Philanthropist Bill Gates pledges an additional $7 billion for African countries
Billionaire philanthropist and Microsoft founder Bill Gates has pledged an additional $7 billion in development funds for Africa. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation said the money would be spent over the next four years to help African countries tackle hunger, disease, gender inequality and poverty.
In making the announcement in Nairobi, Gates reaffirmed the foundation‘s long-term commitment to Africa, saying the new commitment is in addition to existing funds that support organizations such as the Vaccine Alliance and the Global Fund. fight against AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria.
“Consistently reducing maternal mortality, consistently reducing neonatal mortality, under-5 mortality, that’s really the metric that guides our foundation,” he said. “You know, we are very proud to be part of the movement with many other partners.”
Responding to a question posed by VOA during a press conference, Gates challenged young Africans to use technology to find solutions to the problems facing the continent.
“I believe that with innovation, over the next 10 years, in most areas of programming, we will be able to come up with new approaches,” he said. “But we have to hurry. And then, even once we invent these approaches, we have to deploy them.”
University of Nairobi medical student and budding entrepreneur Lucianne Odiero attended Gates’ town hall meeting at the university. Odiero said she felt even more inspired after the meeting.
“We are unfortunately surrounded by problems, especially in Africa. So it’s not hard to choose a problem and work on it. It’s not hard to be innovative. It’s just that you identify the problem , see what has already been done on it, think about how it affects you personally or how it affects your neighbor and find a way around it, ”she said.
However, Nairobi-based economist and development expert Odhiambo Ramogi was more skeptical of Gates’ visit. He fears the Microsoft founder is paving the way for US companies to make profits in Kenya.
“He came, he gave a lecture at the University of Nairobi and was talking very flowery about genetically modified organisms, barely a month after the cabinet approved that. So it feels like his mission was not only aid-oriented but also business-oriented because GMOs would give some American companies very good business in the country,” Ramogi said.
On Gates’ first trip to Africa since the COVID-19 pandemic began, he said he learned from his partners which programs and approaches are having an impact, what barriers remain, and how the foundation can better support future progress.