Gates Foundation Pledges $7B for Healthcare, Women and Agriculture in Africa

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has made resonating announcement that the foundation will spend $7 billion, over the next four years, to improve health, gender equality and agriculture across Africa. Strengthening and supporting these sectors have become necessary due to increasing lack of funds and worse, due to the negative impact of geopolitical changes.

Notwithstanding, Africa has huge untapped resources including the growing population, majority constitutes the youth. “Africa’s young people have the talent and opportunity to accelerate progress and help solve the world’s most pressing problems,” Gates said in an official statement this November.

The media with series of reports say both natural and human-inflicted problems combined with poor systems of governance and misplacement of priorities in East Africa and the Horn of Africa. “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,” Gates Foundation CEO Mark Suzman said.

The Gates Foundation has therefore chosen to engage the health sector, specifically to focus on primary healthcare and cooperating with a number of leading medical research institutions. As famine looms resulting from long drought season, it is humane to support smallholder farms to ensure food security in the East Africa and the Horn. 

The United Nations says some millions people will be affected as it expects famine to be declared in parts of Africa. Drought has equally endangered wildlife, more than 200 Kenyan elephants reportedly killed in 10 months. Thus, the Gates Foundation seeks to know from its partners about “what programs and approaches are making an impact, what obstacles remain, and how the foundation can better support future progress,” the foundation said in a statement.

The Gates Foundation will also operate projects tackling hunger, disease, poverty and gender inequality and other critical areas in West Africa. Nigeria, Africa’s most populous country, will take the biggest share of funds that have been made available. In addition to Gates Foundation, multinational organizations, including Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance and the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, will be contributing to dramatic reductions in the rate of child deaths from diseases such as diarrhea diseases, pneumonia, malaria and measles.

In speaking to more than 500 students at the University of Nairobi – and thousands more across Africa who tuned in virtually – the Foundation Founder Bill Gates said Africa’s young people have the talent and opportunity to accelerate progress and help solve the world’s most pressing problems.

“The big global challenges we face are persistent. But we have to remember, so are the people solving them,” said Gates. “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.”

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.

“Every day, men and women across Africa are rising to meet the biggest challenges facing their families, communities, and countries,” said Melinda French Gates, co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. “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.”

The Gates Foundation will further continue to invest in the researchers, entrepreneurs, innovators and healthcare workers who are working to unlock the tremendous human potential that exists across the continent, according to the statement, noting that the Russia-Ukraine crisis was reducing the amount of aid flowing to the continent and created global instability.

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.

In the last two years, the Foundation has funded partners working to provide immediate action and long-term support to smallholder farmers in sub-Saharan Africa, improve disease surveillance, increase locally led R&D and the number of health care workers in Africa, advance gender equality and women’s financial inclusion, and combat malaria and neglected tropical diseases.

Guided by the belief that every life has equal value, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation works to help all people lead healthy, productive lives. In developing countries, it focuses on improving people’s health and giving them the chance to lift themselves out of hunger and extreme poverty. 

In the United States, it seeks to ensure that all people – especially those with the fewest resources – have access to the opportunities they need to succeed in school and life. Based in Seattle, Washington, the Foundation is led by CEO Mark Suzman, under the direction of Co-chairs Bill Gates and Melinda French Gates and the Board of Trustees.

Kester Kenn Klomegah
Kester Kenn Klomegah
MD Africa Editor Kester Kenn Klomegah is an independent researcher and writer on African affairs in the EurAsian region and former Soviet republics. He wrote previously for African Press Agency, African Executive and Inter Press Service. Earlier, he had worked for The Moscow Times, a reputable English newspaper. Klomegah taught part-time at the Moscow Institute of Modern Journalism. He studied international journalism and mass communication, and later spent a year at the Moscow State Institute of International Relations. He co-authored a book “AIDS/HIV and Men: Taking Risk or Taking Responsibility” published by the London-based Panos Institute. In 2004 and again in 2009, he won the Golden Word Prize for a series of analytical articles on Russia's economic cooperation with African countries.