What We Do

Development Policy and Finance

Strategy Overview


A student shows Ethiopia’s Millennium Development Goal for reducing child mortality—which was met in 2013, two years ahead of the target date.


To accelerate progress in advancing human development and alleviating extreme poverty by enabling evidence-based public policymaking at the global and national levels—through research, ideas, and innovations.

The Challenge

At A Glance

Policy and financing decisions made at the global and national levels profoundly affect the pace of progress in advancing human development and alleviating extreme poverty.

The Development Policy and Finance team works with partners to understand the impact of policies and financing decisions that affect international health and development and to propose new ideas that could speed progress.

We make grants to research and policy institutions, nongovernmental organizations, and health and finance experts to develop evidence, ideas, and innovations that could transform policymaking and ultimately improve lives.

We provide independent analysis and recommendations to foundation leaders on critical policy and financing issues that are relevant to the foundation’s work.

Our Development Policy and Finance strategy is led by Gargee Ghosh, director, and is part of the foundation’s Global Policy & Advocacy Division.

Improving the lives of the world’s poorest people requires significant financial commitments and spending available funding in the most effective and creative ways possible. We believe that this challenge demands more than business as usual on the part of the major public, private, and nongovernmental entities that support the fight against extreme poverty and health inequities around the world.

The Opportunity

Global ambition to eradicate extreme poverty—and the inequities that go with it—has rarely been higher. Funders, including the foundation, are eager to work with countries, technical experts, civil society organizations, and citizens to deliver on that vision, and all of these parties are hungry for the data, analysis, innovation, and ideas that will help make it a reality.

Our Strategy

The Development Policy and Finance team supports research and analysis that can lead to new policy ideas and financing innovations. We also draw on the foundation’s own evidence and experiences to help our internal teams advance their work in policy and financing.

Our team works with donor governments, developing country governments, multilateral development banks, and other development experts. We also make grants to research and policy institutions, including universities and think tanks. We use the foundation’s convening ability and leadership voice to support our partners’ analysis and ideas and to support the launch of promising innovations.

For example, we helped convene an independent commission of 25 leading economists and health experts—led by former U.S. Treasury Secretary Lawrence Summers and University of Washington Professor of Global Health Dean Jamison—to develop an investment framework for achieving major gains in global health. The Lancet Commission on Investing in Health’s report, “Global Health 2035: A World Converging within a Generation,” offers a plan to reduce deaths from infectious disease and maternal and child mortality to universally low levels while yielding a huge economic return on investment, by doubling global health spending within the context of smart fiscal policies, effective interventions, and new tools.

Areas of Focus

Aid Policy

Improving the effectiveness of development aid requires understanding policies and funding portfolios, analyzing what works, and contributing new ideas. We work with donors and other development partners, global advocates, think tanks, and multilateral organizations such as the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) to modernize development aid systems, unlock more funding, and get more value from each aid dollar spent. This work includes developing and championing structures to support innovation and research.

Multilateral Finance

We work closely with the World Bank and regional development banks, including the African Development Bank, on common agendas in health and development as well as financing innovations. We also provide support to think tanks and nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) to conduct research and develop ideas in areas such as the new geography of poverty and the need for smooth transitions from concessional to domestic and non-concessional resources, the updating of poverty numbers, and innovative multilateral financing instruments. Within the foundation, we help program teams navigate their relationships with multilateral development banks and design new partnerships to help them achieve their strategic goals.

Country Finance

Domestic resources outweigh all other funding—including foreign aid—in most developing countries. We work with countries to analyze their spending on health and poverty and to develop data, analysis, and ideas to advance progress toward their human development and equity goals. Our work includes a partnership with the African Development Bank to create a policy toolkit that helps African countries direct resources from new oil, mineral, and gas discoveries toward human development; supporting analysis of the equity of tax systems in Africa; and building a database to track country expenditures within the social sectors. Key partners in this effort include national governments, multilateral institutions, regional and international think tanks and advocacy groups, and local NGOs.

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