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ABUJA - The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation today signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Federal Government of Nigeria. Nigeria’s Minister of National Planning, Dr. Shamsuddeen Usman signed the MOU in Abuja with the Gates Foundation’s Director for Africa, Laurie Lee.
“This is a fantastic opportunity for the Gates Foundation to work closely with the Government of Nigeria and other partners to make some real gains in health and extreme poverty,” said Laurie Lee. “We want to see children, mothers and farmers in particular in Nigeria given the opportunities to lead healthy and productive lives.”
Nigeria is an important focus country for the Gates Foundation, which currently provides more than USD $400 million in funding to partner organizations that are operating health and development programs across the nation. That amount includes funding to help eradicate polio, to support small farmers increase food production, and to empower women to seek healthcare during pregnancy and through improved access to contraceptives. These grants are part of the Gates Foundation’s overall work to expand access to childhood vaccines, improved agricultural tools and strategies, maternal and child health programs, financial services for the poor, safe water and sanitation, and other effective, low-cost innovations.
NOTE TO EDITORS The MOU enables the Gates Foundation to appoint a Country Representative in Nigeria and establish a presence in Abuja. Earlier this year, the Gates Foundation placed its first two staff members in Africa, in Ethiopia and South Africa.
The Gates Foundation has over 100 active grants in Nigeria with partner organizations that are either working in Nigeria or conducting research, development, or implementation activities designed to benefit Nigeria.
One example of the Gates Foundation’s efforts to build effective partnerships in Nigeria is its funding support for the eradication of polio – though international bodies such as the WHO, UNICEF, Rotary International, and the World Bank. Working together with all levels of government and with traditional leaders in Nigeria, the Gates Foundation is committed to helping execute the National Polio Eradication Emergency Plan.
Other examples of Gates Foundation-supported efforts in Nigeria include grants to:
Society for Family Health. To improve care of newborns and pregnant women in the community in northeast Nigeria.
International Institute of Tropical Agriculture. To double the productivity of yams in major producing countries, helping raise incomes for smallholder yam producers and contribute to their food security and livelihoods.
Enhancing Financial Innovation & Access (EFInA). To support an innovation fund that promotes savings and branchless banking for the poor in Nigeria.
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