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The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation made the announcement in Davos yesterday. Their contribution will consist of $50 million (€40.9 million) in financing, as well as an additional $12.5 million (€10.2 million) in technical assistance, to investment projects in the health sector in Africa.
This pooling of resources seeks to encourage additional private investment towards reaching the Sustainable Development Goals. The funds will allow successful projects to be scaled up more rapidly.
Welcoming this support, President Juncker said: "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. This requires the full involvement of the private and philanthropic sectors, and I am grateful to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation for their much-needed engagement."
Bill Gates said: "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. It is fantastic that 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 between the Gates and the EU follows a first joint initiative announced at the One Planet Summit in Paris last December. Then, the Gates Foundation committed $300 million (€244.7 million) to finance agricultural research in order to help the world's poorest farmers to adapt better to climate change. The Commission's contribution amounts to another €270 million and several EU countries will also take part in this programme.
It is fantastic that the European Commission, in partnership with African countries, is leading the way in reducing deep-seated inequities in global health
The EU's External Investment Plan, adopted last September, helps to boost investment in partner countries in Africa and the European Neighbourhood. It builds on the successful model of the Juncker Plan within the EU, and it includes a new €1.5 billion European Fund for Sustainable Development (EFSD) Guarantee.
With an input of more than €4 billion from the EU, the External Investment Plan aims at mobilising up to €44 billion of private investment by 2020.
The plan focuses on a number of priority investment areas, such as sustainable energy, SMEs and micro financing, sustainable agriculture, sustainable cities and digitalisation for sustainable development. Investment seeks to promote inclusive growth, job creation, and sustainable development, and so tackle some of the root causes of irregular migration.