European Union External Action

EU and Bill Gates reconfirm joint commitment to collaborating for human development

17/10/2018 - 17:00

EU High Representative Federica Mogherini met on 17 October with Bill Gates, co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, to discuss the shared engagement and joint work of the EU and the Foundation in support of human development in Africa in particular, including by accelerating digital development. The EU and Mr. Gates also signed an agreement to create a joint fund to invest €100 million in European companies working to stop climate change.

EU High Representative Federica Mogherini, Bill Gates, Gates Foundation, Development, #GlobalTechPanel

The EU High Representative and Bill Gates met ahead of a joint appearance in the European Parliament's high-level debate on "Europe’s role in International Development."

Federica Mogherini and Bill Gates discussed the need for continued European leadership and generosity in development assistance and global engagement, including in the context of the next EU budget, known as the Multi-Annual Financial Framework, which will run from 2021-2027 and boost EU spending for external relations by 30%. The EU is already the largest global provider of development aid.


They agreed that investments in human development in Africa are key to tackling the major global issues of the 21st century, ranging from poverty reduction and social inclusion to climate change and economic growth.

The EU is already engaging strongly across the board, both in classical development cooperation and in new forms of engagement, spanning from digital to education to entrepreneurship, bringing in private actors as partners.

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is also a key actor in this area, including in cooperation with the EU. With EUR 54 million in total, the Gates Foundation is the largest external contributor to the European Fund for Sustainable Development.

The Gates Foundation's contribution underpins EU efforts to strengthen diagnostic health services in Sub-Saharan Africa. The cooperation will help to mobilise private investment in laboratory facilities providing timely, cost-effective and accurate diagnostic services for diseases such as tuberculosis, HIV, and malaria, as well as support maternal and child healthcare. This will allow doctors to detect diseases earlier, respond faster and better targeting treatments.

Ms. Mogherini and Mr. Gates also discussed the work of the Global Tech Panel and its emphasis on practical ways to accelerate digital development, including in North Africa. They agreed that the collaboration between the EU and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation on diagnostic labs in Africa is a ground-breaking and successful new form of cooperation that could be a model the future.

The EU High Representative and Mr. Gates reiterated how they look forward to continuing their collaboration to make a difference on health and other of the key global issues of our times, including the potential of digital technologies to inspire hope and progress, especially among young people.

During his present visit to Brussels, Mr Gates also met President Juncker and Commissioner Mimica, as well as Maroš Šefčovič, Vice-President of the Commission for the Energy Union and Carlos Moedas, Commissioner for Research, Science and Innovation.

Bill Gates, together with Vice-President Maroš Šefčovič and Commissioner Carlos Moedas, also signed a Memorandum of Understanding on the Breakthrough Energy Europe, launching a joint clean energy investment fund worth EUR 100 million.

Breakthrough Energy Europe links public funding with long-term risk capital so that clean energy research and innovation can be brought to market faster and more efficiently. The fund will focus on reducing greenhouse gas emissions and promoting energy efficiency in the areas of electricity, transport, agriculture, manufacturing, and buildings. It is a pilot project that can serve as a model for similar initiatives in other thematic areas.