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Last updated: 15 october, 2009 - 11:48 GMT

Why it's good to give your money away

dollar and euro notes

Do people in different countries give differently?

Are there really cultural differences in how different countries view charitable giving. For instance, are Indians different from Europeans and Americans in how they give?

Ram Gidoomal is one of a new generation of wealthy philanthropists. His Indian family fled from east Africa to Britain when he was 16, and started a corner shop in London. Ram's food and trading business has now grown into an enterprise with 7,000 employees.

His family story isn't simple. They came to Britain from India via Pakistan and East Africa with a Sikh and Hindu background, though Ram is a Christian.

On one visit to India he was appalled by slums and decided to get involved in charity. The whole process of his own generosity has made him reflect on the cultural differences between attitudes to giving.

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New philanthropists

Meanwhile, who can doubt that giving makes a real difference? India gets more from generous ex-pats than it does from outside companies investing in the country.

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation spends pretty much the same on health-care around the world as does the World Health Organisation. The two individuals and the UN organisation both spend just over $1bn a year.

But philanthropy is changing. It seems rich people now ask tougher questions about what their money will actually do on the ground.

New Philanthropy Capital was set up by a group of financiers in the City of London to assess charities on behalf of donors. Its chief executive is Martin Brookes.

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First broadcast on Business Daily

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