BusinessDay

Gates Foundation earmarks $8.3bn to fight poverty in 2023

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF) says it will spend $8.3 billion to fight poverty, disease, and inequity in 2023.

This is contained in a statement signed by Mark Suzman, chief executive officer of the foundation, on Tuesday in Lagos.

Suzman said the budget was the largest in the foundation’s history and a response to multiple crises that threaten to stall or reverse global progress on the Sustainable Development Goals since the COVID-19 pandemic.

He listed the crises as war, economic turmoil, climate-related disasters, and large decreases in vaccinations for preventable infectious diseases.

Suzman added that all these issues have taken a significant toll on the world’s poorest people.

“The board of trustees’ approval of the budget puts the foundation on track to meet its commitment to reach an annual payout of $9 billion by 2026 and represents a 15 per cent increase over the 2022 forecasted payout.

“This is the toughest period for global health and development in recent memory, but in some ways, it’s also the reason we exist.

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“To help meet the great needs ahead, we are doubling down on our commitment to our core mission: ensuring everyone can live a healthy and productive life,” Suzman said.

Suzman said that people in low-and middle-income countries, especially women and girls, are facing the severe consequences of intersecting global crises.

He, however, said the world has failed to step up with the necessary political will and resources to respond.

Highlighting areas where the foundation makes big bets, Suzman reflected on the unique role of philanthropic capital, particularly in times of crisis.

He said that from improving vaccination rates to advancing women’s economic power, the foundation uses its funds, expertise, relationships, and voice where it could make the biggest impact.

According to him, this is measured in lives saved and opportunities created for all to reach their full potential.

Suzman said the BMGF intervenes by funding innovations that may not be financially attractive or feasible for the private sector or governments.

He added that the foundation step in where markets fail, and invest in research and development that would never leave the lab.