26 January 2012

Africa: The Global Fund Welcomes US$750 Million Promissory Note From the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

Photo: David Poland/PATH Malaria Vaccine Initiative
A worried mother watches over her children who contracted malaria.

press release

Davos, Switzerland — The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria warmly welcomes the announcement by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to strengthen its financial commitment to the Fund through a US$750 million promissory note.

Mr Bill Gates, co-chair of the Gates Foundation made the announcement today at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.

Announcing the contribution, Gates said: "These are tough economic times, but that is no excuse for cutting aid to the world's poorest. The Global Fund is one of the most effective ways we invest our money every year."

The Gates Foundation has been a strong supporter of the Global Fund since its creation in 2002. It has previously contributed USD 650 million and today's announcement brings its total investment in the Global Fund to US$1.4 billion.

Mr Simon Bland, Chair of the Global Fund's Board, welcomed the announcement. "We thank the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation for this commitment and we appreciate the trust the Foundation is continuing to show in the Global Fund as well as the strategic vision that has led the Foundation to invest in the Global Fund throughout our ten-year history.

Millions of lives depend on a predictable stream of funding from the Global Fund. This promissory note gives the Global Fund the flexibility and authority to distribute funds efficiently based on immediate needs. "

A promissory note is a legally binding agreement for future payment. The $750 million promissory note issued to the Global Fund is the Gates Foundation's 2011-2016 commitment to the Fund.

The Global Fund must have enough cash in the bank to cover all signed grants, regardless of the pay-out date. A promissory note also counts as cash in the bank, immediately increasing the amount of funds available for grants.

If the Foundation had renewed its $500 million 2006-2011 cash commitment, $100 million per year for five years would have been made available to the Global Fund. With a promissory note, $750 million is available immediately for the Global Fund to continue its lifesaving programs. The Global Fund is forecasted to have US$10 billion available between 2011 and 2013 to disburse for health programs, $2 billion more than in the past three-year period.

However, this sum is still below the projected demand by countries receiving funding, and the Global Fund, together with its partners and advocacy organizations, will make a particular effort this year to increase the funding available by up to an additional US$2 billion by 2013.

"There is no such thing as standing still in the fight against the three diseases," said Mr. Bland. "If the funding level stagnates now, the world will not achieve the great goals that are within reach, such as a world where no child is born with HIV, where no one needs to die from malaria, and eventually, a world where all who need it get effective drugs to treat TB and live with HIV."

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