October 18, 2018—The European Union (EU) is making headway in raising matching funds towards paying for projects that will help discourage desperate Africans in future from risking the Mediterranean crossing in search of jobs in the EU. Just over 3000 Africans died in the attempt last year.
On Thursday, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation contributed €54 million ($62.5 million) to the EU for strengthening diagnostic health services in sub-Saharan Africa under the External Investment Plan (EIP). The Gates have a combined net worth of about $95 billion, but also happen to be one of the most generous billionaires in the world.
Neven Mimica, the EU Commissioner for International Cooperation and Development 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.”
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.”
EIP was launched in 2017 and is The External Investment Plan (EIP) is designed to attract more investment, in particular from businesses and private investors, into countries near the EU (‘EU Neighbourhood’) and in Africa. It is expected to leverage €44 billion of investment through an initial EU input of €4.1 billion.
The Plan will do so by using public money to lower the risk of investing in key sectors like sustainable energy or lending to small businesses. In this way it aims to create jobs, raise living standards and reach the UN Sustainable Development Goals. It is also intended to support entrepreneurs and enable economies to grow and also tackle some of the reasons why people leave their countries of origin in Africa and the EU Neighbourhood (migration).
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 EIP. 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 12 innovative guarantee programs under the EU’s External Investment Plan.