Five years ago, global leaders came together at the FNB Stadium in Johannesburg in honor of Nelson Mandela's centennial year, united behind one mission: to end poverty and honor his life and legacy for Global Citizen Festival: Mandela 100. 

Today, more than $7.4 billion in funding has been delivered to organizations at the frontline of ending extreme poverty, helping to impact the lives of 122 million people globally. 

From Ghana to Kenya, to South Africa, South Sudan, and Sierra Leone — more than 60 commitments made by world leaders and artists on the 2018 Global Citizen Festival stage have today helped deliver jobs training, eyesight, education, health care access, and more to communities across the continent. 

Even better news is that the impact continues, with those commitments expected to continue delivering essential resources and services for many years to come. 

As we commemorate the anniversary of transformative change and honor the enduring legacy of Nelson Mandela, let's revisit some of the standout moments of impact so far. 

As a result of Cisco's commitments, 11.2 million people now have access to digital skills training for today’s workplace. In the last five years, more than 29,300 instructors at 11,800 organizations and learning institutions across 190 countries have taught essential digital skills that encompass learners on networking, cybersecurity, and programming. 

In Africa alone, 1.7 million people in 54 countries have this training. 

Sightsavers, an organization working to prevent avoidable blindness, launched the Accelerate program at Global Citizen Festival: Mandela 100 to end the blinding eye disease, trachoma, and restore eyesight in vulnerable communities. 

Five years later the organization has helped eliminate Trachoma in Benin, and successfully treated millions of people against the illness while supporting governments in Ghana, The Gambia, and Malawi to eventually eliminate the disease once and for all. 

In South Africa, the government has continued its commitment to improving access to menstrual hygiene products for girls and women across the country, investing more than ZAR 1 billion in providing free sanitary pads to more than 4 million students in public schools. 

The Global Citizen Fellowship Program, supported by BeyGOOD, the charitable foundation of Beyoncé Knowles-Carter, has made it possible for more than 50 young Africans to pursue their dreams in the field of social impact thanks to a program launched at Global Citizen Festival: Mandela 100 with a pledge by Tyler Perry. 

This week Global Citizen released an in-depth report celebrating the success of each fellow and their achievements. 

The South African government has also made safe access to water and sanitation a priority, investing R2.8 billion in 1,600 schools to ensure campuses and students have access to sanitation facilities, and ensure the removal of pit latrines in schools. 

The country of Sierra Leone pledged at the festival to promote radical inclusion, revamp its education system, and foster a new generation of learners, while maintaining its education budget at 20% for five years. 

The West African nation has followed through on this commitment, spending over 6 billion Sierra Leonean Leones (SLL) on basic education, and allocating between 21% and 26% of its total discretionary budget to this line item since 2019. 

In South Sudan, access to free education has been on the rise since the government announced its commitment to increase learning access at the Global Citizen Festival: Mandela 100 in 2018. The nation has dedicated a 10% share of the national budget to education every year since 2020, with no plan to end the funding. 

Sadly today, however, regional conflicts persist throughout the country. There are currently more than 7.7 million people living in food insecurity in South Sudan, the country's worst humanitarian crisis since independence in 2011.

Lastly, thanks to a pledge made at Global Citizen Festival: Mandela 100, Vodacom has made significant strides in expanding wireless connectivity for South Africans, launching the continent’s first 5G network in May 2020 and achieving over 98% 4G coverage across the country. 

Building on the momentum of the last 5 years, Vodacom will be further expanding its wireless network and will be investing and additional 60 billion Rand over the next 5 years.

As the world marks the impact and progress resulting from commitments made five years ago, Global Citizen persists in its advocacy, working tirelessly to translate Mandela's dream into reality by eradicating extreme poverty through action


Demand Equity

Global Citizens Help Deliver $7.4 Billion to Fight Poverty on Global Citizen Festival: Mandela 100 Anniversary

By Camille May