Gates Foundation pledges $7 billion to Africa as Ukraine war diverts donor money


The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation said Thursday it will commit $7 billion to Africa over the next four years, as Bill Gates warned that the Ukraine crisis was reducing the amount of aid flowing to the continent.

The foundation’s pledge, which is 40% more than the amount spent in the past four years, will target projects that address hunger, disease, poverty, and gender inequality.

Nigeria, Africa’s most populous country, will have the largest share.

Humanitarian organizations in Africa struggle to transfer money to Ukraine, and as the Russian invasion drives up commodity prices globally, it affects relief operations.

The billionaire co-founder of Microsoft Corp (MSFT.O) told reporters at the University of Nairobi during a visit to Kenya.

“If you take away all the aid (to Africa) including all the climate aid – we’ll have a couple of years where it’s probably going to go down.”

Kenya and much of East Africa are experiencing their worst drought in four decades.

US-based Christian relief organization World Vision said the drought, exacerbated by conflict and the COVID-19 pandemic, has pushed more than 10 million people in the region “to the brink of a hunger crisis”.

The United Nations says it expects famine to be declared in parts of Somalia this year.

After meeting with Kenyan President William Ruto, Gates said Wednesday that the foundation will set up a regional office in Nairobi.

“Our foundation will continue to support solutions in health, agriculture, and other critical areas — and get systems out of the lab and into the people who need them,” Gates, who runs the foundation with his ex-wife Melinda French, said in a statement.

In 2021, the foundation gave $6.7 billion in philanthropic support, and last week pledged $1.4 billion to help the world’s smallholder farmers adapt to climate change.

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