Warren Buffett’s son, Howard Buffett, has donated $32.1 million USD to Colombia, the office of the nation’s president said today. The first half of the sum, $16.1 million USD, will be devoted to clearing landmines that continue to make many rural areas of the country dangerous following more than a half-century of armed conflict.
Buffett joined President Juan Manuel Santos today at the Casa de Narino to formalize the donation, which will help fund the formal de-mining brigade of the Colombian Army. According to the Halo Trust, a London-based nonprofit dedicated to landmine removal across the world, Colombia is the second most “mine-affected” country in the world. Landmines claimed at least 286 victims in the country in 2014, says the organization, and there have been more than 11,000 mine victims in Colombia since 1990.
The president’s office said that the other $16 million USD will go toward as-yet unannounced projects related to “productive development” and agriculture, a long-time area of interest to the conservationist and nature lover. The 62-year-old philanthropist owns a large farm in the Midwest U.S. state of Illinois and relocated to the nearby city of Decatur in 1992 to work at agribusiness giant Archer Daniels Midland.
Photo: Howard Buffett, the son of U.S. tycoon Warren Buffett, donated $32.1 million USD for mine removal and development projects during his trip to meet President Juan Manuel Santos in Bogotá. (Credit: Presidencia de la República)
Buffett will travel to both Tolima and Putumayo during his time in Colombia to visit the military base in Tolemaida and learn about projects related to “alternative development,” according to the Casa de Nariño.
Howard Buffett arranged for the donation through his charity, the Howard G. Buffett Foundation, in collaboration with Colombia’s Presidential Agency of Cooperation (APC). APC head Sergio Londoño, Foreign Relations Minister María Ángela Holguín, and Defense Minister Luis Carlos Villegas joined Buffett and Santos at today’s meeting at the Casa de Nariño.
Buffett’s father Warren is one of the richest people in the world. Nicknamed the “Oracle of Omaha” for his ability to foresee great investments while located far away from Wall Street at his Berkshire Hathaway office in the Nebraska capital, Warren Buffett has amassed a fortune worth more than $73 billion USD, according to Forbes.