American tycoon Bill Gates to spend Sh850bn on Africa in next four years

Bill Gates

 President William Ruto with American tycoon Bill Gates at State House Nairobi on November 16,2022.

Photo credit: PCS

Bill Gates, who is the Co-Chair of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has committed to spend about Sh850 billion in the next four years to confront hunger, disease, gender inequality and poverty in Africa.

Bill, who is still in Kenya, reaffirmed that his foundation is still committed to supporting African institutions that are developing and implementing innovative approaches in health, agriculture and other areas.

The funding announcement comes as Kenya and the whole of Africa grapples with hunger, drought, poverty and malnutrition.

In June and July, for example, three arid and semi-arid lands(ASALs) were experiencing acute malnutrition, which was mainly attributed to low availability of milk, increasing prices of food and lack of water.

Today, 278 million people across Africa suffer from chronic hunger, with more than 37 million people facing acute hunger in the Horn of Africa alone.

Covid-19 has also caused significant setbacks in immunisation and stalled decades of progress made in combating HIV/AIDS, malaria, and tuberculosis.

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation continues to provide funding to support breakthrough solutions in these areas. 

“The big global challenges we face are persistent. But we have to remember, so are the people solving them. Our foundation will continue to support solutions in health, agriculture, and other critical areas—and the systems to get them out of the labs and to the people who need them,” said Gates.

In the same spirit, he visited primary healthcare centres, leading medical and agricultural research institutes and smallholder farms to learn about programmes making an impact, their challenges and how he can support them.

His Co-Chair, Melinda French Gates, acknowledged how men and women across the African continent continue to brave challenges in their communities, families and countries. 

“The foundation will continue to invest in the researchers, entrepreneurs, innovators, and health care workers who are working to unlock the tremendous human potential that exists across the continent,” she said.

Her remarks were echoed by Mark Suzman, Gates Foundation CEO, who emphasised on the need to work together to create a resilient continent that will better navigate the acute effects of climate change. 

“Millions of Africans are feeling the acute impacts of geopolitical instability and climate change, so it is critical that we work together. In close collaboration with our African partners, we will invest in local institutions and new collaborations that build the long-term resilience needed to make these crises less frequent and less devastating,” said Suzman.

The foundation has also urged global leaders to invest in people and innovations that can save lives and create opportunities for the world’s most vulnerable.

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