The German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) yesterday announced that it will increase its funding for childhood immunization by pledging an additional €14 million to the GAVI Alliance – bringing Germany’s total contribution to €20 million in 2011. The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation will match Germany’s increase.
This is part of a wider agreement between the German government and the Gates Foundation to cooperate closely in global health policy, agriculture and rural development, water and sanitation, and urban development and microfinance. Gates has also said it will match any further increase in funds for GAVI for 2012 and 2013 should Germany announce these contributions ahead of the June GAVI Pledging Conference, of which the aim is to close GAVI’s US $3.7 billion funding gap for scaling up immunization programmes between 2011 and 2015.
German Development Minister Dirk Niebel described the agreement with Gates as ‘an important example of how German development policy cooperates with partners from civil society and the private economy to boost the effect of development cooperation significantly. The Gates Foundation is an ideal partner for us. Together we will look at issues like innovative finance instruments and result-orientated work.’
The agreement is obviously a high card in Bill Gates’ hand in his efforts to persuade European governments not to cut aid budgets in the face of austerity, and in particular not to reduce spending on vaccinations and agriculture. Gates has visited Paris, Strasbourg and Berlin and will clearly feel that his trip has not been wasted. Even before the agreement was announced, EC President Barroso said that the EC would step up its commitment to GAVI at the June meeting.
Wall Street Journal, 4 April 2011