The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation said on Thursday it would allocate $7 billion to Africa over the next four years, as Bill Gates warned that the Ukraine crisis was reducing the amount of aid reaching the continent.
The Foundation’s commitment, which is 40% more than the amount spent over the previous four years, will focus on projects that address hunger, disease, poverty and gender inequality. Nigeria, Africa’s most populous country, will take the lion’s share.
Aid groups in Africa are grappling with the siphoning of funds into Ukraine, and the invasion of Russia is raising the prices of goods globally, affecting aid operations.
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“European budgets are deeply affected by the war in Ukraine and therefore at the moment the aid trend is not to increase,” the billionaire co-founder of Microsoft Corp told reporters at the University of Nairobi during a visit to Kenya.
“If you bring all the aid (to Africa), including all the climate aid, we’ll have a few years where it’s probably going to go down.”
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Kenya and much of East Africa are experiencing their worst drought in four decades.
The drought, compounded by conflict and the COVID-19 pandemic, has brought more than 10 million people in the region “to the brink of a hunger crisis,” the US-based Christian aid group said this week. World Vision. The United Nations says it expects famine to be declared in parts of Somalia this year.
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Following a meeting with Kenyan President William Ruto, Gates said Wednesday that the Foundation would set up a regional office in Nairobi.
“Our foundation will continue to support solutions in health, agriculture and other critical areas, and the systems to get them out of the lab and into the people who need them,” Gates, who runs the foundation with his ex-wife Melinda French. Gates said in a statement.
In 2021, the Foundation provided charitable support of $6.7 billion and last week pledged $1.4 billion to help the world’s small farmers cope with climate change.