In his first trip to Africa since the COVID-19 pandemic began, Bill Gates has announced the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation would spend more than $7 billion over the next four years to support African countries and institutions working to develop and implement innovative approaches to confront hunger, disease, gender inequality, and poverty.
This new commitment to support African countries is in addition to existing Gates Foundation funding to multilateral organizations, including Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance and the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria.
In a statement, Bill Gates said these resources have helped strengthen health systems and increase access to health care in African countries, contributing to dramatic reductions in the rate of child deaths from diseases such as diarrhoea diseases, pneumonia, malaria and measles.
Bill Gates Kenya Visit
This week, Gates, who has been in Kenya since Tuesday this week, spent time visiting primary health care centers, leading medical and agricultural research institutes, and smallholder farms to listen to and learn from Kenyan and regional partners about what programs and approaches are making an impact, what obstacles remain, and how the foundation can better support future progress.
In speaking to more than 500 students at the University of Nairobi—and thousands more across Africa who tuned in virtually—Bill Gates said Africa’s young people have the talent and opportunity to accelerate progress and help solve the world’s most pressing problems.
This commitment comes as the world is grappling with overlapping global crises that are worsening hunger, malnutrition, and poverty for millions. Even before the war in Ukraine disrupted the global food system, African countries were facing severe climate shocks, including droughts, locusts, and flooding.
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 immunization and stalled decades of progress made in combating HIV/AIDS, malaria, and tuberculosis.
The foundation is calling on global leaders to step up their commitments to finding solutions and strengthening systems in African countries. This includes investing in people and innovations that can save millions of lives and create opportunities for the world’s most vulnerable.