CNBC Meets

Why this president makes Richard Branson's 'top 5'

Business magnate and founder of Virgin Group Sir Richard Branson has named 39th President of the U.S. Jimmy Carter as one of the "top five most respected people in the world" as he has dedicated his life to humanitarian causes and peace keeping missions.

Branson, who first met Carter on his island, Necker Island in 2007 to discuss plans to form independent peace group The Elders, said President Carter's list of achievements are "unbelievable".

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Richard Branson talks to the media at Perth Airport in May 2013 in Perth, Australia.
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Carter served as the 39th president from 1977 to 1981 and was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2002 for his efforts in finding peaceful solutions to international conflicts and his work in human rights.

The billionaire said the President has almost eradicated certain diseases and overseen "more elections than any other person on earth".

"Globally if you think - who are the most respected five people in the world, he must be one of those people," Branson told Tania Bryer, host of CNBC Meets.

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"He's tackled diseases and almost eradicated some diseases. He's helped people introduce whole new ways of feeding their population. He's stopped conflicts. He's monitored more elections than any other person on earth and made sure that elections are fair and safe elections," he said.

Branson and the musician and human rights activist Peter Gabriel created the non-governmental aid group The Elders, to help tackle some of the world's most pressing problems.

President Barack Obama, former president Jimmy Carter, first lady Michelle Obama, and former president Bill Clinton wave
Alex Wong I Getty Images

President Carter, along with Kofi Anan and Archbishop Desmond Tutu are original members of the group, which was founded by Nelson Mandela.

"We just wanted one American as a founding member of The Elders. And we obviously didn't want the Elders to be dominated by any particular country. Nelson Mandela felt very strongly that the one American that epitomized everything that The Elders were to stand for was President Carter," Branson told CNBC's Tania Bryer.

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Branson said Carter, who turns 90 this month, was incredibly unfairly judged during his time at the White House and said the President struggled because he was "ahead of his time".

"He put solar panels on top of the White House, Reagan immediately took them down when he left the White House. I think if it hadn't been for the Iran hostage situation he would have had a second term and I think most likely would've been as well-respected for his time in office as for his time outside the office," he added.

CNBC Meets: President Jimmy Carter will air on 1 October at 23:00 CET