$14.02 bn promised for global fight against AIDS, TB, malaria

France offers to contribute an extra $60 million

LYON: French president Emmanuel Macron (left) shakes hands with Global Fund managing director Peter Sands during a press conference at the end of the Global Fund meeting to Fight HIV, Tuberculosis and Malaria yesterday. —AFP

LYON: Governments, businesses and philanthropists pledged just over $14 billion yesterday to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, exceeding the target set for a replenishment meeting in Lyon, France. “I am delighted to be able to tell you that having set a target of raising at least $14 billion… we have today secured pledges, commitments for $14.02 billion,” the fund’s chief executive officer Peter Sands announced.

Standing next to conference host Emmanuel Macron, Sands said there had been increases in the pledges of all the G7 bloc of rich countries, 20 donations from African governments, and 11 new donors from the private sector. Sands was speaking shortly after Macron had officially announced the final tally of $13.92 billion, just short of the target. Conference organizers said $14 billion would help save 16 million lives and avert 234 million infections by 2023.

Macron, who in the morning described $14 billion as “the minimum,” and warned he would “not allow anyone to leave this room, nor Lyon, until the $14 billion has been obtained”, said several countries had increased their pledges during the day. African countries have promised double the amount they pledged at the fund’s last meeting in Montreal three years ago, he said. “When there is common cause, we know how to reconciliate,” he said, thanking Qatar and the United Arab Emirates, who contributed $50 million each.

The total of all the pledges came to $13.8 billion, Macron said. France offered to contribute an extra $60 million from its own coffers, which billionaire philanthropist Bill Gates agreed to match for a total of $13.92 billion. Macron said he was “convinced” the shortfall would be made up within weeks as more donors come forward. Just minutes later, however, Sands said all the money had been found. This was despite government officials having predicted that collecting such a large sum would likely be challenging, especially as global attention moves from AIDS towards fighting climate change.- AFP

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