Bill Gates and EIB President Hoyer agree to accelerate support for human development and climate action
9 October 2019
Cooperation across Africa improving health diagnostics to transform healthcare
Partnership to tackle investment barriers holding back research to prevent and treat malaria
EUR 100m Breakthrough Energy Ventures-Europe fund backing clean energy technology
Meeting in Brussels earlier today Bill Gates, Co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and Chairman of Breakthrough Energy Ventures, and European Investment Bank President Werner Hoyer highlighted the benefits of close cooperation between philanthropy and public finance to invest in sustainable development and climate action. They also welcomed progress on new joint initiatives to improve health and support energy innovation.
“Whether you’re talking about improving outcomes in global health and development or tackling climate change, the tools we have today aren’t enough to solve the challenges we face. It is great to see the European Investment Bank growing its engagement with philanthropic organizations and the private sector, including the Gates Foundation and Breakthrough Energy Ventures, to accelerate progress in these areas. These partnerships will help increase investment in human capital, reduce global inequality and lay the groundwork for sustainable prosperity,” said Bill Gates.
“The European Investment Bank welcomes the opportunity to work with the Gates Foundation to combine our respective development, climate and financial expertise. Cooperation between the EU Bank and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation will enhance access to reliable medical testing across Africa and increase research into curing malaria, and the partnership with Breakthrough Energy Ventures will accelerate deployment of new technology to replace fossil-intensive energy generation. We look forward to increasing our partnership supporting innovative technologies for climate action and tackling infectious diseases, and expanding the scope of our joint engagement in the years ahead.” said Werner Hoyer, President of the European Investment Bank.
Bill Gates and President Hoyer discussed three new financing initiatives that address inequality, contribute to sustainable development and support climate action; discussions with European finance ministers to increase EIB support for development finance; and the EIB’s plans to double financing for climate action and environmental sustainability.
Improving health diagnostics across Africa
Unreliable medical testing and limited access to health diagnostics pose a significant challenge to improving health outcomes in Africa.
The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the European Investment Bank are joint partners in the African Health Diagnostics Platform, a new initiative dedicated to making quality diagnostic services accessible to low-income communities in sub-Saharan Africa. The European Commission under the External Investment Plan supports the platform.
The African Health Diagnostics Platform is expected to be rolled out in Ethiopia, Ghana and Rwanda by early 2020, with other countries anticipated to follow
Scaling up malaria research and development
In addition, President Hoyer and Mr. Gates discussed their mutual interest in scaling up scientific research on new tools to prevent and treat malaria. Progress against this disease is held back by limited commercial investment, increasing resistance to some treatments available today, and the impact of global warming on mosquito populations and behaviour among other causes.
The European Investment Bank is currently leading the establishment of a new fund intended to finance companies leading development of new malaria tools, in which the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has expressed its intent to participate.
The new EU Malaria Fund is expected to be operational by the end of 2019.
Increasing clean energy innovation to fight climate change
Investment to scale up adoption of new energy technology is essential to reduce carbon emissions.
Earlier this year Breakthrough Energy Ventures and the European Investment Bank launched the EUR 100 million Breakthrough Energy Ventures-Europe fund intended to support companies developing innovative energy technology that can be used for clean transport, agriculture, industry, buildings and electricity.
Climate financing by seven of the world’s largest multilateral development banks (MDBs) accounted for $61.6 billion in 2019, of which $41.5 billion (67%) was in low- and middle-income economies, according to the 2019 Joint Report on Multilateral Development Banks’ Climate Finance. The study expands the scope of reportingfor the first timeto all countries of operation. It now provides data on MDB climate finance commitments beyond those directed solely at developing and emerging economies, but with the focus remaining on low- and middle-income countries.
The EIB is set to support the development of new treatments for progressive vascular calcification, an area of significant unmet medical need where there are currently no approved treatments. To this end, the EU bank will provide a €20 million loan to Spanish biopharmaceutical company Sanifit, which is developing novel treatments in two disease indications linked to calcification.
The EIB and Italian biotech company EryDel SpA have signed a contract to provide a loan of €30 million to EryDel. This late-stage biotech company aims to develop and commercialise therapies based on its proprietary RBC technology for the treatment of rare diseases. The EU bank’s loan is backed by a guarantee from the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI), the main pillar of the Investment Plan for Europe under which the EIB and the European Commission are working together as strategic partners, with the EIB’s financing operations boosting the competitiveness of the European economy.