Richard Samans

Richard Samans is Managing Director of the World Economic Forum, responsible for the Forum's public-private initiatives and its relations with governments, international organizations, NGOs and other non-business constituencies. Working at the Forum since early 2001, Rick directs the Forum's Center for Public-Private Partnership, and he helps structure the global issues program content of the Forum's meetings and other activities. Before joining the Forum, he served as Special Assistant to the President for International Economic Policy in the U.S. White House. As a senior member of the National Economic Council staff and Senior Director of the National Security Council's International Economic Affairs directorate, he assisted President Clinton on a broad range of international trade and financial policy matters. Previously, Rick served as Economic Policy Advisor to U.S. Senate Democratic Leader Tom Daschle (D-SD), assisting Senator Daschle and the Senate Democratic Caucus on international trade and monetary, tax, and broad economic policy issues. Rick started his career as an international banker and has served in a number of additional capacities in government, policy research, and politics.

Papers Published in World Economics:

HIV/AIDS: A Growing Concern to Business

Recent years have seen calls for the private sector to become more involved in the fight against HIV/AIDS. Business has valuable skills and other resources that could assist government and civil society efforts, and some firms (although by no means all) also have strong reasons for involvement. HIV/AIDS hits hardest the working-age individuals who make up the bulk of the private sector’s workforce and consumer base. As well as a moral case for action, deflecting the virus's impacts on employees and economies can avert business costs and strengthen corporate reputations. This article presents some of the key arguments for business action on HIV/AIDS and provides examples of where business has less reason to be concerned about the impact of the epidemic in specific situations. It also outlines findings from the World Economic Forum's 2006 Executive Opinion Survey, which polls the views of over 11,000 business leaders in 125 countries. It finds a small proportion of firms reporting that the virus is seriously affecting their operations, with the greatest effects felt in Sub-Saharan Africa. A much larger proportion of firms believe the virus will affect them in the next five years. Despite this growing worldwide concern, it is primarily companies in the hardest-hit countries that have developed policies to cope with the threat. It is noteworthy that most firms are basing their action or inaction on a subjective perception of the risk posed by HIV/AIDS, rather than on a formal risk assessment.

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