Melinda Gates hangs with Go-Jek ladies on the sidelines of IMF-World Bank meetings in Bali

Melinda Gates meets with female drivers from Go-Jek. Photo: Gates Archive via Detik

Melinda Gates is one of the globe’s financial elite in town for the IMF-World Bank annual meetings taking place in Bali this week.

But the American billionaire and philanthropist isn’t only engaging in discussion with the higher ups like Indonesia’s Finance Minister, Sri Mulyani Indrawati. On the sidelines of the summit, Gates took some time on Thursday to meet with female drivers from Indonesia’s online motorbike taxi app, Go-Jek.

Gates stopped by the Go-Jek office in Bali’s capital city Denpasar, chatting with lady Go-Jek drivers, as well as reps from the app’s Go-Food and Go-Life arms. From her visit to the Go-Jek office, the goal was apparently to understand the potential of digital technology in improving welfare and building an inclusive economy–a mission near and dear to Gates.

“My meeting with different women from Go-Jek is an important case study in understanding how digital technology can improve growth and inclusion, by connecting people to more stable jobs and income,” Detik quoted Gates as saying.

Of course the ride-hailing app didn’t give all their meeting time with Gates to the drivers. Go-Jek founder and CEO Nadiem Makarim was also present on Thursday to run Gates through their business model.

“The track record of Go-Jek in Indonesia is an example of how technology is able to open opportunities for access and inclusion, where those who previously were not members of the modern economy are able to get involved and even be equipped to grow. Go-Jek’s business successfully creates positive social impact and encourages inclusive growth throughout Indonesia,” Makarim said, tooting Go-Jek’s horn just a little bit.

As the co-founder of the Pathways for Prosperity Commission, which launched in January 2018, Gates is in town to hold meetings in line with the global summit, discussing policies and investments needed to ensure that more people around the world can enjoy the benefits of technological innovation. A report will be released in 2019 with the commission’s findings.

The commission is led by three co-chairs, including Gates herself and minister Mulyani and Strive Masiyiwa, founder and executive chairman of Econet. Marakim is also listed as a commissioner of Pathways for Prosperity.

Held in Bali’s Nusa Dua resort area from Oct. 8-14, the IMF-World Bank meetings have drawn in some 32,000 delegates into Bali from around the world.

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