The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation will contribute €54 million ($62.5 million) to EU efforts to strengthen diagnostic health services in Sub-Saharan Africa under the External Investment Plan.
This 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. Under this collaboration between the EU and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, poorer people in low-income African countries will have better access to higher quality testing and, therefore, better chances of proper treatment. The articulation of this programme followed the announcement of President Juncker and Bill Gates earlier in the year on the Gates Foundation's intention to contribute to the EU's External Investment Plan.
Commissioner for International Cooperation and Development Neven Mimica said: "Together with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, we are showcasing the EU's engagement in Africa. Through the Gates Foundation's contribution of €54 million to our External Investment Plan, we will unlock private investment in a sector where additional investments in state-of-the-art testing facilities are urgently needed in order to meet the health needs of ample sectors of the population. This also shows that our approach under the 'Africa – Europe Alliance' works and is attractive to other stakeholders."
Bill Gates, co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, said: "Our foundation is delighted to partner with the European Commission to strengthen diagnostic services across Africa for the infectious diseases that still kill and harm the highest numbers of the world's poorest people. By having better tools to more accurately identify these diseases, we can provide the right treatments at the right time and, ultimately, ensure more people across sub-Saharan Africa are able to live healthy and productive lives."
The majority of the Gates Foundation's contribution – €43.2 million or $50 million – will support the European Fund for Sustainable Development Guarantee, which is an important pillar of the EU's External Investment Plan. It will be used to help leverage private investment, which will in turn promote inclusive growth and job creation in Africa and the European Neighbourhood countries. €10.8 million ($12.5 million) will be invested in technical assistance under the European Health Guarantee Platform for Africa – one of twelve innovative guarantee programs under the EU's External Investment Plan. It will incentivise research and innovation in e-health in less developed and fragile environments, leading to cheaper healthcare services for people on low incomes and saving lives.
This contribution from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation follows on from the announcement at last December's One Planet Summit in Paristhat the Foundation would be joining forces on the EIP with the EU and several Member States, as well as in the DeSIRA initiative (Development-Smart Innovation through Research in Agriculture).