The event which was yesterday, October 10, 2019 presided over by the French President, Emmanuel Macron ended with donors attaining the 14 billion dollar target.
The bells of contribution to the Global Fund's sixth Replenishment Conference organised in Lyon, France rang loudest yesterday as nations, organisations and private partners opened their financial taps to let cash flow out into the coffers of the fund as part of efforts to boost the fight against the deathly diseases of HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. President Paul Biya whose presence did not go unnoticed told reporters his country has injected into the fund, CFA three billion, a significant amount indeed which will go a long way to help in stepping up the fight. And talking about the fight, French President, Emmanuel Macron, who presided at the fundraising exercise, made it a duty to ensure that the target amount of 14 billion dollars is reached. This, he did by announcing that in addition to the contribution of his country which presently occupies second position after the United States, France will top the 13.8 billion dollars raised in Lyon to the 14 billion target. This is the most ever raised by a multilateral health organization, showing incredible commitment to step up the fight against the three diseases. The ceremony which also witnessed the participation of prominent personalities and business gurus including, Bill Gates, the World's richest person, was marked by a medley of testimonies from victims of HIV, TB and Malaria. Perhaps the most pathetic was that of the young girl from Burundi, aged 18 who contracted HIV but could only be diagnosed seven years after because of lack of means. After recounting her story, President Macron took up from there to challenge the international community to completely eradicate these three diseases from the planet. The means, according to the French leader, is there but the will needs to be stepped up. What is at stake now is not to look behind to see what has been done but ahead to see what remains to be done. As has been underscored, the Lyon Conference is just a kick starter for a process that will continue for the next three years. The key contributors, some of whom announced an increase in their contributions even before the replenishment conference include: Germany with one billion Euros, an increase of 17.6 per cent, Canada: 930.4 million Canadian dollars (+ 15.7%), Ireland: 160 million Euros (+ 15%), Japan: 840 Million USD (+ 5%), Luxembourg: 9 million Euros (+ 12%), Portugal: 750,000 Euros (x 3), United Kingdom: 1.44 billion pounds (+16%), Switzerland: CHF 64 million (+ 12%), European Union: 550 million Euros (+15.8%), India: USD 22 Million (+ 10%), Italy: 161 million Euros (+ 15%), Spain: 100 million Euros.