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Mexico’s Billionaires Create Trust to Aid Reconstruction After September Quakes

Dolia Estevez - Forbes
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October 7, 2017

President Enrique Peña Nieto and Carlos Slim Helu (Office of Mexico's Presidency)

After the massive rescue efforts to find survivors in Mexico's recent earthquakes came to an end, Mexico's private sector turned to an equally formidable task: reconstruction. In a meeting with President Enrique Peña Nieto, México's leading business tycoons launched a private trust to assist in the reconstruction efforts after two powerful earthquakes devastated parts of Mexico in September. Billionaires including telecom tycoon Carlos Slim Helu, mining mogul Alberto Bailleres and banker Alfredo Harp Helú attended the meeting at Los Pinos (Mexico's White House) on September 27.

"The Trust Fuerza Mexico was created by the business community. Resources will be used for the reconstruction of houses, schools and some historical monuments," Juan Pablo Castañon, President of Mexico's Economic Coordinador Council (CCE), told me.

After meeting with Peña Nieto, Slim, Mexico's richest person, said: "There is a lot to be done, therefore it must be done efficiently. In many cases we should not just rebuild, but also do it better." According to Slim, the good side of having to rebuild is that many new jobs will be created.

Castañon, head of the organization spearheading the private sector effort, declined to put a price tag on the rebuilding, but said many thousands of millions of pesos will be needed. "We have not set a [money] goal." Donations can be made in pesos and dollars, with the Trust managing the funds which will be used exclusively for rebuilding. No checks or monetary assistance will be disbursed. Castañon said they hope to exceed expectations.

Two weeks ago, the Carlos Slim Foundation and the Telmex Foundation pledged a matching donation of 5 pesos (about 30 cents) for every peso donated by the public. The foundations, Slim Helu's philanthropic organizations, set up accounts in Banco Inbursa, Slim's bank, where people can deposit donations.

Last week, Slim said that the fundraising drive has "exceeded all expectations." Without revealing an exact amount, Slim claimed his foundations have raised "several hundred million pesos" from at least 100,000 people. The drive ends this weekend.

Read the rest at Forbes

Related: Mexico City’s Street Food Vendors Regroup and Return After the Earthquake (Eater)

Related: List of the Top 10 Richest Mexicans in the World (InsideTrade)

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