New York — It's the kickoff to U.N. Week here in New York, and while locals like to complain about the traffic (I can see why), it is a great opportunity for me to meet with leaders from parts of the world where our foundation is working—to talk about global health and development projects.
I started off on Monday morning meeting Nigeria's President Goodluck Jonathan. Besides our work with our partners on polio in Nigeria, we are also working with the government to improve their agricultural sector.
I've written before about China's potential to help developing countries in Africa learn from its successes, but in Nigeria we have a really interesting project just getting off the ground where Brazil is working with Nigeria to bring up agricultural productivity in their northern Guinea savannah. Brazil has done an amazing job helping their own farmers in the Cerrado region to improve their yields, which brings tremendous economic and social benefits.
President Jonathan assembled a meeting of experts in New York and we spent a couple of hours reviewing their progress and discussing next steps. I also had a chance to catch up with President Jonathan about the work we're doing with our partners on polio, which is showing encouraging progress. Nigeria had 43 confirmed cases of polio in the first 8 months of 2013, a drop of 50 percent from the same period last year. Finishing the job is quite an undertaking, so having the President's support is a big deal. I was pleased we got to spend as much time together as we did.