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Gates Pledges $750 Million To Global Fund

Speaking at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, on Thursday, Bill Gates, co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, pledged $750 million on behalf of the foundation to the Geneva-based Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, the Associated Press reports. Gates said the donation, which comes on top of $650 million contributed by the foundation to the fund over the last decade, “is meant to encourage other potential donors,” the AP notes (Heilprin/Jordans, 1/26). According to the Financial Times, the Global Fund “will receive the money within five years, but with the option to draw on the total amount immediately to cover temporary shortfalls in cash from its other donors, most of whom are industrialized nations’ official development agencies” (Jack, 1/26).

“Some governments have frozen funding commitments or cut back on new pledges in recent months as the global economic crisis places strains on budgets,” the International Herald Tribune’s “Rendezvous” blog reports (Pfanner, 1/26). According to the Financial Times, “Mr. Gates’ money will help accelerate a number of programs which were gaining momentum just as government donors began to cut back on funding.” Gates said in a statement, “The Global Fund is one of the most effective ways we invest our money every year. By supporting the Global Fund, we can help to change the fortunes of the poorest countries in the world. I can’t think of more important work,” the Financial Times notes (1/26).