Idris Elba teaming with United Nations to launch $40 million coronavirus relief fund

World premiere of 'Cats' held at Alice Tully Hall Featuring: Sabrina Dhowre Elba, Idris Elba Where: New York, New York, United States When: 17 Dec 2019 Credit: Joseph Marzullo/ Images

Covid-19 survivors Idris Elba and his wife Sabrina have teamed up United Nations (UN) officials to launch a $40 million (£32 million) fund for poor nations hit by the pandemic.

The pair, who are UN Goodwill Ambassadors, have unveiled the organisation’s International Fund for Agricultural Development’s (IFAD) initiative – to help rural and poorer economies cope with the virus and its aftermath.

Speaking about the role of the new fund, Idris, who along with his wife recovered from Covid-19 after contracting it while filming in New Mexico last month, said that while countries need to prioritise their citizens’ health, the world’s poor must not be forgotten.


“The world’s advanced economies are in the midst of this pandemic right now and, of course, they must do everything they can to help their own people,” the 47-year-old explained. “Every death is one death too many at a time like this. But the fact is, global action is also a matter of self-interest. As long as the pandemic is still raging anywhere, it will pose a threat everywhere.”

The Thor star, whose parents hail from Sierra Leone and Ghana, and Sabrina, who has Somalian heritage, have been on UN visits to Africa and are concerned that the global crisis could result in famine on the continent.

“IFAD needs more assistance to carry on the work that is desperately needed to keep food systems operating in rural areas if we are to come out of this crisis together and avoid needless hunger and suffering,” he added.

IFAD bosses have provided $40 million in seed money for the new fund and are hoping for $200 million (£160 million) in additional cash from governments.