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Foundation and China Partner to Address Global Development Needs | Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

Innovative partnership will generate much needed affordable health and agriculture solutions for poorest countries

Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
Phone: +1.206.709.3400

SEATTLE -- Mr. Zhang Laiwu, Vice Minister of the Chinese Government’s Ministry of Science and Technology (MOST), and Bill Gates, co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, today announced a partnership to support innovative research and development (R&D) and manufacturing of new products for global health and agriculture. By signing a new Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), both parties affirmed their commitment to focus on innovation that meets the needs of developing countries and advances progress toward the Millennium Development Goals.

“Innovation to advance human welfare is a goal that China shares with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation,” said Laiwu. “Together we can do more to improve agriculture and health in some of the poorest nations.”

“This partnership demonstrates the critical role that rapidly growing countries like China can play in driving innovation to reduce hunger and poverty,” said Gates. “China’s support to bring its power and capacity to bear on global health and agriculture research and production comes at a critical time in our world economic situation.”

At next week’s G20 Summit in Cannes, France, Gates will deliver his report outlining how innovations and partnerships in health and agriculture can help increase global stability and put the poorest countries and people on a long-term path to economic growth and equity. He will note the important contribution dynamic developing countries such as China can make to global development through both their technical expertise and resources.

The MOU solidifies a partnership in which MOST and the foundation will work together to identify and co-fund projects that:

  • Promote the development of new global health products
  • Conduct R&D for improved agricultural inputs
  • Support low-cost manufacturing of health and agricultural products
  • Develop information technology for rural areas and agricultural and health applications
Human and animal vaccines, diagnostics for TB and other diseases, hardier varieties of rice and other crops, and more productive livestock are among the innovations likely to be considered first. Projects will build on China’s innovation in a number of areas. For example, China discovered artemisinin, the most important drug for malaria treatment, and China is a leader in innovative rice technology.

Under the MOU, a joint committee will be set up through which MOST and the foundation will identify projects for potential joint grant funding. Each individual project must broadly promote new data and information to the scientific and development communities, and ensure that its products benefit the people most in need in developing and resource-constrained countries.

The MOU also aims ultimately to leverage additional investment from the public and private sectors towards the goals of this partnership.

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