PHILANTHROPISTS: Bill and Melinda Gates

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation will contribute $50 million (€40.9 million) in financing, and an additional $12.5 million (€10.2 million) in technical assistance to investment projects in the health sector in Africa through the EU’s framework to improve sustainable investments in Africa, a statement from the European Union (EU) indicates.

The pooling of resources with the European Union is designed to encourage additional private investment towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals and will allow successful projects to be scaled up more rapidly.

According to the statement, the European Commission has welcomed the support to its efforts towards sustainable development in Africa and will match the contribution with another €50 million.

‘The EU accounts for a third of foreign direct investment into Africa – this is now helping create jobs and growth on both of our continents. But we must do more to improve the business environment and provide a platform for African innovators to grow,’ EU President Jean-Claude Juncker said.

He said the effort requires the full involvement of the private and philanthropic sectors.

‘I am grateful to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation for their much-needed engagement. This is an investment in our shared future,’ Juncker said, adding that Europe’s partnership with Africa is one in which we support each other, help each other to prosper and make the world a safer, more stable and more sustainable place to live.

The statement also quotes Bill Gates as saying: ‘Improving health outcomes allows a society to become more prosperous and productive. There has been a lot of progress in this area in sub-Saharan Africa since 2000, but we need to do more to incentivize research and innovation that benefit the poor’. 

According to the statement, the European Commission, in partnership with African countries, is leading the way in reducing deep-seated inequities in global health. ‘This commitment will create opportunities that will help people lift themselves and their communities out of poverty’.

This new partnership on health follows a first joint initiative with the EU, announced on 12 December 2017 at the One Planet Summit in Paris, to support the development of tools and techniques to benefit smallholder farmers in developing countries.

Through that initiative, the Commission will provide €270 million, and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation $300 million (€244.7 million), to finance agricultural research to help the world’s poorest farmers better adapt to increasingly challenging growing conditions brought about by climate change.

France, Germany, Italy, Spain and other EU Member States will also take part in this programme.