areas of the developing world with companies not finding it profitable enough to distribute their products to a difficult to access land and impoverished people. The Clinton Giustra Enterprise Partnership seeks to rectify this “last mile” problem by creating a distribution network in these rural areas.
Apurimac, Peru is one such area. The Clinton Giustra Enterprise built a warehouse in Apurimac where local Chakipi women could gather their goods for sale, mainly everyday staples like packaged foods; personal care items; pharmaceuticals; solar lamps; and clean cookstoves, to sell their products door to door in their personal networks. It also doubles as a training center where the women can learn sales and other skills to further their businesses and increase their incomes. Companies like Nestlé and Proctor & Gamble partnered with the Clinton Giustra Enterprise Partnership opening up this part of the world to their excellent and reliable products.
Supply Chain Enterprises
Small family owned farms in the developing world are cut off from major markets as they are too small to be counted upon to fulfill large orders and too fragmented and numerous enough that it’s often easier for a business to just go with a single or a few large suppliers. The Clinton Giustra Enterprise works to place these small family owned farms into a viable supply chain.
In Haiti, the Clinton Giustra Enterprise Partnership formed the Accesso Peanut Enterprise Corporation (APEC). Staffed by local Haitians, APEC acts as a central buyer where they buy from small holder peanut farmers and then turn around and resell their products to buyers, thereby creating an efficient supply chain. APEC also teaches Haitian farmers best practices on how to improve the quality of their peanuts and to increase their peanut yields.
In the 2013 Clinton Foundation Annual Report, there’s the testimonial of Haitian peanut farmer Arnold Petion Balde, and he tells how the Clinton Giustra Enterprise Partnership gave him not just help but also a way to make a living:
“When the Clinton Giustra Enterprise Partnership (Enterprise Partnership) came to help us, they completely supported us with credit, and taught us a way that we could break ground, organize the land, prepare the land, and plant the peanuts on our own. And as long as we were willing to work for it, we would be able to follow this new process and increase our yields.
I can say that the difference is huge. The way we were planting before was a little disorganized. We were planting any which way and the assistance we have been receiving from the Enterprise Partnership has completely changed our current yields from what we used to yield. Now we find that the yields are a lot higher and there is a progression taking place — we’re increasing our yields rung by rung, like a ladder. So far this year, I’ve earned $500, which is more than four times what I’ve earned before. Now I don’t need to worry about not having enough money to support my family.”
- Arnold Petion Balde from Tierra Muscady, Haiti
The Training Enterprises aims to train people and give them skills so that they become employable. In Cartagena, Colombia, the Clinton Enterprise Partnership funded the Accesso Centro de Formación para el Trabajo (Accesso Training Center Enterprise) to train disadvantaged Colombian youth for work in the hospitality industry. Tourism is a major industry in Cartagena, and through Accesso’s Training Center, these youths can learn to become kitchen aides, baristas, food and beverage patrons, administrative and accounting assistants and other housekeeping and hotel guest professions. Accesso is working to train 20,000 people in Colombia.
Clinton Cash Allegations
You might have heard of Frank Giustra from allegations made in the book Clinton Cash concerning a uranium deal in Kazakhstan. Needless to say, these accusations are baseless and no less than a publication like Forbes has looked into these allegations and found them wanting. I’ll cover this and other Clinton Cash allegations about the Clinton Foundation later in the book, but I have to say, sullying a budding philanthropist like Mr. Giustra just to get at the Clintons is uncalled for. Indeed, Mr. Giustra, thanks to President Clinton’s encouragement, now intends to become the Andrew Carnegie of Canada. Like Carnegie before him, he plans to give away his fortune and make the world a better place. Mr. Schweizer, the “author” of Clinton Cash and former advisor to Sarah Palin, should be ashamed of himself. I really don’t want this hub to become a rebuttal to Clinton Cash and instead focus on the life changing work of the Clinton Foundation so in the next hub, we move on to the Clinton Development Initiative.
But first, here’s a picture of Mr. Balde, the Haitian peanut farmer featured earlier in this chapter, whose life and livelihood was improved (his take home income increased four-fold) thanks to the work of the Clinton Foundation.