Mark Suzman, CEO of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, has called on philanthropists to step up their donations and take immediate action to address unprecedented challenges in combating poverty, diseases, and inequality. In his annual letter, Suzman emphasised the need for increased contributions in the face of setbacks caused by the pandemic, ongoing conflicts, and substantial debt burdens in many nations.
The Gates Foundation, a major contributor to global health, has announced plans to allocate $8.6 billion in 2024, marking its largest budget to date. The decision to increase the budget aligns with the decline in progress made by nonprofits in their efforts to eliminate poverty, combat treatable illnesses, and eradicate hunger.
Suzman highlighted the foundation’s focus on addressing human equity and investing in human capital, particularly in health and education, to provide opportunities for the poorest and most vulnerable populations. He emphasised the importance of forming partnerships, especially in the Gulf, leveraging governmental and philanthropic resources to make a global impact.
The Gates Foundation has been actively involved in partnerships in the Middle East and North Africa region, contributing to initiatives related to health, agriculture, and female empowerment. Suzman highlighted collaborations with organisations such as UNICEF, the International Livestock Research Institute, the International Centre for Biosaline Agriculture, and the Lives and Livelihoods Fund.
The foundation’s commitment to impactful projects, research, and long-term development efforts is reflected in its diverse initiatives, including the development of waterless toilet technology, a global agricultural information system, and cost-effective measures to reduce maternal and infant mortality rates. Suzman stressed the foundation’s focus on making permanent changes and highlighted the impact of initiatives like the GAVI Vaccine Alliance, contributing to a significant drop in preventable child deaths.
While the Gates Foundation plans to raise its annual budget to $9 billion in the coming year, the board has also urged exploration of sustainable funding options for the foundation’s work beyond that point. Since its inception, the foundation has contributed over $71.4 billion to address global challenges.