In an effort to strengthen the EU diagnostic health services programmes in Sub-Saharan Africa,  the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation will contribute €54 million of support under the External Investment Plan, which will help mobilise private investment in laboratory facilities to provide diagnostic services for diseases including tuberculosis, HIV, and malaria, as well as support maternal and child healthcare.

The decision by the Foundation comes months after a joint announcement by European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker and Bill Gates earlier in the year that said the Gates Foundation intended to contribute to the EU’s External Investment Plan.

“Together with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, we are showcasing the EU’s engagement in Africa. Through the Gates Foundation’s contribution of €54 million to our External Investment Plan, we will unlock private investment in a sector where additional investments in state-of-the-art testing facilities are urgently needed in order to meet the health needs of ample sectors of the population. This also shows that our approach under the ‘Africa – Europe Alliance’ works and is attractive to other stakeholders,” said The European Commissioner for International Cooperation and Development Neven Mimica.

The majority of the Gates Foundation’s contribution – €43.2 million – will support the European Fund for Sustainable Development Guarantee, an important pillar of the EU’s External Investment Plan.

The funds will be used to help leverage private investment and promote inclusive growth and job creation in Africa and countries neighbouring Europe.