Gates Foundation Commits $250m To Combat COVID-19 Pandemic

File photo: Bill and Melinda Gates

 

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation said on Thursday it had pledged $250 million in additional funding towards the global campaign to fight the coronavirus pandemic.

Part of the funds will be channelled to the distribution of life-saving doses of Covid-19 vaccines to parts of Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia.

“We have new drugs and more potential vaccines than we could have expected at the start of the year,” said Bill Gates in a statement.

READ ALSO: Israel To Start COVID-19 Vaccinations On December 27

“But these innovations will only save lives if they get out into the world,” he said.

Funding is one of the biggest hurdles for Africa, home to some of the world’s poorest countries.

The World Health Organization has identified the goal of vaccinating three percent of Africans by March 2021 and 20 percent by the end of next year.

But it said only around a quarter of 47 countries on the continent have enough plans for resources and financing.

Coordinator for the Gates Foundation’s Covid-19 response in Africa, Solomon Zewdu said part of the funding announced Thursday would help ensure that vaccines reach some 780 million people on the continent.

It is critical to make sure the vaccines “are effectively financed to find their way onto the continent and the least appreciated corners of Africa,” Zewdu told AFP in a virtual interview.

“The focus right now is to say …how do we get those vaccines beyond the tarmacs of particular airports like, you know Addis Ababa airport, Kinshasa, Lagos into communities and immunise people. Unless that’s done then we haven’t done the work.”

WHO estimates that getting the vaccine to “priority” population sectors in Africa will require $5.7 billion, plus 15-20 percent for delivery, syringes and other injection material.

Africa has recorded more than 2.3 million cases, of which 54,800 have been fatal.

South Africa, which with more than 828,000 cases is the continent’s worst-hit country, on Wednesday said it had now entered a second wave of the pandemic.

 

AFP

Elon Musk Becomes World’s Second Richest Man Ahead Of Bill Gates

In this file photo Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla and SpaceX, poses on the red carpet as he arrives for the 43rd "Goldenes Lenkrad" (Golden Steering Wheel) awards on November 12, 2019 in Berlin. Tobias SCHWARZ / AFP
In this file photo Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla and SpaceX, poses on the red carpet as he arrives for the 43rd “Goldenes Lenkrad” (Golden Steering Wheel) awards on November 12, 2019 in Berlin. Tobias SCHWARZ / AFP

 

Tesla CEO, Elon Musk’s climb along the world’s richest men ladder continues with him now in second place ahead of the co-founder of Microsoft, Bill Gates.

According to the Blomberg Billionaire Index, Elon’s net worth hit a high on Monday as share prices continued its surge from $7.2 billion to $127.9 billion and with the company’s inclusion in the S&P 500 index raising stock value close to $500Billion.Meanwhile, Gates stocks also moved from $67.3 billion to $127.7 billion which puts him in the third spot.

Musk re-emphasized back in 2006 that his goal was to;

”Build sports car. Use that money to build an affordable car. Use that money to build an even more affordable car. While doing above, also provide zero-emission electric power generation options.”

He also predicted that self-driving Tesla s, which are still a work in progress would be a game-changer in the automaker industry, and in July of 2020, his company’s market capitalization surpassed Toyota’s for the first time.

READ ALSO: Elon Musk Says He Tested Negative And Positive For COVID-19

Gates on the other hand has given as much as $45.5 billion to charitable causes, including the eponymously named Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation which would have made him an even bigger billionaire.

Musk and Gates have had a somewhat chaotic year with the business magnates having differing views on important issues. Gates in early August referred to electric cars in a blog post as  “never be a practical solution” for replacing trucks and long-haul vehicles, while Musk’s replied to him via his Twitter handle saying that “he has no clue” about electric trucks. Musk has further gone on to call Gates a “knucklehead” for criticizing his efforts on conducting coronavirus antibody studies.

Musk’s net worth is not solely down to a large stake in Tesla, but also to his other companies, space exploration group SpaceX, and infrastructure and construction firm The Boring Company.

 

 

‘I Will Miss My Dad Every Day’: Bill Gates Mourns Father, 94

gates-william
Gates Senior passed away on Monday. Photo: GateNotes

 

Bill Gates has described his late father, William Gates who passed away on Monday as a huge influence in his life, saying he will miss him “every day.”

“We will miss him more than we can express right now. We are feeling grief but also gratitude,” Bill wrote in a lengthy tribute to his dad whose death – aged 94 – was announced by the family on Tuesday.

In the tribute captioned Remembering My Father, Gates said his dad’s influence transcended his immediate family, counting himself and his siblings lucky to have had him as a parent.

“They gave us constant encouragement and were always patient with us. I knew their love and support were unconditional, even when we clashed in my teenage years,” the American business magnate added.

“I am sure that’s one of the reasons why I felt comfortable taking some big risks when I was young, like leaving college to start Microsoft with Paul Allen. I knew they would be in my corner even if I failed.”

 

File photo: Bill and Melinda Gates

 

While describing his late father as a philanthropist and a man with great work ethic, Gates credited him to have been instrumental in the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

“The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation would not be what it is today without my dad. More than anyone else, he shaped the values of the foundation,” he said. “He was collaborative, judicious, and serious about learning.”

As a father, and husband, Bill said William Gates had a “profoundly positive influence on my most important roles,” teaching him how to respect women and treat children with love and respect.

Recalling a letter his late father wrote to him during his 50th birthday, the philanthropist admitted that Gates Snr urged him to stay curious.

“He said some very touching things about how much he loved being a father to my sisters and me,” he disclosed, adding that “he was everything I try to be. I will miss him every day.”

Twitter Accounts Of Apple, Musk, Gates Hacked In Scam

(FILES) In this file photo illustration, a Twitter logo is displayed on a mobile phone on May 27, 2020, in Arlington, Virginia. - Twitter shares closed the formal trading day up more than 7 percent after word spread of a team codenamed "Gryphon" working on a subscription platform. (Photo by Olivier DOULIERY / AFP)
(FILES) In this file photo illustration, a Twitter logo is displayed on a mobile phone on May 27, 2020, in Arlington, Virginia.  (Photo by Olivier DOULIERY / AFP)

 

 

The official Twitter accounts of Apple, Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos and others were hijacked on Wednesday by scammers trying to dupe people into sending cryptocurrency bitcoin, in a massive hack.

The list of accounts commandeered grew rapidly to include Joe Biden, Barack Obama, Uber, Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates, bitcoin specialty firms and many others.

“Tough day for us at Twitter,” chief executive Jack Dorsey said in a tweet.

“We all feel terrible this happened. We’re diagnosing and will share everything we can when we have a more complete understanding of exactly what happened.”

 

The official Twitter accounts of Apple, Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos and others were hijacked on Wednesday by scammers in a massive hack — who according to cyber police were trying to dupe people into sending cryptocurrency bitcoin.

 

The Biden campaign told AFP that Twitter locked down the hacked account quickly and removed the bogus tweet.

Twitter disabled the ability to tweet from validated accounts, those with the official blue checkmarks, for about two hours while working on a fix.

“Most accounts should be able to Tweet again,” the Twitter support team said in an evening update of the situation.

 

 

“As we continue working on a fix, this functionality may come and go. We’re working to get things back to normal as quickly as possible.”

The duplicitous posts, which were largely deleted, were fired off from the array of high-profile accounts telling people they had 30 minutes to send $1,000 in bitcoin in order to be sent back twice as much.

“This is a SCAM, DO NOT participate!” Gemini cryptocurrency exchange co-founder Cameron Winklevoss warned from his official account on Twitter.

“This is the same attack/takeover that other major crypto twitter accounts are experiencing. Be vigilant!”

BitTorrent chief executive Justin Sun is offering a $1 million reward for finding the Twitter hackers and bringing them to justice, according to media reports.

-‘Giving back’-
The site Blockchain.com, which monitors transactions made in cryptocurrencies, said a total of 12.58 bitcoins, worth almost $116,000, had been sent to the email addresses mentioned in the fraudulent tweets.

The tweet that appeared on Musk’s Twitter feed said, “Happy Wednesday! I am giving back Bitcoin to all of my followers. I am doubling all payments sent to the Bitcoin address below. You send 0.1 BTC, I send 0.2 BTC back!”

 

 

It added that the offer was “only going on for 30 minutes.”

The fake messages that appeared on the accounts of other famous personalities made similar promises of instant riches.

The account of US President Donald Trump, which has more than 83 million followers, was not among those hacked.

The official Twitter accounts of Apple, Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos and others were hijacked on Wednesday by scammers in a massive hack — who according to cyber police were trying to dupe people into sending cryptocurrency bitcoin.

 

 

“Given the accounts that got hacked more recently (Apple, Uber, Gates, Musk, etc), I am now leaning towards this being an internal compromise of a Twitter system, not an API attack from a social aggregator service,” bitcoin authority and author Andreas Antonopoulos said in a tweet from his @aantonop account.

Rachel Tobac of cyber-security firm SocialProof Security theorized that hackers got control of a Twitter employee’s administrative access to “take over a prominent account and tweet on their behalf.”

As evening arrived on Twitter home turf in San Francisco, the company continued to investigate what happened.

A version of the scam invited people to click on a link at which they would be exploited.

 

The official Twitter accounts of Apple, Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos and others were hijacked on Wednesday by scammers in a massive hack — who according to cyber police were trying to dupe people into sending cryptocurrency bitcoin.

 

“All major crypto Twitter accounts have been compromised,” Winklevoss warned in a tweet.

Among the hacked accounts was @gemini, used by the crypto-exchange, according to his twin brother and co-founder Tyler Winklevoss.

Twitter has been targeted by hackers in the past.

In March 2017, the accounts of Amnesty International, the French economics ministry and the BBC’s North America service were broken into by hackers believed to have been loyal to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Last August, a series of insulting or racist messages were posted on the personal account of Twitter founder Dorsey without his knowledge.

COVID-19: Bill Gates Conspiracy Theories Echo Through Africa

In this file photo US Microsoft founder, Co-Chairman of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Bill Gates, poses for a picture on October 9, 2019, in Lyon, central eastern France, during the funding conference of Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. JEFF PACHOUD / AFP
In this file photo US Microsoft founder, Co-Chairman of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Bill Gates, poses for a picture on October 9, 2019, in Lyon, central eastern France, during the funding conference of Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. JEFF PACHOUD / AFP.

 

As the novel coronavirus wreaks global havoc, Bill Gates is the new bete noire for conspiracy theorists worldwide including in Africa where a Kenyan politician’s false online post has added major fuel to the spread of misinformation.

While Gates’s vaccine programmes on the continent have long provided ample fodder for speculation, the bogus claims have gained new traction amid the pandemic.

On March 15, Nairobi governor Mike Sonko published an old video of Gates warning about the consequences of a future pandemic, with the caption “Bill Gates told us about the coronavirus 2015 (sic)”.

While the clip shows the philanthropist telling an audience that the world was unprepared for global outbreaks in his TED talk five years ago, he made no mention of the coronavirus.

Sonko’s post generated so many interactions among his two-million plus Facebook followers that it remains the most prolific global post about Gates in the COVID-19 era, according to social media analysis tool CrowdTangle.

READ ALSO: COVID-19: Do Not Cut Health Spending During Downturn, WHO Warns

So far, it has been shared more than one million times and has garnered 38 million views on social media.

The post highlights the role played by local public figures in spreading false or misleading claims in different parts of the world, according to the Washington-based Atlantic Council’s Digital Forensic Research Lab (DFRLab), which studies disinformation globally.

“They typically travel beyond… niche communities when an influencer, such as a prominent celebrity, or even mainstream media source, amplifies them,” DFRLab’s Zarine Kharazian told AFP.

“Once they’ve achieved this level of spread, they migrate across languages.”

– ‘All-powerful elites’ –

Rumours about links between Gates and the current pandemic have enjoyed particularly broad appeal among different conspiracy communities worldwide since the virus erupted in the Chinese city of Wuhan in December 2019.

Since January, more than 683,000 posts globally from public Facebook pages and groups mentioned Gates, producing nearly 53 million likes, shares and views.

“One commonality of conspiracy theories that seems to span borders, languages, and cultures is a mistrust in ‘all-powerful elites’ and institutions,” Kharazian said.

“Gates’s prominent profile, outspokenness and active engagement in international public health work has made him a prime target for this particular strain of conspiracy.”

Among the most popular claims in Africa is the idea that Gates wants to control mankind with the use of microchip implants or digital tattoos.

Conspiracy theorists have also alleged that Gates stands to profit handsomely from an eventual vaccine and that his foundation patented a treatment years ago before unleashing the novel coronavirus.

Others again believe he created the virus for population control — a sensitive point in Africa where much of the visible push-back online has focused on the issue of a COVID-19 vaccine and experimental trials on local test subjects.

– Past controversies fuel suspicion –

A history of Western medical abuses in Africa explains some of the backlash, said Sara Cooper, senior scientist at the South African Medical Research Council’s Cochrane Centre.

“Over the last few decades, there have been various incidents of medical research conducted in Africa which have involved gross human rights abuses,” she told AFP.

They range from forced sterilisation experiments carried out in Namibia when it was part of Germany’s colonies in the late 1800s, to controversial drug trials conducted by Western pharmaceutical giants in various African nations in the 1990s.

The distrust of Western vaccines was evidenced by a recent viral post, which claimed that French maverick scientist Didier Raoult had warned Africans against using “the Bill Gates vaccine” because it contained “poison”.

AFP Fact Check debunked the claim — Raoult never made the comments and a vaccine does not yet exist.

But it struck a chord: the French version of the post was shared more than 47,000 times before it was taken down.

Politicians in Nigeria have also pushed similar narratives including Femi Fani-Kayode, a former aviation minister notorious for sharing misinformation along political and religious lines.

Fani-Kayode, who has a strong following among Christians from southern Nigeria, has shared multiple posts claiming Gates was part of a secretive power elite, which wanted to achieve world domination using the coronavirus and 5G technology among other things.

– WHO fights back –

As the virus numbers and rumours spiralled, agencies like the World Health Organization (WHO) raced to stem the spread of misinformation by running online campaigns and helping governments to set up dedicated web portals.

The WHO also held a workshop with more than 50 journalists in Nigeria in February.

“Journalists and media are critical to getting the right messages to the community,” emergency officer Dhamari Naidoo said.

“We want you to transmit the right information to the people, and to contribute in stopping the spread of rumours.”

AFP

COVID-19: US Halting Of WHO Funding Is ‘Dangerous,’ Says Bill Gates

Microsoft founder and billionaire philanthropist Bill Gates leaves the Elysee presidential palace, after a meeting with French President on April 16, 2018 in Paris.
Lionel BONAVENTURE / AFP

 

American business tycoon, Bill Gates, has described President Donald Trump’s halting of funding to the World Health Organization (WHO) as “dangerous as it sounds.”

President Trump had on Tuesday said he was instructing his administration to halt funding while “a review is conducted to assess the World Health Organization’s role in severely mismanaging and covering up the spread of the coronavirus.”

Trump explained that the US will now “discuss what to do with all that money that goes to the WHO.”

Gates in a tweet on his handle, however, faulted Trump’s decision at a time the world is fighting a pandemic.

“Halting funding for the World Health Organization during a world health crisis is as dangerous as it sounds,” the businessman said.

The world, more than ever, needs the WHO which is helping to slow down the spread of COVID-19, according to Gates.

He said: “Their work is slowing the spread of COVID-19 and if that work is stopped no other organization can replace them. The world needs @WHO now more than ever.”

The WHO had in January declared coronavirus a public health emergency of global concern with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation pledging about $100m to help in the fight against the pandemic.

According to the foundation, the money will be deployed to help find a vaccine for the pandemic

Bill Gates Exits Microsoft Board

 In this file photo US Microsoft founder, Co-Chairman of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Bill Gates, poses for a picture on October 9, 2019, in Lyon, central eastern France, during the funding conference of Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria.  JEFF PACHOUD / AFP
In this file photo US Microsoft founder, Co-Chairman of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Bill Gates, poses for a picture on October 9, 2019, in Lyon, central eastern France, during the funding conference of Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. JEFF PACHOUD / AFP

 

Microsoft on Friday announced that co-founder Bill Gates has left its board of directors to devote more time to philanthropy.

The 64-year-old stopped being involved in day-to-day operations at the firm more than a decade ago, turning his attention to the foundation he launched with his wife, Melinda.

Gates served as chairman of Microsoft’s board of directors until early in 2014 and has now stepped away entirely, according to the Redmond-based technology giant.

“It’s been a tremendous honor and privilege to have worked with and learned from Bill over the years,” Microsoft chief executive and company veteran Satya Nadella said in a release.

“Bill founded our company with a belief in the democratizing force of software and a passion to solve society’s most pressing challenges; and Microsoft and the world are better for it.”

Nadella said Microsoft would continue to benefit from Gates’ “technical passion and advice” in his continuing role as a technical advisor.

“I am grateful for Bill’s friendship and look forward to continuing to work alongside him,” Nadella said.

Computing and compassion

Gates left his CEO position in 2000, handing the company reins to Steve Ballmer to devote more time to his charitable foundation.

He gave up the role of chairman at the same time Nadella became Microsoft’s third CEO in 2014.

Regularly listed among the world’s richest people, William H. Gates was a geeky-looking young man when he and Paul Allen co-founded Microsoft in 1975.

Gates grew up in Seattle with two sisters. His father William was an attorney and his late mother Mary was a schoolteacher and chairwoman of United Way International.

He began programming computers as a 13-year-old student, and fell in love with the machines.

Among the tales told about Gates is that while working on school computers, he tinkered with programming to put himself in classes made up mostly of girls.

With his parents’ blessing, Gates dropped out of Harvard to start “Micro-soft” with his late childhood friend Allen.

A key move was to focus on licensing software to computer makers in numerous “partnerships” that resulted in affordable machines being available to the masses.

As the personal computer market grew, Microsoft became the world’s top software company. Its virtual monopoly led to a much-publicized antitrust trial, in which the company managed to avert a break-up but had to endure years of government monitoring.

Gates went on to turn his attention from software to fighting disease and other humanitarian challenges with his wife, under the auspices of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

“This move is not surprising to the Street as Gates has continued to focus more on his myriad of philanthropies across the globe over the past decade,” Wedbush analyst Daniel Ives said in a note to investors.

“Gates is a historic figure in the technology world and his legacy at Microsoft will be felt in Redmond for decades to come.”

 

AFP

Gates Foundation Donates $100m For Coronavirus Fight

Bill Gates

 

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation on Wednesday pledges to commit up to $100 million for the global response to the novel coronavirus epidemic that has claimed nearly 500 lives.

The funding will be used to strengthen detection, isolation and treatment efforts, the foundation said, including protecting at-risk populations and developing vaccines and diagnostics.

“Multilateral organizations, national governments, the private sector and philanthropies must work together to slow the pace of the outbreak, help countries protect their most vulnerable citizens and accelerate the development of the tools to bring this epidemic under control,” said Gates Foundation CEO Mark Suzman.

The amount includes $10 million previously pledged in late January.

The foundation said it would direct $20 million to organizations like the World Health Organization, the US Centers for Disease Control and Protection, the National Health Commission of China and the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

A further $20 million would be allocated to help public health authorities in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia, regions which have been disproportionately affected by recent epidemics like the H1N1 (swine flu) pandemic of 2009.

The foundation also pledged up to $60 million to accelerate the discovery, development and testing of vaccines, treatments and diagnostics for the virus.

AFP

Bill Gates Emerges World Richest Man, Again

Bill Gates

 

Microsoft Founder and philanthropist, Bill Gates has, once again, reclaimed the position of the world’s richest person, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.

Gates is said to have a net-worth of $110 billion.

He replaces Amazon founder, Jeff Bezos, at the top spot after Microsoft’s shares went up nearly 48 percent this year.

Microsoft’s success this year has been helped by winning a US Pentagon $10 billion cloud-computing contract in October.

It is the first time in over two years Gates has held the top spot although in October he briefly topped Bezos after Amazon reported a profit drop.

US, Gates Foundation Plan $200m For Sickle Cell, HIV Cures

Microsoft founder and billionaire philanthropist Bill Gates leaves the Elysee presidential palace, after a meeting with French President on April 16, 2018 in Paris. Lionel BONAVENTURE / AFP

 

The US government and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation pledged Wednesday to jointly invest $200 million over the next four years to achieve affordable gene therapy-based cures for sickle cell disease (SCD) and HIV.

The administration of President Donald Trump announced earlier this year its intention to end the HIV epidemic over the next decade and has also identified SCD, which disproportionately affects people of African descent, as a condition requiring greater attention.

Gene therapy is a relatively new area of medicine designed to replace faulty genes in the body that are responsible for a disorder, and has been responsible for new treatments for blindness and certain types of leukemia.

But the treatments are complex and costly, ruling them out as an option for most of the world.

Francis Collins, director of the National Institutes of Health, said the collaboration would focus therefore on “access, scalability and affordability” to make sure the eventual treatments are available globally.

The NIH and Gates Foundation aim to achieve clinical trials in the United States and countries in sub-Saharan Africa within the next seven to 10 years.

Sickle cell disease is a group of inherited red blood cell disorders characterized by the presence of an abnormal protein in the red blood cells, causing the feet and hands to swell, fatigue, jaundice, and episodic or chronic pain.

Over time the disease can harm a patients’ vital organs, bones, joints and skin and it is currently only curable via a blood and bone marrow transplant, available to only a tiny fraction of people who have the disease.

When it comes to HIV, antiretroviral therapy (ART) are now able to reduce patients’ viral load to the point that they are undetectable and cannot be further transmitted.

But “a major goal is to find a cure, whereby lifelong ART would not be required,” said the NIH’s Anthony Fauci.

Though SCD is a genetically inherited disease, and HIV is acquired from infection, gene-based treatments are said to hold promise for both, and “many of the technical challenges for gene-based cures are expected to be common to both diseases.”

The goal for SCD is to achieve a gene-based intervention that either corrects the gene mutation responsible or promotes fetal hemoglobin gene expression to achieve normal hemoglobin function.

For HIV, the proposed cure would involve targeting the reservoir of proviral DNA that lurks inside a small number of cells even after many years of ART.

The NIH said that approximately 95 percent of the 38 million people living with HIV globally are in the developing world, with 67 percent in sub-Saharan Africa, half of whom are living untreated. Around 1.1 million Americans are affected

SCD affects approximately 100,000 Americans, according to official figures. Fifteen million babies will be born with SCD globally over the next 30 years, with about 75 percent of those births occurring in sub-Saharan Africans, said the NIH.

PHOTOS: Buhari Meets Bill Gates, Dangote In New York

 

President Muhammadu Buhari has met with Bill Gates and Business mogul, Aliko Dangote in New York.

During the meeting on Wednesday, the President applauded the contributions of Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, as well as Aliko Dangote Foundation to humanitarian and developmental activities in Nigeria.

See Photos Below: 

Buhari Applauds Bill Gates, Dangote For Humanitarian Activities In Nigeria

Aliko Dangote, Bill Gates and President Muhammadu Buhari

 

President Muhammadu Buhari on Wednesday applauded the contributions of Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, as well as Aliko Dangote Foundation to humanitarian and developmental activities in Nigeria.

Meeting with the duo at the sidelines of the 74th United Nations General Assembly in New York, the President said they have touched humanity in many positive ways and congratulated them “for achieving what you had set out to do.”

“Thanks for deriving pleasure in helping people. Congratulations to you for returning part of your wealth to the people in diverse ways. Whatever we save in areas in which you have intervened, we can deploy to other areas like the building of infrastructure,” President Buhari said.

READ ALSO: We Will Increase Access To Water For Nigerians, Buhari Tells UNGA

On agriculture, in which Alhaji Dangote makes huge investments, the President noted that farmers were very happy in Nigeria now, “as we have made fertilizer available, cut the price by half, and given many other incentives. They have no regret going back to the lands. The more we invest in agriculture, the better for us.”

Mr. Gates congratulated President Buhari “for assembling a cabinet that excites us,” saying he was pleased that one of the priorities of the administration was human capital development, of which health, nutrition, and education are key components.

Noting that Bill and Melinda Gates, as well as Aliko Dangote Foundations, keep track of Nigeria’s attainments on Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), as enunciated by the United Nations, he submitted that they were encouraged that there was an improvement in reduction of child mortality.

“Every local government area has better health/education situation today than in the year 2000. We are delighted with that. Nigeria is our biggest commitment to Africa. It’s only in India we do more in the world,” Mr. Gates said.

On polio eradication, he said Nigeria reached a zero wild poliovirus free milestone for three years in August, noting that the next six months were critical so that the country could finally be declared polio-free.

Alhaji Dangote appreciated the Nigerian military for helping with vaccination in the theatres of war while fighting insurgency, thus adding to the advances in the country’s polio status.