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DAVOS, SWITZERLAND — U.S. billionaire and Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates on Thursday announced his foundation will give $750 million to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria after several countries stopped their payments over the alleged misuse of funds. Bill Gates made the announcement at the World Economic Forum in Davos in the hopes of attracting more donors in light of the recent scandal. “These are tough economic times, but that is no excuse for cutting aid to the world’s poorest,” he said. “The Global Fund is one of the most effective ways we invest our money every year.” The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has been a strong supporter of the Geneva-based Fund, which was founded in January 2002 to increase resources to fight three of the world’s most devastating diseases. Including Thursday’s announcement, Gates will have contributed a total of $1.4 billion. “We thank the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation for this commitment and we appreciate the trust the Foundation is continuing to show in the Global Fund as well as the strategic vision that has led the Foundation to invest in the Global Fund throughout our ten-year history,” said Simon Bland, Chair of the Global Fund’s Board. “Millions of lives depend on a predictable stream of funding from the Global Fund. This promissory note gives the Global Fund the flexibility and authority to distribute funds efficiently based on immediate needs.” The $750 million pledge was made in a legally binding agreement for future payment and will represent the Gates Foundation’s 2011-2016 commitment to the Fund. “With a promissory note, $750 million is available immediately for the Global Fund to continue its lifesaving programs,” the Fund said in a statement. The Global Fund expects to have approximately $10 billion available between 2011 and 2013 to disburse for health programs, $2 billion more than during the previous three-year period. But the figure is still below the projected demand and the Fund will appeal this year to gather an additional $2 billion. “There is no such thing as standing still in the fight against the three diseases,” Bland said. “If the funding level stagnates now, the world will not achieve the great goals that are within reach, such as a world where no child is born with HIV, where no one needs to die from malaria, and eventually, a world where all who need it get effective drugs to treat TB and live with HIV.” Earlier this week, the fund’s director Michel Kazatchkine announced his resignation after media reports last year which alleged poor financial monitoring leading to tens of millions of dollars being misappropriated. As a result of the allegations, several countries stopped their payments.
The Global Fund is the world’s main financier of programs to fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. Since its creation in 2002, the Global Fund has provided funding of $22.6 billion for more than 1,000 programs in 150 countries. The organization says its programs have provided AIDS treatment for 3.3 million people, anti-tuberculosis treatment for 8.6 million people and 230 million insecticide-treated nets for the prevention of malaria.