The commitment includes $50 million in financing and $12.5 million in technical assistance. The EU will match the foundation's investment with a contribution of €50 million ($61.8 million). Adopted last September, the External Investment Plan is designed to encourage additional private investment in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals and scaling SDG-related projects more rapidly.
The partnership with the EU on health follows the announcement of a joint initiative in December to help smallholder farmers in developing countries adapt to climate change — an effort to which the Gates Foundation has pledged $300 million and the EU will commit €270 million ($333.7 million).
"The EU accounts for a third of foreign direct investment into Africa — this is now helping create jobs and growth on both of our continents," said European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker. "But we must do more to improve the business environment and provide a platform for African innovators to grow. This requires the full involvement of the private and philanthropic sectors, and I am grateful to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation for their much-needed engagement. This is an investment in our shared future. Europe's partnership with Africa is one in which we support each other, help each other to prosper, and make the world a safer, more stable, and more sustainable place to live."
"Improving health outcomes allows a society to become more prosperous and productive," said Gates Foundation co-chair Bill Gates. "There has been a lot of progress in this area in sub-Saharan Africa since 2000, but we need to do more to incentivize research and innovation that benefits the poor. It is fantastic that the European Commission, in partnership with African countries, is leading the way in reducing deep-seated inequities in global health. This commitment will create opportunities that will help people lift themselves and their communities out of poverty."