Francois Bonnici, Saïd Business School MBA 2005
From Postings 2007
For Francois Bonnici (Saïd MBA 2005), it was a short four months from final grad paper to being a key member of the team behind an historic commitment to halve tuberculosis within ten years.
The pledge, backed by Microsoft founder and CEO Bill Gates, the UK’s Chancellor and Prime Minister-in-waiting Gordon Brown, and Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo, represented the most significant outcome from this year’s World Economic Forum and the latest in a series of global initiatives to end poverty.
For Bonnici, this was an unexpected and exhilarating milestone in a career which started in medicine, and which, he hopes, will in future lie in transforming infant and maternal health in his home country, South Africa. After finishing his MBA last October, winning the top school prize, Bonnici took up one of the new Global Leadership Fellowships at the World Economic Forum (WEF). Working in the global health team, his role is to catalyse partnerships with the private sector focusing on ending the curable diseases blighting poor countries.
“One of my first tasks was to promote an advocacy event for tuberculosis. WEF has been involved in this for the last two years but the approaching annual Forum gave us the opportunity to launch the project. The strength of the argument for acting now was so strong that we could go straight to the top,” said Bonnici.
At the Forum in Switzerland’s Davos in January, Bill Gates announced that the Gates Foundation would triple its funding for tuberculosis, pledging US$900 million by 2015, and he urged others to do the same. Gordon Brown called for the G8 to formally designate tuberculosis a top priority at its next meeting in July, and President Obasanjo asked African leaders to implement The Global Plan to Stop Tuberculosis (2006-2015).
“It was fulfilling to discover you can make significant changes at the political level using a business platform,” said Bonnici. “It is exciting to see that concrete outcomes can come out of Davos. For me personally, this role is giving me high level exposure to corporate executives as well as important people at the UN, NGOs and private funders, which will be useful for me in the future.”
A Rhodes Scholar, Bonnici was heavily involved in social entrepreneurship at Saïd and was Chair of the Social Entrepreneurship Oxford Business Network.